It’s Time to Let Go of These Outdated Workplace Practices

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“It’s worked for us for this long.”

“It’s our culture. It’s who we are.”

This line of thinking gets many organizations in trouble.

It’s lazy talk. It keeps organizations locked in the past. And when you’re stuck in the past, you’re not able to see what’s ahead.  

Before you know it, you’re floating behind your competitors. Employees disengage. Top talent becomes frustrated and leaves. It’s harder to attract and recruit.

The workforce practices and norms that worked fine 5 or 10 years ago are becoming more and more irrelevant.

6 Antiquated Workforce Practices Holding Your Company Back

  1. Requiring all employees work in the office from 9 to 5. Technology enables us to connect anytime, anywhere. Face-to-face interaction can be important, but Monday-Friday office cubicle isolation isn’t necessary anymore. According to Cisco’s Connected World Technology Final Report, “⅔ of Gen X, Gen Y and HR professionals believe that an organization that has adopted a flexible, mobile and remote work model has a competitive advantage over one that requires employees to be in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday.”
  2. Forcing the dreaded annual performance review. If your company is still aligning base pay compensation to (outdated) goals and a yearly review, you’re wasting time and money. Jobs, roles and skills are constantly shifting. Instead, growth and development is better achieved with consistent coaching conversations that are point-of-need and future-focused
  3. Email is the primary communication tool. Collaboration software, like Slack, is faster and more productive for sharing ideas, conversing and encouraging team communication than email. Organizations that still use email as their primary communication platform are way behind the curve. 
  4. Learning happens through classroom training. It’s expensive and inefficient to employ instructor led training to address all learning needs. The accessibility of mobile devices, the internet and video has paved the way for the explosion of microlearning (bite-sized, targeted learning), social learning and adaptive learning.
  5. Lip service to diversity and inclusion. It’s easy to tout diversity as a value. When done right, organizations that embody diversity reap all sorts of benefits like greater market share, more sales revenue and higher profits.
  6. Hiring only full-time and local employees. Competition for talent, globalization, the desire for flexibility and the ability to match employers with workers has resulted in a steep increase in the contract/freelance/temporary workforce. Organizations that don’t take advantage of this booming experienced workforce will soon find themselves scrounging to fill critical roles and skills.

Millennials and Generation Z are pouring into the workforce and have different experiences and expectations than Generation X and Baby Boomers. The digital landscape is reshaping how organizations do business. Organizations that keep up with these shifts and trends will survive and thrive. The rest will be left in the dust.

Marta Steele is a partner at PeopleResults. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele.

Marta Steele