The world of work is changing, largely influenced by new employee needs and expectations. The job market is more competitive than ever before, and it’s more challenging for organizations to attract and retain top talent.
Add to this that the makeup of the workforce is also changing – there are five generations in the workforce today, each with a different set of drivers that keep them engaged and compel them to stay at a company. It’s critical for employers to dive deeper into understand their motivations and desires as part of crafting the employee experience.
To remain competitive, organizations need to re-evaluate how they are recruiting and retaining their people. They need to change their policies, and look at using tools and technology that together help create an employee experience in which their people can be productive and satisfied at work.
Below are some numbers that will put the workforce trends that are shaping the future of work into context, and things employers and HR professionals need to consider as part of their talent management strategies.
By 2020, 50% of the workforce will be made up of millennials. Gen Z has also entered the workforce, and this group will soon outnumber the number of millennials globally. By 2019, Gen Z will make up 32% of the global population of 7.7 billion, just a bit more than millennials, who will account for 31.5%.
These generations bring their own sets of behaviors and expectations to the working world, and equally “a unique set of challenges for those looking to reach them,” according to a report by Nielsen Holdings Plc.
Millennials jump from job to job more often (which we discuss further in the next section), seeking fulfilling jobs in which they have access to continuous learning and development, flexibility, and the instant access to information and technology that they’re used to in their personal lives. If they don’t have compelling reasons to stay, they’ll look for another opportunity, which is why companies need to reevaluate the ways they are managing and retaining their people.
Options like daily pay, mobile self-service, and continuous, ongoing feedback are important considerations for employers who want to attract, engage, and retain this working demographic.
While jumping around from job to job has traditionally had more of a negative connotation, the working landscape has shifted. Job-hopping is becoming the new norm, as employees are making moves more often, seeking better salaries, opportunities to keep learning and developing their skills, and progressive benefits.
Gone are the days where an individual works for just one or two companies during their careers. Most employees only keep a position for an average of 4.2 years, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Gallup’s 2017 report on the State of the American Workforce finds that 51% of employees are ready to jump ship at any given moment by actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to retain top talent in key roles.
When key members of the team leave, organizations can be left scrambling to fill those positions. Organizations need to put a greater focus on succession planning, to ensure they can adapt quickly to future vacancies and turnover.
In terms of retention strategies, it’s more important than ever for managers to have regular conversations with their teams, and provide opportunities for continuous growth.
We recently wrote about how debt affects workers – in particular, millennials. An American Student Assistance survey highlighted how student debt can negatively impact millennials’ well-being, retirement planning, and overall productivity. According to the survey, 40% of respondents said worrying about their student loans has impacted their health, while 56% worry about repaying their loans either some or all of the time.
Financial stress isn’t only relegated to millennials – it’s true for all workers. The Financial Times says it well: “Employees’ financial ill health takes its toll at work.” Financial stress affects engagement, productivity, and mental health – and progressive employers are beginning to take note, and taking a closer look at how and when they pay their employees as one way to address this.
In a society in which 78% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, employees want to access money sooner than the standard pay cycle set by their employer. Progressive employers are exploring daily pay and on-demand pay options. From an employer perspective, letting employees access their earnings when they need them can be a recruitment and retention tool, and keep productivity up.
Employee burnout is on the rise. Full-time employees are working an average of 47 hours per week, and according to a recent Gallup study, 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while 44% said they feel burned out sometimes. Even engaged employees are at risk of burnout – these are workers who are passionate about their work, but also report high levels of stress.
Burnout can have various causes, such as employees feeling overloaded, lack of support from their managers, pressure to respond to emails after work hours, or being treated unfairly. And the impact of burnout can range from disengagement and decreased productivity to employee health concerns and higher turnover rates.
In recent years, leading organizations have put processes and policies in place to better manage burnout, encourage overall wellness, and prevent employees from leaving. These include things like implementing mental and physical health programs, providing flexible hours, and evolving compensation strategies with the goal of providing additional benefits, incentivizing behaviors, and promoting work-life balance.
Progressive organizations are also providing more tools to support work-life balance so that employees can do their jobs from anywhere and not be tied to their desks – for example, providing employee self-service mobile apps.
Organizations are also using data and predictive analytics to help identify employee flight risk and its contributing factors. They then leverage technology for recommendations and guidance on managing the potential flight risk situation. This allows HR and managers to take action before it’s too late.