Creative Flexibility - Part 5 of the 5 Part Series

Youth Solutions has identified 5 trend areas that will impact the workforce and education space throughout 2022; We will address one trend each month. August's focus will address creative flexibility in the workplace.

CAN YOU PREPARE FOR UNCERTAINTY?

One thing we know for certain is that creativity and flexibility are two skills that will be required as we navigate this new world.


The way we work has changed radically in the past few years and in reality, we are still figuring it out. In a survey about the future of work commissioned by PwC (PwC is an international professional services brand of accounting firms), virtually all projections anticipate the post-pandemic workforce will be remote and most leaders who participated in the research describe their approach as “going with the flow.”


Creative flexibility is what we refer to as the ability to look at something from a different perspective. Both schools and workplaces will need to generate new ideas to address the complex issues that arise in the coming months. Being both creative and flexible will help leaders navigate these unpredictable changes. The State of Michigan’s Workforce Development’s vision is centered around “promoting a flexible, innovative and effective workforce system.“


So how does an organization approach this uncertain future with creative flexibility? Start by looking at your policies and leadership practices.


It’s time to ask, “are our policies still relevant?


Employees value flexibility. Does your organization do everything to create variability that employees need? Creating a company culture that supports the employee by delivering an experience that may be quite different from pre-pandemic norms is something to consider. Employers and educators who can create environments that promote the work to be done while offering flexibility will be the ones that capture the attention of interested employees and students.


Are our leadership practices helping or hindering the organization’s ability to be successful?


If you are in business, the maturity of your workforce will play a role in determining how much interaction will be needed. The least experienced employees - those with 0-5 years of experience - will need the office most. These newer employees will need to meet with their managers more often and will need more frequent training opportunities than their experienced colleagues. Some tips to managing the employees with less experience:

  1. Communicate! Set up check ins or one-on-ones with your team. When it comes to working remotely, over communicating is nearly impossible.

  2. Set clear expectations from day 1 - this will save time running around and create less opportunity for frustration.

  3. Have a consistent feedback-culture. Both managers and employees can benefit from feedback, and this will in turn create trust throughout the team.


Are we training our people leaders so that they know how to effectively manage under these new circumstances?


In an environment where there is uncertainty, communications and training become even more important. Defining the culture and expectations is critical. In remote situations, it’s more challenging to spread knowledge, build relationships and promote collaboration. Look for creative ways to address these needs. Include people leaders in the process. Make sure they know how to work effectively with the team, including their employees in the innovation process.


Youth Solutions is committed to inspiring and connecting youth to a future beyond imagination. We also work with employer partners to create experiences that support a thriving economy. The two go hand-in-hand. As we face the challenges that have become the post-covid “norm”, we continue to rely on creative flexibility ourselves in order to generate new ideas that create alignment between educators and workforce to ensure Michigan’s youth have a path to a brighter future.


How have you used creative flexibility to address issues in your organization? We’d like to hear your story. Connect with us today!


This story on creative flexibility is the 5th article in our series identifying Trends in Education and Workforce Development. Interested in the other trends we have addressed? Click here.