Are You Ready For The Changing Workforce?

The outlook for a post-covid society is looking hopeful. We’ll soon allow our vaccinated friends from the south to visit our beautiful country and I’m looking forward to finally getting to participate in a home game crowd to cheer our Winnipeg Blue Bombers this month!   

Here at Avenir IT – we’re also getting ready! We’ve added yet again more talent to our team, split out our teams to better specialize in our client industries, and started offering a more “personal” experience to our clients. Sure, it’s still a work in progress as we get ready for what we think may be another big surge of work – assuming health orders are relaxed, and we get back to a fuller office space environment. We’re also continuing to relentlessly recruit and interview many other potential candidates since we never know when we might need to pull the trigger on our next hire.  

On the topic of the workforce – we’re seeing a lot of change! We have witnessed our first wave of turnover as statistics are showing that 76% of the workforce under the age of 30 are either looking for or open to new opportunities. The number for above 30 is only slightly lower. This can be a concerning stat – especially considering new job postings are up 24 percent from February 2020! We also see similar numbers in the requests we receive from our clients for exiting users and new hires. In fact, a fellow business owner that I coach south of the border has seen nearly half of his staff of 25 turn over in the last couple months.  

I listened to a few reports regarding this subject on the radio and have read my fair share of articles online as to how this is and will affect small businesses on both sides of the border – especially in the service industry – and the reporters’ solution is often similar and quite simple: offer more money. I love the idea of being able to print more money and double our salaries – but the reality is that small businesses don’t necessarily have the means to pay more and balance their books. This has the potential of having small businesses lose key players to bigger corporations with more money, once again hurting the small businesses trying to make ends meet during and after this pandemic. 

As entrepreneurs – we also can’t get frustrated with our employees. They should most definitely do what is best for them – and if finances are a key factor, then good for them!  

Other than salary – what are other things that businesses can do to retain or attract great “A-player” employees? A great corporate culture, respect, and a sense of ownership are the top three that come to mind. If you’ve always had a focus on a positive culture where you respect your staff and treat them like family – then I strongly feel that you’ll be ahead of the game – even if you may not be able to match government or large corporate salaries.  

Here are five ideas that we’ve seen make a huge impact in our company culture: 


  1. Listen to your employees and give them a sense of ownership. Forget this hierarchy system for a minute – and listen to the folks that are on the front line! They are likely to know more about your clients and have great ideas on how to improve your products or services.  
  2. Be transparent. You may not want to share everything – but be honest and respectful. Transparency is a great way of building trust – and according to studies by Forbes can be the number one factor in determining workplace happiness.  
  3. Gamify and have fun. I assume that your team all have Key Performance Indicators to give them proper expectations and goals. But don’t stop there! Gamification keeps your team’s motivation levels up. Take it another step and offer monthly prizes or draws. 72% of employees claim gamification inspires them to work harder.  
  4. Protect your team. Most of you know by now that our most important and critical core value is “No Jerks Allowed”. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of eyebrow raises when sharing this with new prospects – and we very easily fire or communicate this with clients, vendors, employees, etc. when this core value is not being respected. But since we’ve implemented this core value and removed all jerks from our ecosystem – our team’s mood increased significantly, and their level of service matched. Plus, your team knows that you are on their side and looking out for them.  
  5. Build memories. I’ll be honest – we’ve struggled with this one a lot this past year and a bit, and we probably could have done better. But pre-Covid, we had our monthly team lunches, quarterly outings, or other events to just hang out as a team outside of work. Other than group outings, take some time for one-on-one lunches or coffee to get to know your team. Whatever you do – don’t take this time to talk business!  

It doesn’t feel like rocket science recommending business owners take good care of their staff! In the coming year or two – don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a larger than usual staff turnover. Statistically – this may not be your fault, especially if you are doing everything in your power to create an honest and positive company culture. Finally – even if you are not looking to hire right now – you should always be recruiting since you never know when you’ll need your next employee. If you lose a staff member and don’t already have a replacement, then you’re too late and reducing the possibility of finding your next ‘A player’.  


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