Does your business have 2020 vision for the future? Delve into Spherion’s latest workplace study to see where your business should focus its efforts for employee retention.
Think back to 2012. If you were asked then, “What do you think the workplace will look like in four years?” how would you have answered?
Odds are that your response would have been drastically different from how the workplace actually has taken shape. Fluctuating economic health and technological advancements have significantly altered the workplace and, as a result, brought changes to the employer/employee relationship.
While no one can truly foresee all of the factors that will influence workplace dynamics, a deep dive into workers’ and employers’ attitudes and behaviors can offer an insightful preview of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. In early 2016, Spherion conducted its annual Emerging Workforce® Study (EWS) to do just that.
Responses to the survey point to three interesting trends that are likely to define what tomorrow’s workplace may be like as we get closer to 2020.
Employees on the Move
The growing job market has reinvigorated workers’ confidence in their ability to find new career opportunities. As a result, it’s likely that any company’s staff roster will look drastically different in 2020 than it does now.
Employees no longer appear content to settle for just any available opportunity, and feel more comfortable to at least test the waters on making a big career move. In its 2016 EWS, Spherion found that more than a quarter (26 percent) of workers anticipate looking for a new job in the next 12 months, with the most commonly cited reason being to simply see if a better opportunity is out there.
Although this data indicates that workers are not exploring other options out of unhappiness, this potential worker exodus places greater strain on HR teams already facing pressure to fill openings with highly qualified—and potentially specialized—talent. Recruitment and retention remain atop HR teams’ concerns, and more than three-quarters (78 percent) of businesses say they are more worried about a potential talent shortage today than they were a year ago.
The EWS also found that both parties are not on the same page regarding what’s needed to keep top performers in house. For example, there is a big disconnect with employers misunderstanding that workers value managerial and colleague relationships above their own growth potential. Open and honest conversations can alleviate these disconnects and increase the likelihood that the staff in the office of 2020 include many of those working there today.
Raising a Case for Raises
Over time, every “workplace of the future” forecast likely has included one common prediction—money will influence workforce decisions. While that certainly remains the case as we look ahead to 2020, the EWS found that employees—rather than employers—appear to be the ones in the driver’s seat.
Today’s workers are more motivated than ever before to improve their financial situation, and believe that the revitalized job market gives them leverage to negotiate a higher salary. In fact, more than half (51 percent) of those surveyed feel the current market gives them an advantage to demand better compensation, even if that’s with a different company.
Additionally, the EWS uncovered that workers cite financial compensation, benefits, and earnings potential as the top three factors influencing their decision to stay with a company, further proving that they have money on their minds as they evaluate their own futures.
The push for higher salaries further puts employers in a bind as they look ahead. Coupled with their talent shortage concerns, employers cannot afford to let their best workers leave if they hope to remain successful. However, Spherion found that businesses largely remain divided on how to reach an appealing compromise. While nearly three-quarters 74 percent) of businesses recognize the need to increase wages to remain competitive, a comparable number (62 percent) say they simply cannot afford to offer large-scale raises to all employees.
It’s also important to note that, while money is very important to employees, it’s not the only motivator. In fact, the EWS found that among non-monetary factors, workers list location and commute as the top two job evaluation influencers.
Further, companies’ mission, vision, and values often play a large part in the satisfaction of workers. The study revealed that 85 percent of employees value a company’s ability to follow through on their mission, vision, and values and this impacts their decision when evaluating potential employers. That’s why in planning for the future, it’s important for businesses to remain competitive but responsible, keeping in mind that money isn’t the be-all and end-all.
While businesses should be upfront with current and potential employees about their raise process and overall company health, they should only promise what they can actually deliver. This transparency may require difficult conversations surrounding the true value of their workforce, but will provide for a much more stable future and steady morale than wage decisions hastily made simply to keep up with competitors.
Diverse Perspectives on Diversity
Workplace diversity has grown as an industry buzzword since the turn of the millennium. Workplace diversity has an updated meaning, referring to a variety of workplace values such as ethics, communication methods and motivational drivers. As networks expand further across the globe, and new generations and demographics account for larger shares of the work population, the workplace of the future will be more diverse and inclusive than ever before.
However, when asked how they would rate their company’s efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace, only 28 percent of workers offered an “A” grade. This trails the 33 percent who would give their company a “C” grade or lower. Employers recognize there is room for improvement in implementing diversity programs as well, with only 24 percent giving themselves an “A” and 32 percent rating themselves as a “C” or lower.
In examining their own workforce, employers should consider that diversity among workers is key to building a high-performing and qualified team. When they open the recruiting pool to all workers regardless of demographics, they are more likely to achieve a workforce that brings new and creative ideas to the table and contributes unique perspectives to all aspects of the business. One simple way for companies to apply this idea is by hiring workers whose demographics are proportionate to the communities in which they operate.
As it stands today, according to the EWS, part of the diversity challenge may stem from employers’ beliefs that workplace diversity is just another box to check rather than an opportunity to improve their culture and performance. Approximately one in three workers (37 percent) and businesses (31 percent) believe their company prioritizes diversity over qualification when evaluating candidates for open positions.
Overall, improved dialogue and promotion of diversity and inclusion initiatives will help employers grow as they prepare for 2020. Only 64 percent of companies say they emphasize their diversity values and programs when recruiting new employees. Employers who position themselves as progressive and willing to listen to their employees’ ideas on diversity expansion stand a better chance of attracting and retaining top-tier talent.
In the fast-paced business world, four years often goes by in what feels like seconds. As a result, the “future of the workplace” is now. Through a deep examination of staffing trends and improved communications, businesses and workers can overcome disconnects, address potential hurdles, and begin laying the foundation for what’s ahead. In doing so, they can make their clear 2020 vision a reality.
Sandy Mazur is the Division President of Spherion Staffing Services, a U.S.-based recruiting and staffing provider specializing in placing workers into temporary and full-time opportunities. For more than 19 years, Spherion has conducted its annual Emerging Workforce® Study to track the perspectives of workers and employers in the context of ongoing social and economic events. To learn more about Spherion, and the Emerging Workforce® Study, visit www.spherion.com.