Four Workplace Trends We’re Watching This Year
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen some significant shifts in the labor market.
We’re keeping an eye on these four trends that will affect hiring from 2021 into 2022 and have some recommendations on how your organization can fill open roles while hiring for the future.
Trend 1. The Great Resignation
Recently, a Gallup analysis found that 48% of America's working population is actively looking for new job opportunities. Along with that, more people have been quitting their jobs this past year. In June 2020, the quit rate was 1.9%. This June it was 2.7%.
Has your organization been impacted yet? It may be time to reevaluate your company’s hiring and retention practices. (We offer some tips below).
So what might have caused this trend? The pandemic changed worker’s priorities. People are understandably wary of high-risk, low-paying jobs. Many people left the workforce to in order to provide child care or elder care for family members.
Add burnout, bad management, or a skills mismatch and you have a recipe for an expensive and long-lasting workforce disaster.
As you know, replacing workers is not usually a cheap or easy process. Leaving roles open is pricey and risky and can cause burnout on the remaining team.
Are you at risk of losing your people? Gallup found that it takes more than a 20% pay raise to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them, and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers.
Trend 2. Job Openings Outnumber Job Seekers
Recent reports show that there are currently about 10.1 million open U.S. jobs. With 8.7 million people unemployed or looking for jobs, the labor market is short about 1.4 million workers.
This was caused when quit rates increased while the rate or layoffs and discharges remained unchanged.
Some of the most impacted industries are:
- Trade, transportation, and utilities (1.8 million open jobs)
- Professional and business services (1.7 million open jobs)
- Leisure and hospitality (1.6 million open jobs)
- Health care and social assistance (1.5 million open jobs)
- Accommodation and food services (1.4 million jobs)
- Retail (1.1 million jobs)
As mentioned earlier, open roles can be expensive and even harmful to the organization through lost revenue and productivity, and as well as create burnout in team members who are covering down for the missing workers.
What’s more, the trickle of retiring Baby Boomers that began in 2011 is now more of a river, leaving gaps in the workforce.
Trend 3. Recruiting Practices Have Changed
Employers are taking extra measures to entice workers in the pandemic era. For example, many are offering enhanced benefits like pet insurance or perks like unlimited paid time off. Companies are also providing discount programs, legal services, and identity theft protection. Of course, medical and pharmacy benefits remain paramount.
Recruiting itself is reacting to a shift towards what might be termed “a buyer’s market.” With so much competition and noise in the job market, these aren't the days to low-ball pay in your job offer. Be ready to adjust your mindset and expectations to fit the current environment.
Additionally, if the hiring process is too lengthy, lacks clarity, or leaves any kind of negative impression, it can not only mean the loss of qualified candidates but dings to a company’s reputation that are difficult to erase. After all, word of mouth, especially among veterans and within the military community, is the strongest endorsement.
"My advice to companies facing significant recruiting needs is to focus on creating a company and culture that successful people will want to participate in," said Tim Best, CEO of RecruitMilitary and U.S. Army veteran. "There is no better recruiting tool than a team who promotes the culture, leadership, and opportunity that exists within their organization."
But building culture cannot be done overnight. "There are no shortcuts here," added Best. "Like Stephen Covey suggested in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, focusing on 'important' but 'not urgent' priorities - like company culture - is the key to long term success."
Trend 4. Retention Takes Center Stage
Replacing employees is expensive. The average cost per hire is north of $4,400, though that number can be much higher for certain roles and industries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2020, the median number of years employees work for their current employer is 4.1. However, this longevity varies by age and occupation. For ages 25 – 34 (millennials) that tenure is 2.8 years.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “people don’t quit jobs, they quit their boss” and it’s true that happy workers won’t for a few more dollars – they get away from poor management and toxic cultures.
Creating an environment that makes new hires happy and makes current employees want to stay is vital in 2021 and will continue to be in 2022.
But what do employees want? Besides salary, they value flexibility, personalized health benefits, workplace-sponsored wellness events, and companies with a social mission. Retention of veteran employees, or those with military backgrounds, may require extra consideration, but it is always worth the effort.
After 2020, the workplace will never be the same. Work and life have a new relationship with one another. Leaders in the new workforce will need to practice empathy and perspective. In a way, employee retention strategies demand good people management skills.
Add process to your retention strategy. Don’t send out a wellness survey to your employees and then move on. Leaders should be measuring both the engagement and wellbeing of their employees on a regular basis.
Why to Hire Military Veterans and Military Spouses
Every year, 200,000 members of the military separate from service, bringing new skills and fresh talent into the U.S. workforce. In 2020, 18.5 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 7% of the civilian population age 18 and over.
Those who work with veterans know that this is a group who works efficiently within an organizational system. They have already been through rigorous training and completed it satisfactorily. They have the skills to deal with people and numbers under pressure.
Veterans are also well-versed in small unit leadership at an early stage of their career, giving them more experience and maturity than their civilian counterparts of the same age.
An employer survey found that 68% of managers claim that veterans perform either better or much better than their nonveteran peers. Additionally, over 75% say veterans are easier or significantly easier to manage than their nonveteran peers.
"More than ever, leaders are understanding the importance of talent, diversity, and employees who embrace key culture-enhancing attributes like teamwork, transparency, and passion for purpose and mission," said Best. "Service members and their spouses are attracted to the military because of this, and spend years honing these attributes and skills with an eagerness to apply them in the private sector once they separate."
Additionally, there appears to be lower turnover among veterans once they have found the correct fit, indicating that securing a role in a desired field is one of the strongest factors increasing retention of veterans.
The same survey listed the following reasons for hiring veterans:
- Loyalty: Veterans remain with their initial company 8.3% longer than nonveterans.
- Work Ethic: Veterans are 39% more likely to be promoted earlier than nonveterans.
- Experience: Veterans with bachelor’s degrees have 2.9x more work experience.
What company wouldn’t benefit from a hire like that?
"Smart, forward-looking organizations are willing to develop veteran hiring initiatives that focus on building a credible and attractive employer brand in this community, and commit the resources and time necessary. The goal should be to find the best fit for both audiences," said Best.
Shift Your Mindset about Veteran Hiring Success
When hiring veterans (or anyone in this current job market), employers should keep retention front-of-mind. Rather than simply filling open jobs – though that is important – think about the integration, options for growth, and longevity of the people you’re bringing in.
Consider your current hiring practices. Is there an area in your where good candidates might be removed from the hiring funnel?
For example, one common obstacle for those from the military community is the lack of understanding of military service within the corporate realm. When recruiters or hiring managers don’t understand the experience or translation of military skills, those resumes will probably be sifted out.
Additionally, baseline educational requirements often leave otherwise qualified candidates behind, meaning they don’t make it to the interview stage to explain how their story fits the role or organization.
To attract talent from the veteran community, businesses will want to have something to draw them in. Does your company have any ERGs (Employee Resource Groups)? What about veteran or military-specific ERGS? Talk to your military candidates about it!
The presence of veteran affinity groups can provide the camaraderie members felt in military service.
Skills and experience translation has been an obstacle in the military-civilian hiring path for quite some time. And while employers are getting better at it, still only about 7% of HR executives at Fortune 500 companies indicated satisfaction with their current veteran hiring strategy.
Let the experts help. The RecruitMilitary team is comprised of veterans and military family members as well as industry-experienced civilians, allowing us to serve as subject matter experts for both sides of the military hiring equation, as we have been doing for decades.
See how RecruitMilitary services offer solutions to optimize today’s job market.