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The economy wants to grow, but where will the people come from?

Smart money is on the economy pivoting back to growth-mode as interest rates peak and begin to subside. The stock market is already sending these signals.

But, typically in a downturn, or slowdown, layoffs rise and job seekers increase. That hasn’t been the case this past year, and the unemployment rate of 3.5% is hovering around its historic low.

That means, the labor market is near full employment.

Since consumers have capital to invest and spend, and everyone that wants a job seemingly can get one, then how will employers find new people to fuel economic growth?

There’s another factor in play here. Existing employees are having motivation issues. According to a survey by ResumeBuilder, only one-third of U.S. employees are “fully engaged” with their workplace.

And there are other signs of disatisfaction with work, such as a high number (96%) saying they are considering looking for a new job.

The fact is, the U.S. has one of the smallest labor supply pools in its history, and disengagement remains high.

You can’t drive on a low tank.

Sure, some experts think that Artificial Intelligence will help ease the tight labor market, and that may be likely. But AI may only remove the need for certain types of jobs. And it's going to take some time for jobs to be fully automated. By that time, the labor supply will have shrunk even further as more boomers retire.

Also, you’ll need real people to manage the AI infrastructure.

So, basically, the economy has a bottleneck. Employers will need to learn to do more with less. And that starts by fixing workplace cultures where two out of every three employees are disengaged from their work.

Here are three strategies that employers should implement right now:

1. Give Them a Mission

Employees need to understand their employer’s direction and mission. A paycheck cannot be (and isn’t) the main motivation for employees. They are more likely to be engaged and work hard when they feel that their work is impactful and contributes to the success of the company. Make sure you have a good mission, and state the company mission loud and clear. It’s not optional.

2. Match Positions with Skills Companies are most successful when managers help employees find positions that match up with their skills. Skills-aligned positions will drive worker satisfaction, especially if there are consistent opportunities to upskill.

It may seem obvious, but companies that make an effort to play to their talent’s strengths will outperform their competitors. So don't just settle for a "good enough" match between skills and positions. The effort you put in here could pay off in ways you never thought possible.

3. Stop Hammering Your Employees with DEI

Employees should know what value they are bringing to their company. Workers need to understand how their work contributes to the success of the company, and also to have open avenues of communication on how to improve.

But in today’s workplace, 91% of employees have been forced into DEI training, much of which tells them what terrible people they are, while just 67% have been given skills development training – aka “investing in your people.” Companies need to stop prioritizing DEI over skills development, and they need to stop fostering divisive workplaces that assign “oppressor” and “victim” status to various groups within their walls.

It's no secret that employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to stick around, especially in today’s tight labor market where every employee counts.

RedBalloon’s success is founded on connecting good companies with hard-working employees who are tired of all the woke workplace nonsense. And, that group is growing every day.

So, to all companies out there, the message is clear: prioritize employee engagement, or get left behind in a tight labor economy. The choice is yours, but remember, engaged employees are the driving force behind a thriving business.

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