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Changing workforce requires leadership shift

Changing workforce requires leadership shift

Katie StevensWATERLOO, Iowa – Successful business leaders have always been tasked with driving results, but these days, it’s also important to remember, “We’re all in the people business,” says Christa Miehe. 

“We can’t accomplish (goals) by ourselves, though we try,” Miehe, president of Moxie, a division of the VGM Group, said during a session at the Heartland Conference in June called “Leadership Lessons: Real Advice from Real Women Leaders.” “The key to our success is the people; we’re all in the people business. You don’t have robots delivering equipment.” 

The past few years have seen a shift toward recognizing employee satisfaction as a crucial factor in a company’s success. 

Engaged employees tend to be more productive, and less likely to leave for what they see as greener pastures, says Katie Stevens, CEO of Reliable Medical.  

“It’s critical; it’s a demand,” she said. “The generation moving into the market wants an engaged employer.”  

Employee engagement requires leaders to embrace meaningful and transparent communication, says Stevens. When it comes to communication, you’re probably not doing it enough, she says. 

“When you think people (are at the point where they) start rolling their eyes, that’s probably just enough,” she said. “Communicate not just about the mission, not just about values, but tell them what your priorities are.” 

Recognizing employees and offering meaningful feedback are part of communication, says Stevens. 

“Recognition is important – it inspires loyalty,” she said. “And meaningful feedback is not just praise. You need to cater it to the individual.” 

At the end of the workday, leaders who embrace the changing nature of today’s workforce will set their businesses up for success tomorrow, says Stevens. It’s not just about the work, it’s about the workforce. 

“I’m old enough to remember when overwork was a badge of honor,” she said. “But I encourage you to try to think about (changing) that as a good thing. The changing labor market will be the leaders down the road.”


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