As the modern workplace evolves, many employers and employees are working together to define and implement a new approach to work-life balance. Optimizing your business’ employee engagement strategy is vital to bridging any gaps during this process. But because every worker brings distinct values, attitudes, behaviors, and life experiences to the workplace, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
“The pandemic made many people reevaluate what was important in their lives, and the result is that work is no longer the top priority for a large percentage of the workforce,” said Tracy Winn, G&A Partners client success manager. “Many employees now want to have the flexibility to manage their personal affairs without feeling like they will be penalized, along with feeling a strong connection to the work they do.”
Business owners have worked diligently to make impactful changes in recent years, but the labor market is still tight, and quit rates are still high.
A 2021 McKinsey & Co. survey found that almost 40% of U.S. employees would leave their jobs if presented with a better option. The search for higher pay and comprehensive benefits packages is one of the top reasons employees say they want to leave their current job, but it’s not as simple as that.
A 2022 McKinsey & Co. survey found that almost 40% of U.S. employees would leave their jobs if presented with a better option.
— - Aaron De Smet, et al. "'Great Attrition' or 'Great Attraction'? The choice is yours" - McKinsey Quarterly
The McKinsey survey also identifies additional factors that are adding to labor market complexities—based on these five employee personas:
The “traditionalist” talent pool is insufficient to fill all job openings.
Traditionalists are career-oriented people motivated to work for companies in return for a competitive compensation package, perks, a good job title, and career advancement opportunities. They are less likely to leave their job without another lined up and, typically, only go if it’s a similar job with higher pay. Though they make up about 60% of the American workforce, this contingent is not large enough to fill the quit gaps attributed to the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting movements.
“Do-it-yourselfers” are willing to forego traditional employment for gig work.
A growing number of autonomous workers (typically 25- to 45-year-olds) value autonomy above all else and will not consider working for an organization unless it offers workplace flexibility, a comprehensive compensation package, and purposeful work. In other words, they prefer to work independently—or for themselves—unless a better offer comes their way.
“Caregivers” require strong motivation to reenter the workforce.
Caregivers left their jobs during the pandemic to care for family members or children. Most are unwilling to return to work unless job benefits outweigh the advantages of staying home. They seek workplace flexibility, employee health and well-being support, and career development opportunities.
“Caregivers who have been out of the workforce for a while now recognize that their contributions in the home were more important and valued than their contributions at work. Since many caregivers are women, employers should reexamine any biases, whether regarding pay, advancement, or other biases, and ensure there is equality in all areas,” Winn said. “Employers would also be wise to not immediately discount a candidate due to gaps in their resume and realize the stigma that may have once existed for candidates with periods of nonemployment no longer applies in most cases today.”
Generation Z (or “idealists”) are searching for more nontraditional workplace factors.
The newest generation in the workforce (those aged 18 to 24) value job flexibility, career development, advancement opportunities, and purpose more than generous compensation packages. They will forego working for high-paying employers if not attracted to their company culture.
“Many Gen Z workers have consciously chosen careers that, more than likely, will not make them rich when it comes to financial wealth. But those careers will serve their more flexible lifestyles. They also want to feel that the work they are performing matters in terms of serving a greater purpose and/or aligns with causes they feel passionate about,” Winn said.
Adapting employee engagement to personas key in difficult labor market.
Business owners who consider these five personas (and their workers’ diverse needs) when adapting their employee engagement strategy are better positioned to retain valuable employees and attract quality candidates during a difficult labor market. It’s also worth the effort. A multifaceted team offers a range of experience and creative problem-solving skills that can be harnessed to help your business succeed.
“Employers must recognize that what once attracted workers to not only join their company but stay with it has completely changed. And they should, if they haven’t already, reexamine their policies and practices, especially their paid leave policies,” said Winn. “Those who listen to their employees, manage change, and incorporate targeted employee engagement strategies will emerge as winners in the recruiting and retention talent wars—no matter the state of the labor market.”
How G&A Can Help
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