Changes on the Frontline
While many news reports focus on “dwindling worker shortage,” many of us are increasingly aware of the challenges facing all workers, including the frontline. And we also understand that the choices being made are about wellbeing when it comes to life.
Some recent headlines read: “Labor Shortage is Vexing Challenge for the Economy.” If you’ve traveled this summer, you most likely experienced a different level of service at an airport, hotel, urgent care or restaurant. When walking around, you may have seen many signs saying”we’re hiring” as well.
Economists look at trends in the marketplace and the impact on economic activity. And they are taking the old world problem-solution approach. They ask, what can be done to “fix this problem” with worker shortage? The problem they see is “the shrinking supply of workers” as though we’re talking about office equipment. But isn’t this what happens with management by spreadsheet?
What does it say that people are shying away from frontline jobs that require a high level of engagement? This is where the culture of the organization comes to life with the people hired to interact with “the public.” And the people are simply worn out from the rhetoric.
Who Wants to Work in the Current System?
Kids going back to school may be in larger classrooms due to the teacher shortage. Some schools are moving to a 4-day week to save money on support staff. But no one is looking at these “problems” holistically. Now, what happens to parents who work five days a week who are facing increased burnout themselves?
Maybe, just maybe, this is an opportunity to question the system itself and not try to revive one whose end is near. And what if we can focus on creating a healthy system that support healthy children, parents, teachers and staff? Not putting more band-aids on the increasing mental health issues (problems) running amok in every corner of society.
And when it comes to healthcare workers, we are definitely not focused on health. When we report that the Healthcare staff shortages are affecting providers’ bottom lines. The solution to this problem is not to outsource Environment, Health, and Safety tasks to professionals as one expert suggests. Again, why do we chose for profitability to trump human life?
There are reports that pharmacies don’t have enough staff to keep up with prescriptions. Why? Because being overworked, underpaid, stressed out and not being able to stay ahead is not how people want to spend their lives. People want to be respected and valued.
The Frontline is Walking Out
There are many healthcare professionals stepping out of a rigid system that is collapsing upon itself. And instead of fighting the system, some are taking a stand and focusing on integrative health. Like this UK organization focused on healing and supporting people, new ones are popping up outside the mainstream every month.
Integrative health professionals are looking at the whole person. Many are focused on whole foods and nutrition, the gut micro-biome, metal toxicity and detoxification. The foundation is being built with energy healing, biofeedback and so many new inventions. Knowing the source of everything matters when we also take a natural human interest in our work.
Our opportunity is to look at the system’s root causes on workplace dysfunction. And it’s systemic. Those in the front lines are tired of being their organization’s face to the public and not being supported, valued and respected. Many have shifted priorities after questioning everything.
When everything is focused on money and growing profits, there is a cost that goes way beyond the bottom line. This is a time for transforming these stories. And to truly look at technology as an enabler. When people hear about AI and automation today it is laden with fear. And it has already created a reaction among workers who no longer want to be treated like machines. But what if we integrated technology in an intelligent way and take a holistic approach? Whole systems in alignment with whole people.
Let’s Step Out and Up
When the future is human, we will find our way to focus on what truly matters.
We have an opportunity to create healthy education, wellness and sectors we have yet to imagine. Less of the same and more true connected innovation is on the horizon for the pioneers and architects among us. Imagine a life filled with creation instead of reporting and responding to the current problems.
The warning signs are all around us but what if they are actually sparks of hope of what is possible? What happens when we treat people more humanely and work is not a place to go or a measure of our success in life? Imagine conscious leaders caring as much about customers, employees and communities as profitability.
What if economists and journalists took a more humane approach and understood the ripples of their work on human beings? Would we continue to call it the frontline?
And the Clash join us here …
“Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know”