The Rise of the Workforce - Part II

It sounds a little dramatic, but we have seen within the intricacies of workplace dynamics, a significant evolution has been unfolding where working cultures and unsatisfactory conditions, have been put on notice.
In this part – II, I said we’ll look at critical elements that have been missed which slowed the momentum until recently.

 Here are some:-
   a) The inability to recognise the talent that lies within their own workforce.
   b) Considering employees as tools for replacement as opposed to a resource.
   c) Understanding and stimulating employee motivational desires and aspirations.
   d) Considering the extent advancements in technology, would have on influencing employees.
These aspects have provided employees (all of us) the reason and the means to look more closely at ourselves and the purpose behind what we are doing and why.

The growing levels of empowerment employees have demonstrated over this past decade has been a transformation, characterised by increased individual assertiveness and courage. This is a far cry from the mindset of the unionised collective strength by numbers mindset of the late 1900’s.
Employees are more than ever willing to say “no more” to working conditions and have the confidence to act independently and decisively, and in doing so determine their own professional destinies.
Company senior leaders are seeing first-hand the impact of how an employee’s decision, measured collectively, can shape the reputation and potential future landscapes of the organization, for better and for worse.
This has led them to a realisation that the “Workforce Matters”.

Shifting Workforce Dynamics:

The traditional landscape of unionisation in Australia has been experiencing a profound shift over the past decades with average membership declining from 51% in 1982 to 42% in 2000 and down to 12.5% in 2022.
Coupled with improved government legislation and compliance would invariably have impacted the viewpoint on employees and union memberships.

Increasingly, the workforce through socioeconomic and market changes is discovering the ‘safety’ or ‘protection’ of a union in having a job or collectively fighting for better working conditions is not enough, and individual action is perceived as better serving their personal goals and aspirations.

This decentralized empowerment allows for nimble, issue-specific movements that resonate with the varied concerns of current-day employees.
It must be kept in mind that depending upon the industry unions still play a pivotal role in supporting and protecting their members – take the recent SAG-AFTRA strike in the USA.

Transparency Trends:
In this age of information, transparency is a key driver of workforce empowerment. The courage to say no arises from a well-informed workforce unafraid to question the status quo.
Employees, armed with information about industry standards, company practices, government compliance requirements and market benchmarks, are more equipped to challenge management conditions that fall below acceptable norms.

Changing Expectations:
The modern workforce intake tends to enter the professional arena with different expectations.
Beyond financial compensation, they seek workplaces that align with their own standards and values, that offer growth opportunities, have the capacity to manage the environmental and social impacts and also foster a healthy work-life balance.

The courage to say no also emerges from a realization that employment is a mutually beneficial relationship, and both parties must contribute to its sustainability.
Leaders are being reminded of this daily. These concepts were rarely openly discussed 40 years ago.

Confidence and the Entrepreneurial Mindset:

The rise of the “gig economy” and flexible work arrangements has cultivated an entrepreneurial mindset among employees. Growing in confidence to shape their own future, they no longer view their career paths as linear progressions within a single company. Instead, they can navigate a career that spans multiple organizations and ventures.
Education and Skills can be quickly acquired and career directions can change when opportunities arise.
When employers see the value of attitude, effort and a growth mindset in an employee, they have opportunities to help both company and the employee to expand and be successful.

Employees recognize the value of their skills in the marketplace and employers would be well advised to envision the same and see the potential for such skills and enthusiasm within their own company.

There is a need to align their energy and purpose with the company’s to prevent the substantial losses of highly motivated employees, to the competition.


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