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Why creativity is the key to improved employee performance in a post-pandemic world

Flexibility is the key to increasing employee performance and creativity, by allowing employees to choose where, when, and how they work.

October 22, 2021   by Shawn Casemore

Photo © bonezboyz / Adobe Stock

This past week, my youngest son had his first skate in preparation for hockey season.

The pandemic and resulting health concerns have, unfortunately, led to fewer kids getting involved. As a result, he’ll be playing up in the rep league this year, although typically, he would have played at the local league level.

With fewer kids involved, his hockey team is struggling to sustain itself.

The entire situation reminds me of the same challenge many manufacturers across Canada are facing today.

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Many manufacturers are struggling to sustain themselves amidst a tight job market. With fewer employees interested in manufacturing, and an ever-increasing demand for employees with advanced skills, the situation for some is becoming dire.
What this means in the short term is that some manufacturers are facing lower productivity rates, whereas some are choosing to turn away business they simply can’t deliver on.

Interestingly, however, other manufacturers aren’t facing the same struggles for talent. Instead, their productivity levels are going through the roof.

Despite what you might believe, these aren’t all big companies, and the talent they are seeking to attract ranges in skill level. Yet, they have employees lining up looking for work.

Best of all, the strategies they are using aren’t new; they are simply listening to and capitalizing on ideas their employees are sharing for what will make their workplace better.

One manufacturer I connected with recently in Alberta shared that they were attracting students to their company by introducing a “work what you can,” shift for any student interested in working.

Another, in an entirely different industry in Ontario, shared they had focused heavily on building a “family atmosphere,” that employees enjoy. They do this by openly soliciting and acting on feedback to improve their business direct from employees. The latter point is critical to the success of their efforts.

Best of all, the strategies they are using aren’t new; they are simply listening to and capitalizing on ideas their employees are sharing for what will make their workplace better.

In preparing recently to facilitate a strategic retreat, I surveyed a company’s employees, asking about what improvements or changes they would like to see in their company. A growing number of office employees commented that they would prefer a hybrid work week. They wanted to work from home for a couple of days, then spend the balance of their time in the office.

A recent study conducted by Gartner suggested that human resources can increase employee performance if they focus on providing employee-driven flexibility, allowing employees to choose where, when, and how they work. This flexibility will enable individuals to integrate personal and professional obligations, achieving a work-life harmonization.

Do these strategies work? Yes.

Will they cost the business more money? Likely.

Are they proving to have a positive impact on employee retention and performance? Absolutely.

In this post-COVID-19 world, the needs, expectations, and demands of our employees are different. Therefore, if we want to retain, attract, and get the most from our people, we will have to change our environment to satisfy these new needs and expectations.

Alternatively, we could wait to see how this all plays out, but like my son’s hockey team, if you don’t take definitive action quickly to turn the tides in your favour, you might just lose the opportunity to play in the future.
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Shawn Casemore helps companies accelerate their growth. To learn more, visit his web site at www.shawncasemore.com.