Every year at about this time, I write the new year’s workforce-workplace forecast. This year is particularly fascinating because we have been dealing with a global pandemic – unprecedented in our lifetimes. This pandemic has changed the both the workforce and the workplace forever. Many in the workforce have re-evaluated their previous values and attitudes. Over the past year, I have written about this re-evaluation; to read any of the Herman Trend Alerts I have written in the past, you can access the archive. Today, I have covered the first five of the 12 trends I wanted to share for the coming year.
Where We Are Today
Today, we find ourselves in a unique position with millions of open positions and millions of folks looking for positions. We are still dealing with a raging pandemic and proliferating variants. At this point, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are testing positive for the Omicron variant. However, it is those people who have chosen not to be vaccinated who are causing the propagation of variants. If you have chosen not to be vaccinated in the past, please reconsider, if not for yourself, then for your family.
1. The Great Resignation Continues
Although hundreds of thousands of people are being hired monthly, an increasing number of workers are choosing to leave their jobs – many long-tenured employees who are feeling under-appreciated. That is very bad news for their employers for a few reasons; some of those reasons are covered in this Alert and others in the next one (Part 2). In general terms, employers are losing intellectual capital and internal and external customer service (see #4).
2. Rewriting the Rules to Support Hybrid Work
With 40 to 50 percent of job-seeking workers looking for remote work and only 9 percent of the open positions are characterized that way, employers will need to develop some solutions for hybrid work, and fast. Companies will need to rethink how they focus on results, create employee engagement, and retain their workers for the long-term. They will re-engineer positions to accommodate hybrid and remote workers and develop new ways to connect with people who are not coming to congregate workplaces on a regular basis.
3. COVID Fatigue in the Workplace
Mental health issues are among the top concerns of business leaders. COVID fatigue is the state of being exhausted from the masking, physical distancing and lockdowns. Adding to COVID fatigue, people have anxiety from the threat of losing economic security, and the fear of catching the disease. COVID fatigue is one of the leading causes of mental challenges, causing people to be distracted and have trouble concentrating on their work.
4. Customer Service Suffers: Burned Out and New Workers
Related to COVID fatigue is the deterioration of internal and external customer service. Many companies have suffered with high employee turnover. When new people take over, it takes a while (sometimes a long while) for them to learn what they need to know to deliver optimum customer service. On top of that, long-tenured employees experiencing COVID fatigue feel burned out trying to pick up the slack.
5. Greatly Expanded Definition of Total Rewards – Employees will get Creative
The definition of Compensation and Benefits has evolved into Total Rewards, looking at the complete package. However, in the past few years, that meaning has expanded even further to include paying off student loans, providing short-term and pay-day loans. As we stated in previous forecasts, total rewards already include things like tuition reimbursement, extra time off with pay, time off for kids’ events and teacher conferences, flex-time and -space, and so much more. From free food to laundry on-site to free parking spaces to career pathing, it all adds up to the value of delivering an irresistible value proposition.
Next Week’s Herman Trend Alert: 2022 Workforce-Workplace Forecast, Part 2
Next week, we continue looking at the major trends that will have an effect on our work lives in the next year and those to come. You can look forward to coverage of Diversity and Inclusion, Litigation, Evolved Recruiting, Refocus on the Employee Experience, and more.
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