For companies, this means three things. First, we must acknowledge people’s mental and emotional stress, provide resources and support, and recognize that just because we are going through the same pandemic does not mean we have the same experience. Second, we need to find ways to bring more flexibility to work and not assume that a hundred time or travel time is equivalent to output and value creation. Third, we need to bring people back together and make connections. It feels better when you can be with colleagues. Companies that fail in these three dimensions are indeed in a very vulnerable position in terms of workforce.
Above all, what factors do you believe are contributing to the workforce shortage?
A solid economy and people are optimistic about growth and want to invest, which is why there are many job postings. Obviously, the government gave a lot of support. We turned off the drain cock and this used to be the drain valve. People’s flexibility to make different choices is higher than expected. That’s why I think workers are not in a rush to get a job and demand more.
When the children didn’t go to school, they fired all the bus drivers. Now there is a lot of demand, but finding a bus driver is not so easy because some of them have made different choices in their lives. You must be well trained to undertake this job. This is not a job that anyone can or should do. So even in a profession like this, people don’t just come back when we divide our workforce.
We know that climate change has been a problem for decades. Why do CEOs seem so motivated to do something about it now?
There is a tendency to say, “If I change the way you think, you will change the way you act”. But it’s actually not that true. This is the worldview of a psychologist. A sociologist’s worldview is: “If you want to change someone’s behavior, change the context around them and it will respond to that context.” What we’ve seen in the last two years is really a reshaping of context. This is definitely the #1 issue in Europe, many parts of the US and other parts of the world.
And it’s clear that the investment needed to address this is real. We will hopefully spend $3 trillion to $5 trillion a year for 30 years to change the global economy. There’s a lot of work to be done there. Companies realize that if they don’t act, they run the risk of being interrupted. Assemble the whole package. I think we’ve reached a tipping point.
But few companies seem to be taking meaningful steps to truly reduce the needed global emissions.