Especially the demand for well-trained (young) professionals within the logistics and supply chain sector is enormous. Not only is the recruitment of new employees becoming increasingly difficult, it is also becoming more important to retain, bind and excite your current employees. Offering good development opportunities is mentioned in many studies as one of the main reasons why employees choose to move to a new job or stay with their current employer.
This makes a good personnel policy increasingly important; after all, only organizations that explicitly adhere to the adage “logistics is a people business” can continue to bind and retain employees. A number of important points should not be forgotten.
If it is difficult to recruit good people for your organization, the question “what makes me an attractive employer?” becomes increasingly important. No longer are only material needs such as the salary and the terms of employment on offer the essence (these simply have to be at a ‘good’ level). People are looking more for a workplace in which they can satisfy their social, mental and spiritual needs. So a workplace where it is nice to be able to do things together with colleagues that are worthwhile and where you can grow.
Another inventory of human drives is the trio of “autonomy, mastery & purpose”. People are social beings, but they also have personal ambitions. In essence, they want to make a personal valuable contribution to something ‘worthwhile’. And for that they want to get the space and recognition. Of course, salary plays a role in this, but compliments and other forms of appreciation are at least as important.
Of course every organization wants to get the best out of its own people. But all too often, people are literally seen as human resources; the human version of machines and other means of production with all its drawbacks. Sometimes it seems as if we would rather have smart robots, because then we would be rid of all the ‘hassle’ and at least those robots do what the manager tells them to. But therein lies the problem. Today’s world is so complex that central control from the ‘all-knowing’ manager is simply no longer possible. Certainly not if we not only have to perform the current tasks but also want to continuously improve and innovate.
The consequence of centralized control based on the idea of ‘people as replaceable means of production who are only hired to work as productively as possible’ is that organizations prove incapable of substantial innovation. Certainly because employees do not feel truly engaged (Gullup research shows that only 9 percent of all Dutch employees are “engaged”) and they will not be inclined to go the extra mile if necessary. Let alone be willing to think along with the organization about the goals to be achieved; after all, these are not their goals.
The above also means that organizations that do put people first and involve them in the organization are much better able to adapt quickly and flexibly to the constantly changing circumstances. The employees then feel a shared responsibility, especially when times are tough. And they realize that they can achieve more together than they could on their own. Innovation research also shows that the most important success factor of innovations is that people and organizations from different disciplines, expertise and backgrounds work together for common goals (so-called ‘social innovation’).
It is evident that leadership of the people-oriented organization is often a very different one than we find in practice. It is no longer just about content expertise, but leaders will especially have to understand people. Leaders will also have to have a vision of where the organization is going and have the ability to unite people around that common ‘goal’. And they will need to let go of ‘control’; give employees the confidence and leave room for the professionals. And the most important task is to keep inspiring, encouraging and motivating everyone to keep doing the ‘right’ things, even when it’s hard.
The cliché ‘every crisis is also an opportunity’ also applies here. Organizations are increasingly struggling with staff shortages. But if you are a people-oriented organization, talents will gladly choose you because you will give them the opportunities they are looking for. And with that, you’re going to perform better, certainly in the long run. Another, increasingly acute, crisis concerns the need to really push for social and environmental sustainability. If you put that objective at the heart of your organization’s purpose, talents will find it much more attractive, interesting and challenging than profit or revenue targets. In short, there is a bright future ahead for socially innovative companies; they can bind and retain their talents and therefore achieve the best results.
For companies that dare to think and act out of the box, the current market is an excellent opportunity. The younger generation has a great need for continuous development. Invest in innovation, management and development of your employees and success is assured.