You know what they say: managing ain’t easy. Being the leader your team needs has never been a walk in the park, but today, with all of the data, and pressure, and resource crunches, and incredibly fast pace, well…it’s harder than ever. If you’re a manager and you’re feeling stymied or held back by some of the challenges you face every day, know that a) you’re not alone; and b) there are always going to be ways to get up and over. Let’s look at some of the biggest challenges facing today’s managers and how you can work through them.
Challenge: Bridging Skills Gaps
According to the World Economic Forum, an incredible 35% of the skills workers need will have changed by 2020. That goes for all industries, at all levels. This means you’ll need to take a nimble, forward-thinking approach to skill building. One of the most efficient ways to ensure that your team has the skills they need moving forward is to turn to technology. Online courses and tutorials can give team members the skills and training they need, without getting bogged down in an endless series of classroom sessions or meetings that take them away from their day-to-day work.
Ensuring that your employees are tech-proficient also helps to future-proof your team, with the baseline tools that they’ll need to stay sharp and continue learning and adapting to the changing demands of your industry and their jobs. Agility should be the name of the game. Rather than getting hung up on the skills you don’t have, focus on how you can help your team get the skills they need, and empower them to seek out these growth solutions on their own.
Challenge: Going Digital
Virtually every industry is moving toward digital data: metrics that tell you what customers want, how employees are performing, what others in the industry are doing, how your social media is landing, etc. If you can formulate a question, chances are there’s some data to answer it. But introducing Big Data to your existing processes can feel like a daunting task.
Start by thinking (how analog!) about how more data could meet your needs—or the needs of your company and your team. If this is a mandate from your company, consider how and why your team would use the information. If your organization doesn’t yet have a system in place for gathering data for hiring, for employee engagement, or similar, what kind of resources are available to invest?
It may be that a full suite of digital products doesn’t meet your specific needs. There may be inexpensive (or free) tools online that you can use to get your feet wet, especially if you’re still trying to get resources for more digital data collection and deployment. But if you have the resources, you may also find that an AI-based program is the right investment to help you collect and decode the information that will help your team work smarter. The first step is getting a clear picture of how and why you’ll be able to use that data.
Challenge: Staff Turnover
In 2018, the median job tenure was 4.2 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gone are the days when most people would start at a company, grow their career there, and retire from the same place decades later. We’ve become a job-hopping culture, which means that it’s probably nothing personal if your company is seeing a lot of turnover. Still, common though it may be, you still don’t want to see your best and brightest walk away. Plus, there are factors like work disruption, expensive hiring processes, and finding the right new people.
Although you can’t stop someone who really wants to leave, you can think about ways to make it worth their while to stay. Retraining and growth opportunities (like learning new skills) can help make people feel more comfortable and settled in their roles without feeling stagnant. It also gives you options that aren’t simply a raise or title change.
No matter how much things change in the workplace, some things never do—like the need to have good people and good work behind everything you do. As you get new demands and try to roll with a “change” mindset, remember that you already have the tools you need. But if you’re open to making them better (whether through new outlooks, new information, or new processes), you can meet any challenges you face as a manager.