Responding to Changes in the Employment Market
Date Published: Dec 28, 2022
Consider 2022 the year we gave names to employment market trends. There’s been:
The Great Resignation - the mass resignation of employees across all sectors, namely in the first half of the year.
Quiet quitting - employees doing the bare minimum to remain employed, often to pursue a side gig. This catch-phrase gained steam in the fall.
Career cushioning - employees preparing for a back-up plan if laid off during an economic downturn, a term made popular in the closing of the year.
Each of these forces is an outcome of the pandemic. While unique in the context of COVID, in a larger sense these trends are nothing new; the employment market is ever morphing in response to booms and busts.
The question for business leaders is what are the best methods in responding to changes in the employment market? To answer that, let’s take a look at the recent events that led to this point and proven tactics to help weather the storm of the coming uncertain months.
Recent Shifts in the Employment Market
The COVID pandemic created an employee job market in 2021 and the first half of 2022. Industries across the board needed workers. Many employees were laid off during lockdowns in the early part of the pandemic. As the world opened up again, companies were scrambling to fill positions. But potential hires just weren’t there.
Some workers reconsidered their professional choices and shifted to another industry. Others did not return to work because they couldn’t, child care compilations and illness relating to the pandemic often to blame.
This was the height of the Great Recession, with workers taking advantage of their leveraged position, leaving for the choicest jobs with top pay, benefits and room for growth. Quiet quitting became a thing too. Employees knew employers needed them, regardless of the mediocrity of their performance.
Next, enter worldwide inflation and fears of an economic downturn. In many sectors, the labour market began to cool.
Unite this with big-time changes in consumer demand, particularly in tech. Our lives were not limited to the virtual realm. As more people attended in-person meetings and social gatherings and shopped in brick and mortar stores, the need for everything online dropped - and so did many tech-based jobs. Employees began responding to changes in the employment market with career cushioning, scanning their job options in case the axe fell on their position.
The Past Is Prologue
We cannot look into the proverbial crystal ball, but it is safe to say that the foreseeable future will continue to be defined by market disturbances. The dust has not settled on the fallout from COVID.
If the past is prologue, the last three years have taught us a lot and can prepare us for what is ahead. There were two major operational modifications undertaken by most businesses during the pandemic that will be significant assets with shifting labour markets:
Technology upgrades - many effective business leaders implemented management practices and technology that promoted efficiencies, and remote and hybrid work.
Solutions to talent shortages - organizations became more responsive to employees, initiated upskilling and reskilling programs, and promoted a better work-life balance to boost their strained workforce and attract talent.
Staying Competitive in a Turbulent Employment Market
The short answer is to double down on these two pandemic-enabled operations changes. Simple ways to do this, and to stay ahead of curve in responding to changes in the employment market, include:
Technology Upgrades and Compliance
Remote and hybrid work make businesses more competitive. Employees in many sectors expect to have the option to work from home at least part of the time. Being prepared for this is essential in attracting the best of the labour market.
Of course, not all technologies are equal. If your company is behind the ball in upgrading or has only done so partially, consider this a priority for the coming year. Finally, technology is only as good as the people using it. Make sure your workforce is maximizing the features and abilities of your software systems. Survey your staff to identify skills gaps and fill them with training.
Upskilling and Reskilling
It’s far more cost effective to keep an employee than hire a new one. Where possible, train your existing staff in missing competencies, rather than search for someone with these abilities outside of the organization.
Upskilling is used to enhance an employee’s performance in their current position. Reskilling prepares employees to transition to a new role that requires an expanded skill set.
Not only does digital upskilling and reskilling make your workforce more efficient, it also shows your staff you are willing to invest in them, buoying their morale and helping to maintain the cream of your crop.
Promoting a Healthy Work-Life Balance
In recent years it has become generally accepted by smart business leaders that getting the most out of employees means encouraging their wellness. Employee wellness plans have become part and parcel of a forward-thinking, optimally-productive organization. These programs have become increasingly important as workers face a tsunami of change in and out of the workplace in the wake of the pandemic.
At the core of many employee wellness programs is promoting a healthy work-life balance. With work hours no longer clearly delineated thanks to technologies that keep us connected 24/7 and hybrid and remote work environments, it is easy for workers to slip into a state where they feel like they should always be available.
Promoting a healthy work-life balance combats this, and helps employees feel more in control of their work and less stressed.
Learn More: Work-Life Life Balance Integration
Your Partner in Staying Competitive
These tactics designed to sharpen your competitive edge in a volatile employment market sound easy enough to implement. The reality of putting them into practice may require some outside help.
Priority Management has been training teams on critical technology, time management, work-balance and other skills for over 40 years. Let us be your partner in responding to changes in the employment market and help your organization optimize its efficiency.
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
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