The workforce is continuing to be challenged, in a large part due to the ongoing labor crisis, supply chain issues, and rising inflation. These issues transcend industries, impacting workers across all levels and experiences.

During these times, it's crucial for leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs to adopt a workforce of the future, and we can learn a lot from social behaviors to increase engagement with work. Here are five ways they can do that:

Listen

"Whether you're a CEO, or working on a production line, people want to have pride in their work and a sense of accomplishment," says Richard Tester, CEO of Redzone, a connected workforce technology solution. "One of our fundamental pillars is 'Working with Purpose' and we take that very seriously, factoring it into everything that we do." Richard shared with me that it's the job of leaders to listen to their staff, recognize and celebrate their successes, or coach their failures and use them as a learning opportunity. "Constantly check on how your team is doing, if something needs to be changed, or if something should be escalated," says Tester.

Communicate 

In the current landscape of remote work, there's no such thing as overcommunication. With teams working across cities, states and even countries, it's never been more important to ensure that your teams are aligned with your thought process and have a clear understanding of their expectations. Communicate constantly, and encourage your employees to do the same.

Show Empathy 

A good leader needs to consider what employees are facing, both in and out of the workplace. The last two years have taught us that people need flexibility, and if they don't find it in their current roles, they will look for it elsewhere. Companies that are people-focused will not only survive but thrive. Stay purpose-driven, but show compassion to those who are working for your company. If you're authentic, they will be, too. 

Face the Challenges

It's important to acknowledge the current workforce challenges and have a plan of action. "The companies that are going to win in this next decade are the ones that can best reinvent their employee experience," Tester told me. "We need to constantly be thinking about what their needs are, and how we can best support that." 

Reinvent

The pandemic has shown us that the workplace is evolving and the jobs we have today are different than they were one generation ago. Normally, in a labor market, as one generation leaves, it's backfilled by the next generation. But fueled by the Great Resignation, there's a real concern that jobs deemed "less desirable" in certain industries may face a continued labor shortage unless leaders do some image rebranding.

Take, for example, the less sexy manufacturing industry. "We've got to convey the fabulous things that manufacturing organizations bring while focusing on the camaraderie, team spirit, skills development and pride of the individual roles," says Tester, a twenty-year veteran of the industry.

At the end of the day, we as leaders, have to listen to the needs of our employees and make sure we are constantly considering how they will be best satisfied with their careers and can produce their best work. This is how we can continue to grow our businesses while keeping up with the constant evolution of the workplace.