This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Roger Herman

Lights On. Nobody Home! Where have all the workers gone?

"We're on the leading edge of a labor shortage that we're all going to notice," warns Joyce Gioia (joy-yah), co-author of Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People. "We've been watching the subtle effects of the shortage—recruiting challenges, employee turnover problems, a restless workforce. Now we are experiencing the impact first-hand," she adds.

Gioia, president of The Herman Group, workforce futurists based in Greensboro, NC, points out that worker shortages are extending service wait times and affecting the quality of work. Repair work that used to be done in a day or two is now taking several weeks. "We have a growing shortage of qualified repair technicians—in automotive, heating and air-conditioning, equipment maintenance, recreational vehicle service, appliance repair, and similar fields. With a growing demand and a no-growth labor pool, each of us will feel the effects---personally."

The hospitality industry is affected, Gioia notes. "When a restaurant doesn't have enough servers or cooks, customers have to wait longer to be seated---even though they can see empty tables." Hotels are at risk, as well, she says. "Without sufficient trained maintenance and housekeeping personnel, hotels and motels are being forced to shut down entire sections of their properties. You can't take in guests if you can't clean their rooms."

"Healthcare has been feeling this shortage for some time, causing delays in service at hospitals that have built proud reputations over the years. Without enough nurses, cooks, pharmacists, administrative staff, and other team members, beds cannot be staffed with enough support personnel. Solution: Don't admit people without the capacity to care for them. Taking a risk on service level exposes you to legal liability, if something goes wrong." Gioia explains.

Gioia, an active forecaster and founding member of the Association of Professional Futurists, warns that education is facing the same problems, but not talking about it as much. "Employee retention is a real problem in our schools today," she asserts. "Finding and hiring good teachers is a challenge in itself. Holding onto them after they get a taste of the reality of today's school environment is not easy. Administrators need to make a number of changes if we're going to adequately prepare tomorrow's workforce. Teachers are being attracted from education into the private sector in droves."

"It's not a money issue," Gioia says. "Today's employees are looking for opportunities to work with competent colleagues and make a positive difference. They understand the need to manage well, but they also want support in the way they live in the corporate community. We explained this phenomenon in our book, Lean & Meaningful, she explained, now employers must learn, understand, and apply these principles."

"Employment retention strategies will be paramount," Gioia says, "but so will the training and development of more workers. We have people to do a lot of the work, but they are not yet trained in the necessary skills. Major re-skilling is essential. The implications for our society are staggering. We cannot afford to wait any longer."

The Herman Group is a firm of consulting futurists concentrating on workforce and workplace trends and their implications. Emphasis is placed on employee selection and retention as critical strategies. Included in the firm are researchers, professional speakers, authors, and consultants. The Herman Group is based in Greensboro, NC, with affiliates in Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Port Louis, Mauritius. Contact Joyce Gioia-Herman at 336-210-3548 or e-mail:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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