These days, when people search for more information they can immediately turn to their mobile phones to look up an address, connect with a colleague on LinkedIn or gather information before making a purchase. In fact, according to Google data, 96% of people turn to a smartphone to get things done. Mobile devices are creating an unprecedented change mindset that is impacting more than your data, it’s also impacting your employees. Kathy Horgan recently explored this issue in Mobilizing Around Mobility, published on LinkedIn Pulse on June 26, 2017. It’s a great read below!
If you look at the changes unfolding across financial services these days, digitization isn’t a choice anymore—it’s a necessity; we have to keep up with the speed and volume of data being created. Manually entering data and crunching numbers doesn’t provide the level of services our clients expect or need to compete. But for decades, real people had been manually crunching numbers and building reports. So what happens to those employees once these processes are fully automated? When I look at the next five years, I feel the biggest source of both tension and opportunity lies in employee mobility.
Just like every other relationship out there, the employer-employee one works best when both parties are invested. This is why, for me, it’s so important that organizations show their employees a path forward, especially for those whose roles may be changing or are at risk of becoming obsolete. If a particular position may not be here in two years, then the company message to affected employees should be “we have two years to help you acquire new skills.” I feel that the prospect of mobility can help encourage employees to develop new and transferable skills.
It’s also important we remind our people that mobility isn’t limited to the next rung on the ladder; sometimes the best way forward is with a lateral move. This is especially important for someone whose current career path faces an uncertain future; there simply is no clear path forward. If we want to keep good people, we need to give them a reason to stay and a way to do it.
Mobility is all about change, and change often creates tension. Employees are bound to ask themselves, Is my role at risk? How long will my job be secure? What can I do after this? Working in uncertain terms is uncomfortable at best, which is why open and honest communication between employers and employees is so important. Timelines, deadlines, expectations, job requirements, skills training – the more prepared someone is, the less apprehensive they will be. I firmly believe that if someone is investing in their future at a company, the least we can do is meet them halfway! Fear and suspicion only lead to a depressed work environment, and who wants to commit themselves to that?
Too often managers are afraid when it comes to talking about the future with their employees. A lack of certainty means people will stay quiet, simply because they can’t outline exactly what will happen and they don’t want to make promises they can’t keep. I think it’s important for managers to admit “I don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I do know.” If we wait until we know every last detail, it’s sometimes too late to prepare employees for the new future. Meanwhile, people are filling in the narrative on their own, which is almost always worse. When we’re honest with our people about their role and future within the organization, they will be honest with us. If we want to keep good people, we better give them a good reason to stay.
How is mobile impacting your workforce? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.