The Imperative of personalized management: Unleashing employee engagement and organizational success
By Amy Zhang, Founder, The Command Shift Company
In the dynamic landscape of the modern workforce, a seismic shift is underway. Today’s employees, particularly Gen Z, and Millennials, are redefining what it means to find fulfillment in their careers. Gone are the days when a relentless pursuit of professional success overshadowed personal happiness. This article explores the emerging pattern where individuals prioritize self-actualization, seek alternative work arrangements, and place themselves at the center of their career trajectories. In response, companies face the challenge of retaining talent, as the allure of corporate America wanes. This necessitates a profound reimagining of management practices, placing a premium on personalized approaches that resonate with the unique needs and aspirations of each employee.
In the face of escalating burnout rates and the diminishing appeal of conventional work structures, organizations are confronted with a pressing challenge: a decline in productivity and waning employee commitment. Surveys reveal a pronounced trend: employees now place a greater emphasis on flexibility, fulfillment, and purpose, surpassing the traditional focus on compensation. This transformative landscape underscores the pivotal role of managers in shaping the future of work.
Conversely, companies perceive themselves to be in a boom economy with the labor market. It’s a buyer’s market and there are fewer jobs than there are people who are seeking. This, in turn, has created an economic effect where companies are able to offer less money and demand more work since the number of people leaving corporate work hasn’t caught up with the demand yet.
Among the prevailing buzzwords of 2023 of burnout, resignation, employee engagement, and disengagement, organizations have been grappling with “quiet quitting” since 2020, leading to record-low productivity and engagement levels. In their quest for solutions, companies often resort to managing out, firing, and rehiring, while attempting to entice employees back to the office through superficial incentives like menial donations, gourmet lunches, and revamped workspaces. However, these short-term tactics fail to address the core issues, requiring a more holistic approach that recognizes the individual needs of employees and creates an ecosystem of empowerment, purpose, and well-being for long-term success.
Employees are people. Sometimes companies forget that. They are all individuals that have very specific needs and have individual circumstances that surround their life. Effectively matching work to employees requires an intimate understanding of individual motivations, drive, and determination. Such personalized management approaches create a mutually beneficial relationship, wherein employees find a stronger sense of purpose and alignment with the company, while organizations will see heightened motivation, satisfaction, and loyalty. To remain competitive, businesses must acknowledge the pressing need for this shift, especially as burnout rates skyrocket and resignation rates reach all-time highs.
Each employee has a distinct set of values that drive their decision and opinion-making, hence creating minor distractions and incentives will often be futile because they do not address the core of why an employee should care.
Managers are the secret army that many companies are underutilizing. They are viewed as people who keep the trains running instead of the change agents they should be. By empowering managers with decision-making authority and autonomy in managing delegation, tasks, and workload, organizations can cultivate an ecosystem where managers possess the ability to intuitively align the right tasks, responsibilities, and projects with individuals whose values are most closely aligned.
Individuals will be motivated to fulfill their job responsibilities, rather than solely seeking perks like free food and coffee. Therefore, organizations must harness the power of their management team, equipping them with the tools and authority needed to match individuals with tasks that resonate with their values, aspirations, and skill sets. By leveraging this approach, companies can foster a culture where employees find genuine satisfaction and purpose in their work, resulting in optimized organizational performance.
Let’s just get this straight: Burnout rose 40% globally in 2022 (Future Forum Pulse). US Resignation rate is at an all-time high according to the National Labor Relations Bureau. Prior to 2023, 70% of US workers planned to leave their jobs in 2023 cited by a recent LinkedIn study. Employee surveys are now showing that employees care more about flexibility and fulfillment than compensation (OC Tanner Global Culture Report).
The time has come for organizations to shatter the shackles of traditional management practices and embrace a new era of personalized leadership. Managers should be used as the champions of change, setting the tone, and leading the way. By unleashing their potential and allowing them to tailor tasks and responsibilities to match the unique values and motivations of their team members, organizations can unlock a whole new level of happiness, productivity, and success.
Amy Zhang, the author of this article, is the Founder of The Command Shift Company (thecommandshift.com). With a firm belief in amplifying the leadership potential of managers, Amy has built her company on the premise of reducing leadership overhead and implementing strong operational foundations. With a strong background in Operations and HR, she has an exceptional track record of building highly effective teams amidst challenging workplace cultures, often with limited resources.
The Command Shift specializes in operational consulting and excels in helping companies establish people and operational foundations, particularly companies that are scaling quickly. Amy's expertise lies in guiding organizations that face a drop in efficiency and productivity, desire a cultural shift, aim to implement significant changes, or require assistance in bridging operational gaps. The Command Shift offers actionable strategies to build self-correcting teams, enhance productivity and sales, and address employee resignation while fostering a culture of happiness, all without the need for additional hiring or expenses.