In case you haven’t noticed, the economy and the consumer has come back strong and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. People are ready to get back out there and the demands on our businesses have dramatically increased.
The one thing that just about every business has in common these days is a lack of personal. Recruiting and retention has taken on an entirely new significance in the new economy. Many organizations are struggling to bring onboard the people needed to meet the volume of work their industry requires. This demand has forced many employers to drastically up the pay-rate for hourly and salaried positions, but in many instances this wage increase still isn’t enough to cover the shortfall of willing job applicants.
While some would argue that slow wage increases over the past 20 years have finally caught up with the cost of living, it feels as though there may be some other forces unpinning this labor shortage, at least in the USA.
Among the long list problems the pandemic made clear to the population, one of the most prevalent is that many feel they have been working way too hard for way too long. So much so that many are now questioning what they truly value.
Covid, which some have referred to as “The Great Pause” forced millions in the workforce to shut it down, or at least slow it down. This unplanned slowdown has caused us to re-think just about everything.
Do I really enjoy the job I currently have?
Do I really need all this extra STUFF?
Can I reduce my cost of living in exchange for a job that I truly love?
What do I value the most? A larger paycheck or a flexible work environment? Can I have both?
Do I really enjoy my commute into the workplace everyday?
Do I actually like the people I work with or work for?
If I’m going to be confined to a desk or a cubicle and work in front of a computer screen, do I really need to be in an office at all, or can I just do most of that from my home?
I like being able to take my kids to school, or actually school my kids at home.
I like being able to attend my kids activities and my family events.
I like going to the grocery store whenever I feel like it and preparing my food, and sometimes even eating that meal at the kitchen table.
I like going for a walk or working out in the middle of the day.
If I need to get to a meeting, I can always drive there, but if I can’t I will just video conference into it no problem.
This seismic shift in behaviors and priorities has created these types of questions and seem to be the thoughts on everybody’s mind. Now that the workforce has had a taste of flexible schedules and a different kind of working environment, we can’t put the genie back into the bottle. Covid is going to force every employer to radically rethink what it means to be a part of their organization. If you are of the mindset that we are going back to business as usual, you may want to think again.
For the first time in a generation, without the aid of an organized labor movement or federal mandate, the worker has regained at least some of the power. The labor force has essentially said, “If you want me to come back, you are going to need compensate me for it and with more than just a paycheck. If I can’t get what I want, then I am happy to take my talent elsewhere, even it that means less pay.” What that means in the longterm or how long that lasts is anybody’s guess.
We’ve been watching this balance of power shift in professional sports for the quite some time now. The players have decided how they want to be compensated and where they choose to work. Free agency has allowed this to exist for decades. Owners tried to fight it, but eventually the talent usually gets what they want and if not, the players take their talent elsewhere or choose to do something entirely different. Aaron Rogers may be hosting Jeopardy next year instead of throwing touchdowns for the Green Bay Packers.
Welcome to the world of worker free agency. A global workforce has created a modern worker that can work across time zones and perceived physical boundaries. People no longer need to live near where they work. High-speed internet and a new-found comfort with video conferencing has only accelerated the process, and it’s here to stay.
Now more than ever, unless you have an unlimited budget, if you plan to attract new talent and keep the existing talent you have, your company mission, values, culture, and leadership are the only way you can compete for the free agent work force. Miss on any one of these and you are at the mercy of the very dog eat dog industry that your business may have helped create just a few years ago.
The balance of power has indeed shifted, maybe not forever, but at least for the time being. How are you preparing yourself and your organization to be relevant in the new economy?
How are you planning to adapt your organizational needs with the new demands of the modern worker?
What is your company’s secret sauce for balancing the scales?
What’s your plan to be essential in the post covid world.
The business is coming, and it won’t stop coming. Break some old rules and hit the ground running. Time to make your business attractive to the free agent workforce.
Thoughts for the week:
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.- Stephen Hawking
Those that cannot change their minds, cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw
People seem to get used to anything, and it’s a short step from adaption to attachment. -Lioner
It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change. –Charles Darwin
The oak is the strongest tree in the forest, but the willow bends and adapts. When the fires and storms hit, it is the willow that survives.- Kara Barbieri
Here’s to your continued success
One Quarter Turn at a Time
Looking forward to our next connection!