The recent solar eclipse caused a fair amount of excitement in our office. You can learn more about the eclipse here - https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/ - but at a high level, we were treated to a rare, natural phenomenon of the moon covering the sun to create a solar eclipse. Though my primary working location in Dearborn, MI did not lie within the “path of totality,” in which the moon completely covered the sun and day turned to night for a brief period, we jumped on board for the opportunity to see the partial eclipse in our office parking lot.
As I reflect on the event, I was thinking through our office’s preparedness for this epic event. Though there was ample information and time to prepare, I’d rate us a 3 out of 10 score for preparedness for the event. Specifically, here’s what our day felt like (keeping in mind the primary eclipse viewing time in our area was 2:00pm):
- 8:00am – a few people mention the eclipse at our staff meeting
- 10:00am – office “buzz” continues to grow
- 12:00pm – interested people start doing more research about eclipse viewing safety…” does anyone have eclipse viewing glasses?” … of course not
- 1:30pm – a few resourceful team members follow the online tutorials to build eclipse viewing boxes from available office supplies
- 2:00pm – the majority of our staff floods out into the parking lot to share two eclipse viewing boxes and someone comes up with the idea of viewing the eclipse through two polarized pairs of sunglasses positioned perpendicular to one another (not NASA or personally recommended!!)
We had fun, we made it work, and we certainly wouldn’t have won an award for eclipse preparedness. In a situation where the stakes were low, maybe we took the exact right level of pre-planning and action. Unfortunately, too often we see organizations taking a similar approach in developing appropriate people plans for their workforce.
Information and data is available – and it’s hard to dispute we find ourselves in the midst of an important shift in the workforce. Here are a few articles to support that thinking.
- Older Americans Are Retiring in Droves - Bloomberg
- 10 demographic trends that are shaping the U.S. and the World – Pew Research Center
- 8 Tech Trends Changing How We Work In 2016 - Forbes
- These factories are crunching production time with artificial intelligence – Business Insider
My question to you is simple. On a scale of 0-10, how prepared is your organization to succeed in the midst of today’s changing workforce trends and demographics?
If you score yourself below a 5, take a deep breath and know that you aren’t alone – but then I challenge you to move that needle in a positive direction. The risks and benefits are just too high to take the “we’ll figure it out when it gets here” approach our organization adopted with the recent eclipse viewing.
Start by considering your current activities in each of the following 5 areas:
- Assessing Talent
- What does our current state look like? How can we collect impactful data for analysis?
- Attracting Talent
- What strategies do we have in place to attract talented people to our organization?
- Developing Talent
- Are we an organization committed to learning, training and professional development
- Retaining Talent
- What are we doing to retain our most valuable assets – our team?
- Sustaining Talent
- Do we have systems and processes in place to support a sustainable talent ecosystem?
If you’re looking to jumpstart your strategic workforce planning efforts, please feel free to utilize our free talent survey as a starting point - https://www.edsitalentsurvey.com/ - or simply send me an email, and I’ll be happy to connect you with someone inside or outside our organization who can help you create better people plans.
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