How to Create a Modern Workplace

Last Updated on December 21, 2022 by G. T. HR

Getting Inspired by Industry Leaders

In late June, John Yerger, my business partner, and I attended what some call  “the best – and the biggest HR conference in the world,” the 2019 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference.

After our trip, we realized two things are crystal clear:

  1. Creating a better workplace is key to building a competitive advantage
  2. The time to act is NOW

Share Modern, New Ideas

Out-of-the-box thinking from HR thought leaders during the conference left us energized and inspired. John and I recently sat down to pinpoint practical ideas independent grocers can use right now. Here are two great ideas we’re sharing with the businesses we serve:

  1. Upskill Now! Teach new skills to unlock the full potential of automated Intelligence (AI) & build a competitive advantage.
  2. Connect experienced leaders (also called “modern elders”) & younger workers to mentor each other

Upskill Your Workers

There’s no denying, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in play in business. Customers use digital apps to make various lists and communicate with services. They’re ordering online or running into a business then leaving without interacting with a human being.

However, rather than making human workers obsolete, AI paired with people is recognized by many experts as the only way to develop a sustainable competitive advantage for the future.

It’s why the majority of CEOs—sixty-six percent—see upskilling their existing workforce a top 10 priority, according a study fielded by McKinsey & Company.

The vast majority believe they must retrain or replace more than 25% of their workforce by 2023 due to AI.

“Keeping people’s skills in sync with fast-changing markets is the biggest challenge of our time.”

Kelly Palmer, 2019 SHRC Conference Speaker and co-author of The Expertise Economy

Check out the 7 guiding principles to help organizations – small and big – develop skills crucial to their current and future success.

Building “a culture where learning is part of the overall strategy” is key for smaller businesses to effectively compete with the big guys. We urge you to take the first steps now. Make current workers your starting point as you upskill them to take advantage of new technologies.

Develop their technical aptitude along with their critical thinking and communication skills. Use this opportunity as a stepping-stone to create a workplace where learning is “something that people love and want to do.” View this fun downloadable infographic to shed some light on the past versus the present of HR.

Connect Younger Workers with “Modern Elders”

As technology reshapes our interactions, people long for small gestures of kindness – a smile, a hello – that remind us we’re human. Many businesses struggle to get younger workers to smile at, greet or even acknowledge customers – all essential to a great customer experience.

Enter the “modern elder” and a new way to mentor to help grocers address the lack of people skills and other workforce challenges by connecting older and younger workers to learn from each other.

Chip Conely, 2019 SHRC conference speaker and  author of Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder and Change Maker, advises we use mutual mentoring to harness the peer power of 5 generations to shape the modern workplace and society. This approach has younger workers learning people skills, leadership and strategic thinking from “modern elders,” while sharing their own wisdom in technology, cultural issues and life-style changes.

Mutual mentoring can help to tackle a host of workforce challenges including labor shortages, recognizing age in the diversity equation and encouraging HR compliance among workers.

Chris Cooley and John Yerger are co-founders of MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors.  MyHRConcierge specializes in helping small to mid-sized grocers throughout the U.S. Contact Chris at 855-538-6947, ext. 108 or at