As employees and businesses continue to adapt to workplace changes, workers are suddenly able to prioritize their careers, and their lives, differently. Forbes reports one in four workers expects to search for a new job soon, and their needs and expectations are evolving. With a predicted seven percent expansion in the economy looming — the fastest growth since 1984 — understanding why workers choose to shift careers is vital to sustaining growth in your industry.
Why change? Why now?
Businesses and their employees have learned a lot during the last 18 months. Some workers found themselves adapting to working from home — setting up workspaces, meeting virtually, and adjusting schedules to accommodate the needs of both job and family.
Those who couldn’t work remotely were left to pick up the on-site slack of a suddenly depleted workforce. Now, whether they’re in search of more flexibility, burnt out from overwork, or just ready for something different, more than 25% of workers are looking for a job change.
Job seekers report feeling stuck during the pandemic — unable to engage in training, development, and advancement due to too much work or a lack of opportunities available while businesses — and workers — scrambled for survival. In 2021, these are the employees who will be job hunting, and many of them have different goals than they did a few years ago.
Pay is only part of the puzzle
Most current job seekers are not driven by job loss; they are actively selecting their next position. While many candidates seek better pay, as many as two-thirds are looking beyond the paycheck. Recent history — and current economic expansion — allows workers to reprioritize for their own benefit. What qualities are they looking for? Priorities include:
- Flexibility is as appealing to workers as health benefits, particularly among women. Nearly half of those who already have a flexible work schedule consider it their most important benefit. Work flexibility takes many forms, from setting one’s own hours to the availability of hybrid or fully remote work.
- Professional development and advancement. As the ability to train or attend in-person courses fell during the shutdown, employees felt their careers stagnate. Workers are ready for positions that promote development through mentorships, access to training and certifications, and active support for those who wish to pursue advancement.
- Work-life balance. Employees no longer feel the need to sacrifice their personal and family lives for the good of a company. They focus their job searches on companies promoting a work-life balance that values the health and wellness of employees and their families.
- Purpose and satisfaction. Workers want to feel they are more than a cog in a machine. A company culture of positive feedback and recognition encourages employees to consistently engage with their work and builds a sense of commitment and loyalty in the workplace.
Beyond hiring: Increase retention from the beginning
Hiring is a top priority for many companies right now, but retention of employees — old and new — is also a vital component of keeping your business healthy. Understand the reasons behind talent migration to inform your decisions about incentives and benefits your company can offer to increase retention of new hires and current employees.
We know engaged employees are much less likely to leave their new jobs. With employee migration an ongoing concern, consider how to address the needs and priorities of the candidates you seek.
Early contact with applicants and new hires provides an excellent opportunity to set expectations and build relationships. A well-planned and thorough onboarding process allows more chances to demonstrate the company culture job seekers want. As an employer, consider onboarding a chance to connect your new hires with an engaged and established team, review professional development responsibilities and opportunities, and plan for a successful future in their new position.
Bringing it all together
Effective onboarding practices will help your company set a positive tone with new employees, but to maximize your retention efforts, extend the benefits you offer new talent to the employees who stuck with you through tumultuous times.
Reinstate learning and development programs, survey your current employees about their job satisfaction, promote from within when possible, and look for opportunities to reward both loyalty and performance.