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The Big Story: Strikes Becoming More Common Amid Inflation, Tight Labor Market

There were 180 strikes [across a swatch of industries] involving roughly 78,000 workers in the first six months of this year, up from 102 involving 26,500 workers in the same period a year earlier.

What It Means for You

Conversations about the workplace are proliferating across industries – from railways to hospital corridors – and share notable characteristics.  From quiet quitting to organized walkouts, many industries have a workforce that’s bleeding out.  

You know this. Leadership teams know this. So do unions. And individual workers. Leaders need to ensure they’re listening to what employees are saying, and responding to those issues by acting when they can, and educating when they can’t. Or both. 

It’s a meme today that society is rethinking work. Sure, there’s pay. Always pay. But people are more broadly concerned about quality-of-life issues. Like too much overtime, not enough paid time off, inflexible workplaces and rigid scheduling. They’re tired of understaffing. 

According to fresh Jarrard Inc. research (debuting next week), workers are feeling disconnected from administration and see administration offering things that don’t address their needs. Administration and nurses are sometimes having different conversations. Pay is important, but not the only thing. In these financially strapped times, raises often aren’t available. But the alternatives being presented often come across as cheap substitutes. To tease our upcoming survey of 1,000 nurses, we found that nurses who feel they’re not paid appropriately are more likely to see global appreciation events like Hospital Week as tone deaf. Ditto, pizza parties and knick-knacks. But even where pay raises are being offered, they’re not always solving the problem. People want raises. Who doesn’t? But talk of money alone from leadership teams doesn’t always resonate because, again, the conversation doesn’t extend to the other issues – lifestyle, stress, balance. 

Leaders who push the wrong conversation are risking a lot. Union activity is one piece of that, but it’s a road sign of broader, and sometimes more subtle cracks in the road. And so, putting resources into getting it right is a wise investment for the long term, not just a feel-good accomplishment. Call it “ROLI” – Return on Listening Investment. 

We don’t use the word “investment” lightly. We understand time can be as precious as money and to “spend” an hour listening, responding, engaging, is – in fact – an investment strategy that comes as a cost to investing your time and attention elsewhere. Our point: It’s a worthwhile investment. 

This doesn’t happen overnight. But here’s some thinking how to use the power of communications to help bolster your workforce and heal some of the cracks.

None of this is breaking news. You know it. You feel it. Your gut and experience have told you all of this. In fact, that’s the title of the survey. Trust your gut: It’s time to ditch old habits with nurse engagement. Stay tuned for full results next week.

This piece was originally published over the weekend in our Sunday Quick Think newsletter. Fill out the form to get that in your inbox every week.

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