By Phil Harwood

If you seriously injured yourself, you would call 911 and head immediately to the emergency room. If your child, parent, grandparent, dog, or a cat (pick one) desperately needed your help, you would drop what you’re doing and go help them. Whatever else may be on your calendar is going to be blown off, rescheduled, or pushed back. What was a priority before the emergency is no longer a priority. When something is really important - an emergency - you make time for it. You don’t have more time, you make time.

Many organizations are facing an emergency regarding staffing but they don’t realize it’s an emergency. If they did, their actions would change. They may understand that the situation is dire and even verbalize it, but until action is taken, these organizations are not in emergency mode.

Last week, Neal Glatt and I presented a webinar for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) titled, “Developing the Next Generation.” If you’re interested, it was recorded and is available at: https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/nalp/nalp/events-education/webinars.aspx.

During this webinar, we outlined six big shifts that are occurring in organizations today. Actions are being taken to replace outdated management practices with current approaches that are better suited for a new generation. You can make fun of Millenials all you want but they comprise a huge percentage of the workforce today and an even larger percentage tomorrow. Their younger siblings, Generation Z, are even beginning to get jobs. Put your head in the sand at your own peril.

One of these six big shifts is to move from an annual evaluation process to ongoing coaching. The days of annual evaluations and once-a-year feedback are over. The next generation demands ongoing feedback. Best practice is to have a weekly feedback meeting on an informal basis and a more formal feedback review once per quarter. High-performing managers and supervisors are already doing this. It comes natural to them and they provide consistent ongoing feedback without even thinking about it. It just flows out of them.

However, not all managers and supervisors are in this category. There are still many who struggle to provide feedback, and even the annual evaluation process was too frequent for them. These managers would do well to understand the reality of the situation they have created. People who don’t receive regular feedback are less engaged, less productive, less quality-minded, and more likely to be working somewhere else within the year.

The manager who doesn’t have time to talk with his or her people apparently has plenty of time to review resumes, interview prospective employees, provide on-boarding support and training, and has plenty of patience to deal with the mistakes that the new person will surely will make. None of this makes any sense. The reality is that we all have the same amount of time available to us. Wouldn’t it be better to invest your time in the people you already have working for you? I think so.

The labor shortage we are facing is not going away anytime soon. In fact, all indications are that this problem will only get worse for the next couple of decades or longer. It is the new norm. If this is true, retaining the right people and fully engaging them is one of our highest priorities as a leader. It may even be an emergency.

Tags: Millenials , Feedback , Workforce ,