There is a clear dynamic at play that goes beyond pent-up desire to change jobs. After a year of lockdowns, workers have not only reimagined their jobs and careers, but they are also reconsidering their ambitions and how their work lives contribute to their lives more broadly.
Leaders cannot ignore this new dynamic. We all know employees are as important as customers. Yet many leaders still approach them as a captive audience with top-down communications focused on informing them instead of enlisting them in the transformation initiatives. There is a stark contrast between the two.
To be successful, employees need to be partners in the transformation, yet many are not. The failure to actively enlist workers in change processes can lead to critically low levels of engagement. Most concerning? The greatest dissent is found among upper managers–employees that play a critical role in leading the charge, rallying the troops and implementing change. They are least likely to be on board with transformation measures. One-third of those closest to the C-suite are either resistant to change or alienated. About the same is true for nearly one-fourth of middle management. If those on the front lines – managing directors, senior vice presidents or plant managers – are not on board with the mission, it is unlikely to be successful.