Peter Morici: America needs shared purpose and trust in order to prosper

by | Nov 16, 2022 | Stock Market

Americans are frustrated with inflation and the general direction of the country.   Stronger economic growth would help as much as anything, and that requires cultivating a culture of trust and shared purpose among businesses, workers and politicians. COVID accelerated workplace changes and removed several million Americans from the labor force. Workers with skills in demand are resisting employers’ requests to return to offices and are seeking higher wages.

Better management needed Faced with shortages and rising labor costs, businesses are installing robots and embracing artificial intelligence. Those should raise productivity, but less overbearing management would help too. Daily commutes on crowded roads, buses and trains wastes time and are mentally draining. For self-starters and many responsible employees, work from home raises productivity but after two years of zooming, as many as half of all employees are disaffected and doing the bare minimum.   In the summer of 2021, the CEO of Michigan mortgage lender UWM 
ordered all his workers back to the office. Those who wanted to work from home were free to find another job. This approach penalized his best employees by treating them the same as slackers. Now many needlessly waste too much time commuting and high-quality employees are leaving.Costs and stresses of commuting Apple
is requiring workers to be at their desks Tuesdays and Thursdays and one other day as determined by individual teams. This approach permits better mentoring for younger workers, helps newer employees assimilate the corporate culture, and is a reasonable compromise to minimize the stress and costs of commuting.   As for those tempted to abuse such arrangements, these days employee engagement is easy to track. However simple metrics like keystrokes and the number of client interactions must be supplemented by other sound management practices that encourage quality engagement with managers and colleagues. Such as regular staff meetings where individuals report on how they are approaching assignments and can offer ideas about challenges affecting the whole team and enterprise. COVID, the war in Ukraine and China’s threats toward Taiwan, lockdowns and efforts to curb the influence of high tech and private enterprises lay bare that globalization and free markets are great at optimizing costs but not risks. Relentless competition cultivates long, brittle supply chains with multiple firms in many countries making essential contributions to products—such as simple computer chips in automobiles. And excessive reliance on comparative advantages begets …

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