Can we reenergize the transactional workforce?

| ,

We fear many companies today are failing because they no longer have a handle on their workforce environments.

Big 4 consulting firms and banks have already slowed hiring college grads en masse… because everyone wants “plug-and-play” workers who need minimal training and can deliver the work allocated.  On top of that, we are seeing so many enterprises mandate staff to return to the office (RTO) as management blames the remote working environment for corporate underperformance.

This is what we are terming as the transactional workforce environment unfolding.  It’s quasi-remote, it’s terrible for training college grads, while many people are far more focused on their lifestyles.  Long gone are the pre-pandemic days when the workplace was like an extension of your family, you went for drinks together after work, and most of your colleagues were on your Facebook.

Let’s be honest, folks, this brings into question, “What is the purpose of work these days?”…

80% of workers see minimal to no benefit in returning to the office 

This transactional work environment stems from the fact that many employers are blaming their poor performance on working from home, but the benefits experienced by 463 employees mandated back to the office are pretty meh:

Source: LinkedIn February 2024

What is the point in full-time employment these days?

So when staff see minimal benefit in returning to the office, what is the point in having a full-time remote job?  Let’s dig a bit deeper:

Source:  Linkedin February 2024

So what is the point of “working” for a firm as a full-time employee when so many of you only care about the predictable income? Isn’t the working relationship becoming transactional and lacking in purpose? Does no one care about the social elements of colleagues and collaboration?

Both office and remote environments can work, but you need to MAKE them work

So why do so many employers feel shortchanged on performance and blame the remote work environment?  If their firms are failing and the remote environment is not improving performance, it really sounds like both leadership is failing to lead, and many employees are not performing either.

We believe success in this “remote” market will come from firms with the most collaborative and energizing cultures. When you think we can spend our days engaging with so many people right across the world, this is incredible.  HFS has exploited the remote working world to hire talent from all over the world and move fast to excite our clients, but it takes a lot of discipline and work to keep moving a business forward in this environment.

An effective remote work environment means fostering a culture where we turn on videos and actually talk and challenge each other. Not just everyone sitting in silence trying to complete whatever tasks were assigned to us. That also means we need all our colleagues to share that desire; otherwise, it just becomes top-down lip service.

We think the crux here is how full-time employees in their work-from-home nirvana can delight their employers while meeting their lifestyle goals.

Bottom-line:  Leaders and Staff must stop pointing fingers and come together

Our conclusion is it takes two to tango. Leaders need to trust their people and do all they can to get their staff to engage and collaborate, but staff also need to recognize this and motivate themselves to step it up and be engaging workers. In several cases, RTO is a desperate measure to address this mismatch.

However, it’s very easy for staff to criticize their terrible management for wanting them in an office and not respecting their chosen lifestyle… but it doesn’t necessarily mean their management is terrible. Management may be just frustrated and desperate to recreate an energized work culture.

So, if you’re going to mandate RTO, make sure there is a real point in wheeling everyone back in.  Make sure leadership is there to drive conversation and create a sense of purpose for having a physical workplace.  If leadership is not there and staff feel like they are just wasting their time commuting to sit in a cube all day, then make the remote environment work.  Otherwise, you will experience an erosion of morale and performance from leaders and employees, and your whole raison d’être under serious threat.

Posted in : Employee Experience


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Continue Reading