From The Great Resignation To The Great Migration

Much has been written about The Great Resignation, the trend for over 3.4% of the US workforce to leave their jobs every month. Yes, the trend is real: companies like Amazon are losing more than a third of their workers each year, forcing employers to ramp up hiring like we have never seen before. (The trending hashtag in TikTok is now #quitmyjob.)

But while we often blame the massive quit rate on the Pandemic, let me suggest that something else is going on. This is a massive and possibly irreversible trend: that of giving workers a new sense of mobility they’ve never had before.

Consider a few simple facts. Today more than 45% of employees now work remotely (25% full time), which means changing jobs is a simple as getting a new email address. Only 11% of companies offer formal career programs for employees, so in many cases, the only opportunity to grow is by leaving. And wages, benefits, and working conditions are all a “work in process.” Today US companies spend 32% of their entire payroll on benefits and most are totally redesigning them to improve healthcare, flexibility, and education.

Our new Healthy Organization Research found that this is a big work in process. Today only 13% of companies survey employees to understand what they need and only 18% actively manage and optimize workloads to remove stress. (Report here.)

So what’s going on?

This is not a Great Resignation, it’s a Great Migration.

Employees are migrating from “crummy jobs” to “better jobs” and from “companies that don’t seem to care” to “companies that really really care.” And for many workers this means moving to companies with opportunities for growth, promotion, and even a new industry.

We call these companies “Irresistible Organizations,” and our research found that about one in 7 are there today.

So workers, many of whom have been freed from their desks and long commutes, are simply voting with their feet (their virtual feet.)

I don’t think this is going away. For years companies have been debating what to do about employee engagement and retention as if it’s a sideline problem for HR to worry about. Today this is a CEO-level issue and a new breed of leaders is going to learn that taking care of employees is the number one thing executives must do.

Consider the following facts. Today more than 90% of all jobs in the US (including even truck drivers) are service-centered jobs. In other words, they add value through their human touch, care, consideration, or ingenuity. This means that every company, regardless of your industry, is essentially in the people business.

Second, with more than 14 million jobs open and a US workforce of around 160 million people, you already are missing almost one in ten workers for your company. Research from Citibank predicts that as many as ten million new jobs will be created from the US Infrastructure and Build Back Better programs, so next year it may be one in eight. In other words, if you walk down the hall in your office and count desks, every eight desks is a vacant seat.

Third, the financial return on investment in people is higher than ever. is planning on spending $4 Billion on hiring in Q4 alone (just to maintain their on-time delivery brand) and they aren’t even trying to improve retention. If they can afford to do this, you can too.

What does this mean for the future?

You have to run your company as if every employee has one foot out the door. It’s time to ramp up your Employee Experience program, focus managers on listening and supporting people, and seriously invest in career pathways and internal growth for your staff.

This is why new solutions like the Talent Marketplace, Capability Academies, Talent Intelligence Platforms, and Learning in the Flow of Work are so hot. Without an internal strategy for mobility and development, people just “mobilize” right out the door.

The Great Resignation is not just an interesting trend from the pandemic. It’s a permanent and long-lasting change in our workforce. And it’s one that’s good for workers and wages, but will put many employers under stress.

What Should You Do?

First, take employee experience seriously. This is not some fad that came along with Zoom and Teams, it’s an existential change in the way you manage people, and we have an entire assessment and body of research to help.

Second, focus attention on your employee brand. Recruiting today is heavily dependent on your reputation, so if your people are leaving or your company isn’t well-positioned, I can guarantee your talent pipeline is weak. Even big companies like Facebook, who have suffered from damaged brands from their own behavior, are now finding it hard to hire.

Third, get serious about facilitated internal mobility. Companies like Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the largest healthcare providers in the US, are creating data-driven career pathways to develop new skills in telemedicine, informatics, patient care, and leadership. You should sit down and identify your future needs and create career pathways to get people there. (Hiring simply won’t work.)

Fourth, build a Talent Intelligence strategy. Without good data about the roles, jobs, and skills you need in the future, you’re flying blind. Each line manager will simply try to hire replacement jobs but you’ll have no strategy to develop people. A whole new domain of HR is needed: the “skills and job architecture” team, and we can help you set this up.

Fifth, bring your CEO and CFO along on the mission. Most CEOs know that talent is their #1 priority, but now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Investments in tailored and well-designed benefits programs, end-to-end wellbeing programs, and digital workplace tools to improve productivity and wellbeing are critical.

The Great Resignation is a big deal, but let’s use it to our advantage. As we enter 2022 it’s time to focus on your people strategy first. The rest of the business will be glad you did.


The purpose of “purpose”

If 2020 was all about crises—the pandemic and the outrage in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, to name two—and companies’ resilience and ability to navigate disruption, 2021 feels like it has been the year of “purpose.” Companies are issuing purpose statements with great fanfare, and the phrase purpose-driven company is so ubiquitous that it risks joining the ranks of strategic and going forward—words and phrases that are added almost reflexively to every sentence of corporate-speak.

Recent comments from General Electric CEO Larry Culp about the company’s historic decision to break up the conglomerate into three separate companies echoed this emphasis on purpose. Increasingly, recruiting and retaining talent relies more on the power of a company’s brand, Culp told Fortune. “It’s about position and purpose,” he said. “There was a point in time when people said, ‘I want to work for GE.’ Today, people are more focused on addressing climate, or being in healthcare, or in aviation.”

And that’s all to the good. Given all the global challenges such as climate change and inequality, and the central role that business can play in addressing them rather than leaving them solely to governments to fix, companies should be broadening their apertures to think about their impact. Any statements they choose to make, however, need to be both relevant to what they do and accurate.

Phil Martens, the former CEO of Atlanta-based aluminum company Novelis, who has served on many boards, recently told me that companies should rethink the old frameworks of being either B2B or B2C and should replace them with B2S: business-to-society.

Companies should rethink the old frameworks of being either B2B or B2C and should replace them with B2S: business-to-society.

“At each company I’m involved with, the question is the same: What is your solution for society, and how do you make that the core vision and the core driver of your company?” said Martens, who pushed during his time at Novelis to focus on recycling, because aluminum is an energy-intensive product to make. (He referred to this recycling as “urban mining.”) “The question of what your company can do for society,” Martens said, “then flows into organizational strategy. That approach can take a while to take hold, because people have to change their framework and realize that there are leadership opportunities, innovation opportunities, margin opportunities that they never thought of before in this broader approach.”

Reframing that purpose discussion takes time and hard work. Unfortunately, many companies are whiffing on the challenge, and instead are adopting the language of purpose without much action behind it. Just saying that your company works to make the world a better place—or some similarly anodyne expression—isn’t going to cut it.

In a recent headline, Axios predicted that the C-suite job of the future will be chief purpose officer. But purpose is not a responsibility that CEOs can delegate. They need to own this conversation, because it should inform the company’s overall positioning and strategy. It’s not just about talking points.

The truth test
So how do you come up with a meaningful purpose statement?

It starts with a goal that feels directly connected to the business, rather than a lofty statement that could be used by dozens or hundreds of other organizations. “It has to be real and tangible and live,” said author Margaret Heffernan when I interviewed her about her most recent book, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. “It has to be something people feel that they can do.”

More PwC insights

Ten Years to Midnight
These are the difficult questions that every leader must wrestle with, even though they may seem philosophical and not directly relevant to the bottom line: Why do you matter? How do you make a difference? What would be lost if your organization went out of business?

Healthcare businesses can make a credible case that they are improving or saving people’s lives. A nonprofit is often founded with a clear idea of the impact it wants to have. But the job can seem trickier if you are in a kind of commodity business. Imagine for a second that you run, say, a company that processes beets for sugar. How do you build a purpose around that?

Paul Kenward took up that challenge. As managing director of British Sugar, which is based in the east of England, he faced the task of defining a sense of purpose for the company. In my interview with him, he shared how the company rallied around the mission of creating “a thriving, homegrown sugar industry.” To back up those words with specifics, Kenward highlighted the fact that the company’s veteran engineers started as apprentices; that the entire crop is homegrown, with nothing imported; and that the business has reduced its water consumption by 26% since 2014. “Brits can be quite cynical about ‘visions,’ dismissing them as fluffy, airy things,” said Kenward. “But I think [visions] can be really important.”

Kenward’s approach checks the important boxes. It feels unique to the company, there are facts and details to support it by showing what it looks like in action, and all employees can have a sense of how they are contributing directly to something that is bigger than the company itself. That is the purpose of “purpose.”

Does your company’s purpose statement pass these tests?


Successful teams: Superstars need not apply

The role of the superstar within a sports team—even in individual sports such as tennis and golf—is undergoing an interesting change. The biggest soccer stories of the summer bear this out: first, an Italy team with no obvious stars won soccer’s UEFA European Championship. Team captain Giorgio Chiellini put that success down to one thing: “we put the interest of the team before the individual.” Italy’s top scorer over its eight games at the “Euros” scored just two goals—but the distinction was shared by four players, each scoring a pair.

Over the past summer, Ronaldo, now 36, joined Manchester United FC for €15 million (US$17.2 million) amid reports that he had never bonded with his Juventus teammates and coaches. One Juventus player, Leonardo Bonucci, admitted that they hadn’t played like a team but rather to make Ronaldo score. Jonathan Liew, writing in the Guardian, noted that Ronaldo is shown alone in every advertisement appearance: “This is not to say Ronaldo doesn’t inspire feelings. It’s just that they’re not the sort of feelings one normally associates with collective success in a team ball sport.”

It was a slightly different scenario at FC Barcelona, the club that lost Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s archrival when he had starred for Real Madrid CF, after a decade of Messidependencia. That term used to refer to the Argentine striker’s ability to conjure a goal in a tight match—Messi scored a record-breaking 672 goals in 778 games for Barça—but more recently, it’s highlighted the club’s unhealthy financial relationship with him. Barcelona paid Messi an unsustainable €555 million (US$674 million) in the four years between 2017 and 2021. “Barça parasited off Messi, until he began eating the club,” according to strategy+business contributor Simon Kuper, author of The Barcelona Complex. Without Messi, though, the club is languishing in ninth place in Spain’s La Liga this season, after having won it ten times with him.

The state of sports 2021
Today’s vision of teamwork has shifted from a system that revolves around an individual to a system that revolves around all the individuals working together: collective functioning. “[Nowadays] players think more about collective functioning than that moment of individualism,” said Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcântara in an interview with the Guardian.

Collective functioning is about what can be harnessed and created from the intersections of people’s skills and emotions; it’s the emotions that create a ripple effect that forms a culture. This is where Chiellini’s vision of the team excels—and catches up with what the business world has been talking about for decades. (See The Wisdom of Teams, by PwC managing director Jon Katzenbach and coauthor Douglas K. Smith, which was published in 1993 and has since become an enduring business classic.)

Perhaps the most compelling argument for the appeal of collective functioning came from golfer Rory McIlroy, a superstar in an individual sport who is now hooked on playing in a team. At the end of the 2021 Ryder Cup, in which the US squad beat Europe, he said, “I love being a part of this team,” looking away from the camera as tears filled his eyes. “I hope little girls and boys today aspire to play in this event or the Solheim Cup [the top female team trophy for golf], as there is nothing better than being in a team.” It was a reversal of what he had said in 2009 when asked about the competition (and when he had yet to be picked for the team): “It’s an exhibition at the end of the day…. I’m not going to go running around fist-pumping.”

Similarly strong emotions about teams were harnessed in 2020 by overachieving NFL side the Cleveland Browns, whose players connected to one another through the pandemic lockdown by sharing emotive stories about their four Hs: heroes, history, heartbreak, and hopes. Stories assign value to experiences and are easy to remember. The Browns used other tactics to bring the team together, such as appointing captains on a game-by-game basis, and finished the season 11–5, their best record in more than 20 years.

Optimal performance
The conditions required for optimal team performance, according to the late Professor J. Richard Hackman, author of Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances, have nothing to do with the talent of the team star. Teams that share resources, and have flexibility and opportunities for collective learning, still might underachieve if their structure and leadership are wrong. But get those elements right, and the team will flourish.

No matter how well superstars such as Ronaldo or Messi may play, the success of their teams depends on the weakest player, not the strongest.

You may know about the O-ring theory, named after the tiny gasket that blew in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle mission, causing the rocket’s destruction. In economics, it refers to the theory that the smallest components of a complex process must all work to achieve an effective outcome. So, if the value of an organization is based on a combination of each employee’s contributions, then success is determined by the weakest of those employees, not the strongest.

In sports teams, not to mention economics and business organizations, this is also known as the weak link theory; no matter how well Ronaldo or Messi may play, the success of their teams depends on the weakest player, not the strongest. Chris Anderson and David Sally make a convincing case for the application of this theory to soccer in their book, The Numbers Game—with backing from Diego Simeone, coach of La Liga champion Atletico Madrid, who says that it is why he and his peers spend hours looking to exploit opposition weaknesses.

The debate, according to Soccernomics coauthor Stefan Szymanski, raises a curious question about recruitment: if a player’s value is dependent on their teammates, why do soccer clubs only buy players as individuals, rather than as combinations of players? After all, teammates who collaborate more effectively, in any organization, can outperform those whose individual skills may be superior. The key is to discover who works best with whom, and who brings out the best in others.

This is not always easy. Sometimes even the people involved don’t know the answer. One study on team dynamics in soccer asked players which teammate they connected with most successfully on the pitch. Only one-third picked the correct person, based on an analysis of data on who passed successfully to whom. Teams that recognize the power of collective functioning and have leaders who create environments for those partnerships to flourish reap the benefits. Just ask the Italy team.


How To Tailor Recruiting Strategies And Improve Candidate Engagement

On September 6, 2021, the United States government officially ended federal unemployment benefits. While some states opted to end the benefit sooner, the labor market has been in a state of flux since the cut-off. Workers have walked away from their jobs en masse leaving staffing and recruiting professionals little time to piece together effective strategies. We’ve reached a critical moment as we look to combat The Great Resignation. How did the labor market get to this breaking point? What can Talent professionals do to help? The end of unemployment benefits is a significant marker to study as we search for these answers.

Since September, PandoLogic has used its advanced proprietary data sets to track and highlight significant trends in the labor market. We aimed to study the relationship between employer behavior as well as the job seeker’s response in the weeks following the unemployment cut-off dates. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Stats and trends from June through September
What these stats and trends mean
What you can do to apply these trends to your hiring strategy in 2022
The State of Recruitment Post-Unemployment Benefits
In July of 2021, employers in states where the unemployment benefits were cut off early began anticipating a hiring boom. They increased their job listings to get in front of new job seekers re-entering the labor market. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate steadily dropped from 5.4% to 5.2% overall.

A proactive set of candidates also anticipating the cut-off began their job search two weeks early as well. Job seekers were steadily trickling into the labor market to shop around for a new job that could meet their needs.

As shown here, applicants per job increased when unemployment benefits ended, indicating an increase in active job seekers. This happened concurrently with a decrease in unemployment rates. 

Below you’ll find clicks-per-job and applications-per-job trends for all states. You’ll see that clicks increased way before applications.

It’s clear that job seeker behavior is changing. According to the data, this behavior indicates one thing: people WANT to work, but they’re shopping around and holding out for more meaningful careers. In the weeks following the end of unemployment benefits, job seeker behavior indicated an increase in active job seekers. But seeing more clicks per job vs applications indicates that candidates are shopping around for their next job.

What Does This Mean?
While “job shopping” has increased, we’re also seeing workers walk out of jobs at alarming rates. Our take is that, ultimately, the want for work is there, but the need for an incentive is stronger. A return to our human missions is of top importance.

It’s not enough that a job has been made available. The job in question needs to meet the candidate’s hierarchy of needs. Can it provide comfortable living? Can it fulfill a professional goal? Do the pros outweigh any potential cons? And in this sustained state of a pandemic, safety is also a top concern. This is where understanding your target candidate comes into play for 2022. These sentiments won’t go away anytime soon. So, knowing what matters most to your candidate can allow you to shape a strategy to help you attract, and retain, qualified candidates.

What Can You Do To Improve Candidate Engagement?
To build an effective hiring plan, it’s important to start listening. To better understand candidate behavior PandoLogic teamed up with Tracey Parsons, architect of the recruitment marketing and employer brand movement and owner of Parsons Strategic Consulting. In our study, we learned that today’s job seeker values transparency and authenticity. It’s time that Talent professionals lead with these values. Cultivating a personalized recruiting experience should be top of mind.

Offer any notable benefits and wages upfront. Your job titles and descriptions hold a lot more weight than you think. A strong job title can often include information like salary, sign-on bonuses, flexibility (think remote or hybrid), shift times, etc. Use that space to your advantage by highlighting what’s most important to your workforce. Our study revealed a 13% increase in jobs with salary information shortly after the end of unemployment benefits. That led to a 52% increase in conversions.

“[This proves that] when we listen to what the audience wants and deliver, they will convert at a better rate. The action of adding this information will save your recruiters and your candidates time by getting the cash conversation out of the way early,” said Parsons.

Thankfully, there are recruitment software tools on the market that can allow you to A/B test your job ads to ensure you’re always resonating with your audience.

Another way to create a more personalized experience is by incorporating AI chatbots into your hiring process. Tools like Wade & Wendy can offer powerful and customizable chatting functionalities that will engage your candidates and make them feel valued and respected. This is crucial. A candidate that feels supported from application to interview to onboarding is more likely to stay long term.

To stay competitive today, Talent professionals everywhere need to cultivate a culture of retention vs. churn and burn. Benefits or not, today’s job seeker understands their power and will use it. They will seek employers that have their best interests in mind and leave the rest behind.


How to minimize the impact of global crises on your employee and customer experience

Recent global crises have caused significant labor shortages – and the impact is leading businesses to reevaluate how to attract the right talent and protect their customer experiences from the fallout. Read our analysis and tips on balancing labor shortage with great CX.

As we move towards the 2021 holidays and the new year, ongoing labor shortages are becoming an ever-more glaring issue.

With a tighter labor market, companies emerging from the fallout of the pandemic are having to balance their economic growth with efforts to retain workers. More workers are considering whether their current or previous workplaces are right for them – and whether they want to return to such an environment.

Not only that, but consumer demands are higher than ever before. As our 2022 Global Consumer Trends report found, consumers want better treatment and their money’s worth – a hard goal to achieve when worker shortages are prevalent.

How can you minimize the impact of unforeseen global crises on your business while also providing customers with the experiences they desire?

Read our analysis of why labor shortages have come about, and our tips for encouraging the labor force while protecting your customer experience.

Free Download: Stay ahead of the curve with our 2022 Global Consumer Trends Report

Key labor statistics
It’s different from other US labor shortages
While labor shortages and an impact on economic growth aren’t a new problem, right now these issues coincide with a higher unemployment rate. In the US, from Q4 2019 the number of job openings rose 33%, but over 9 million people are unemployed. There’s a significant disconnect happening between employers and workers that’s driving lower labor force participation rates.

Workers are actively seeking new roles
Employees are radically reevaluating their current roles and the part they play in their daily lives. 20% of workers changed their job role during the COVID-19 pandemic. The labor market’s focus is changing, and businesses are struggling to keep up with staffing shortages.

Leisure and hospitality businesses were the most affected
Understandably given the in-person nature of the roles and the high risk of infection, the leisure and hospitality industry has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Around 1.7 million workers in this sector who lost their job since the end of 2019 have moved to a different sector or stopped work entirely, leaving a large skills gap in the labor market for manual services jobs.

Why is there a labor shortage?
The current global problem isn’t a new one. With working-age population growth stagnating and wage acceleration continuing to be slow, labor shortage was a problem long overdue.

However, right now there are several compounding issues exacerbating labor shortages, meaning a slow decline in the labor market has become a glaring issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic
The pandemic caused the loss of thousands of jobs and the closure of many companies, leading to 9.5 million people being classed as unemployed.

However, even though job openings grew over 2021 (with around 9.2 million open in August), trying to fill positions is tougher than ever.

But are these labor shortages due to health concerns? Or are they caused by the COVID-19 unemployment benefits offered on a federal level, as some states believe?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) polled 1,000 unemployed Americans for the reasons why they aren’t tempted by labor markets. They found that:

42% hadn’t received a response from jobs they’d applied to
32% were worried about being exposed to COVID-19
29% were being offered less pay than their previous role
17% were looking for a career shift
11% thought that expanded unemployment benefits gave them the ability to be choosier about jobs
9% were earning more through benefits than a new job would offer
Key Takeaway: The labor force is applying for jobs, but the roles available aren’t meeting their expectations – making this more of an engagement problem than a labor shortage problem. Engaged workers mean a better customer experience: 79% of companies with engaged employees have a significantly better customer experience than companies without.

Use experience management to ensure customers don’t feel the fallout of global crises.

The Great Resignation
Driven by the world-changing events of the past two years, employees have begun to reevaluate their priorities. What role does work play in their lives, and are they happy with the status quo? Can they find higher wages while also getting a better work-life balance?

Many, it seems, have found labor markets wanting. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 2021 alone 4 million Americans quit their jobs. The Great Resignation, as it’s being referred to, has spread across the globe as workers consider how they want to spend their time – and whether their jobs are really right for them.

Key Takeaway: Companies need to offer more than just a job to fill open positions – employees are taking a stand on what matters to them. Businesses that see their employees as just another number might find that they suffer more from labor shortages as the labor force goes elsewhere for better benefits.

Not only that, but customers care more about employee experience than ever. According to McKinsey, one-fourth of consumers think that a company’s treatment of its employees is a consideration factor when making a purchase.

The ongoing skills gap
Before the pandemic hit, employers were struggling to find candidates that had the skills they needed for their vacant roles – and that issue is still ongoing in this new labor market.

SHRM’s research found that 60% of businesses say they can’t find applicants with the right skillset – and on the other side, 30% of applicants say their skills aren’t matching the jobs on offer.

The global trend towards technological advancement was hastened by the abrupt need for remote work and safer working environments, making the skills gap wider. COVID-19 sped up the adoption of digital technologies by three to four years, changing everything from customer experience to supply chain to internal operations.

Businesses all across the board are looking to hire workers that can keep up – and are finding it hard to source them.

Key Takeaway: Brands should seek technology-skilled talent from the labor market – but also accept that investing in potential workers with training and development might be the best solution for finding the perfect candidate.

Training your staff doesn’t help you to just retain workers – it also helps you to provide a better customer experience. With more workers able to consistently learn and adapt to new company directions, your customers will also benefit.

An aging workforce
The pandemic accelerated issues that were already soon to happen – namely, the rising proportion of older workers.

The close nature of retirement for many workers affected by the pandemic may have been partially responsible for many workers leaving labor markets.

Rather than waiting for a few short years to retire, many took the opportunity early. In 2020, 20% of the population of the US was retired, a 5% increase from 2015. Unfortunately, it will only continue.

Key Takeaway: There are always external factors that will affect the labor market – and in many cases, attempting to streamline recruitment or better target candidates might not make a difference. Learning how to separate internal business issues from the customer experience is key for making sure your business thrives, even when there are difficulties.

How brands and nations are resolving their labor market problem
Reducing financial support
As mentioned previously, there are concerns that financial unemployment support is a factor in workers not returning to jobs. Half of US states are planning to end additional federal-funded benefits to try and inspire higher labor force participation and reduce the unemployment rate.

However, only three states’ unemployment benefits, when combined with federal unemployment benefits, were worth more than average wages. Reducing the unemployment rate might not correlate with reducing financial support.

Wage growth and offering new benefits
To tempt workers to fill urgent job openings, business leaders are offering wage increases. The average hourly wage for non-farm workers working for private companies rose $0.20 in April, $0.13 in May, and $0.10 in June 2021. Particularly in the restaurant industry, companies are having to offer more money and better benefits – such as an emergency child care program.

Reducing capacity
For some businesses, reducing capacity has been the only way to cope with worker retention difficulties and ongoing safety restrictions. For example, the restaurant industry has had to greatly reduce the services it offers, even though overall consumer spending at restaurants rose to $440 billion in the 12 months ending in August 2021.

Tips for supporting your labor force and protecting customer experience
Having considered the nature of these labor shortages, the actions businesses and states have taken and candidates’ reasoning for refusing roles, there appears to be a mismatch between brand and employee experience. The labor supply and the labor market are balanced – but the incentive to work isn’t enough to convince potential employees.

Problems that affect you – supply chain issues, corporate profits – aren’t the focus for potential workers. Their lives outside of work and their experiences in work are the deciding factor in what roles they choose to take. Encouraging the labor force and retaining employees will mean looking critically at your business from an outside perspective and changing your offering to match.

Here are our tips for avoiding the labor shortage – and for protecting customer experiences.

Offer competitive wages
Wage growth has been stagnant for decades, and with the current federal minimum wage lagging $5.13/hour behind inflation from 1968, wage acceleration is long overdue. Workers reevaluating their working lives have been given a stark view of this problem – and they’re looking to rectify it with any new role they may take.

Enable flexible working
Workers have now experienced flexible working arrangements – and they’re not keen to go back. Before the pandemic, people had to accept working conditions as they were as the alternative was unattainable – but after nearly two years of flexible arrangements, they’re not keen on going back to the old ways.

88% of workers whose main capital is knowledge are looking for flexibility in hours and location – and brands are going to have to be flexible themselves to find workers to suit their needs.

Evaluate work differently
Before the pandemic, work completed at home was perceived as less valuable. In the new world of working, evaluating employees needs to be different.

According to Citrix, 86% of workers are looking to find roles with companies that prioritize outcomes over output. Rather than seeing 40 hours of work as the goal, companies need to see work quality as the measure of a job well done.

Finding workers for hard-to-fill positions might be easier with a better approach to the value of work – and making this view clear during the recruitment process.

Take the pulse on employee experience
Listening to your employees doesn’t have to be intrusive. Taking the pulse on workers’ experience can be mutually beneficial – and give you insights into your employee engagement that can stave off labor shortage issues down the line.

You can see not only how your current workers feel about your business, but understand how future employees will see you. How do your workers feel about employee referral programs? What do they want from their jobs? What are the needs of new hires and what actions have you taken that ensure your current workers are likely to stay?

An employee experience program is vital for making sure disruption stays at a minimum during times of crisis. The past two years have offered you the unique opportunity to improve employee experience – so don’t miss out on attracting workers over your competitors.

Focus on the quality of customer experience, not the quantity of interactions
Cultivating connections that are meaningful between your brand and your customers is the best way to mitigate fallout from issues in finding workers. Rather than raise prices and reduce services when workers are scarce and labor costs are high, focus on providing competitive experiences that will have your customers coming back and bringing others to your brand.

Using best practices for customer experience is just the starting point. Having a sophisticated approach to customer interactions that can adapt as your business capacity and capability change is key for ensuring your CX doesn’t suffer when staffing shortages become a problem.


The Person in Front of You Isn’t Headed Where You’re Going

The stories my son Grey finds the most entertaining are those about my father’s legendary lack of direction. He loves hearing how Grandpa would regularly get lost coming home from work, a place we drive to every single day. My father would nearly always end up about seven miles from our house at a restaurant called the “Giant Artichoke.” They sold only deep-fried fresh artichoke hearts. (The 1970s were kind of awesome.) But Grey’s favorite stories are about Grandpa driving around with the whole family.

We would be driving for a long time to a place that didn’t take a long time to get to. When one of us came to the realization that we were once again astray, we’d ask our intrepid drive if he knew where he was going. His most common response? “I’m just following the guy in front of me, he knows where he’s going.” It may sound like a joke, but my dad regularly drove hours out of his way based solely on this “the other guy knows” philosophy.

I direct my team to perform “blind” market pricings whenever possible. Blind pricing is matching a role and pricing it based on all the available details except what the person is currently being paid. This ensures the pricing used is not biased by the current compensation being paid. In my experience, too many compensation professionals choose, weight, or adjust data to align with what an incumbent is already being paid, or what a recruiter has said it will take to fill the position. Like my dad, this assumes the person in front of you knows where YOU are going.

I recently had someone new on my team price some jobs and the data came in a bit lower than the current staff for several positions. When I did an initial review with the client, they were shocked. They were a startup and had been intentionally paying people below market as they waited for funding to come in. We went back to the data and found that Level 1 and 2 positions were similar in price, but the jump to Level 3 was more than 40%! It turns out the Level 3 data and above matched several other surveys, but the Level 1 and 2 data matched the company’s current pay. In this case, the current pay was wrong. We releveled the data, and everything made more sense.

When I dig into analyses done by others, I often see adjustments being made to “bring the market in line with expectations.” Data is data, it is not information. Data is numbers, it is not a rulebook. Do your job analysis. Be confident in the role details. Price to the role, not the current pay levels. Then, evaluate where things stand and what to do. If you are paying below market, but can’t afford more, then just be cognizant of the opportunity that provides competitors. If you are paying above market, but the person is doing a great job, just make sure they know they are being paid well and fix things slowly over the long run. Please stop selecting and modifying data to match your past pay decisions. Just let the market data tell its story and use your own intelligence to decide what to do with that data.


Ten Things to Do Before Resigning

The number of people quitting their jobs reached a record high of 4.4 million in September 2021. Dubbed the Great Resignation, this mass exodus of workers from their positions is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to some experts.

“Everybody put their career plans on hold for the better part of a year of two,” says Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO, a company providing human resources outsourcing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses.

Now that many companies are returning to pre-pandemic operations, workers may feel this is the time to pursue new opportunities. What’s more, after working remotely for more than a year, many people are looking for greater flexibility going forward.

“The pandemic has made people take stock and decide: Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?” says Greg Selker, managing director and North American technology practice leader for executive search firm Stanton Chase.

However, before you decide to say goodbye to your current job, be sure to do these things first:

Understand why you want to resign.

“Before quitting, it’s worth reflecting on the reasons driving that decision,” says Kim Fulton, employee experience principal with global management consulting firm Kearney.

If you want to pursue a different line of work, changing jobs may be the only way to do that. However, if you are largely satisfied with your current job but would like more flexibility or higher compensation, that may be possible without switching employers.

Talk to Your Current Employer
Once you know why you want to leave, talk to your boss about your reasons. You don’t necessarily have to say you’re thinking about quitting to sit down and discuss whether there may be opportunities for remote work, higher compensation or a promotion at your current organization.

“Employers are really flexible right now because they want to retain their talent,” says Meredith Graham, chief people officer at Ensono, which provides managed services and solutions for businesses.

Have a Career Path in Mind
If you decide it’s in your best interest to change jobs, keep the big picture in mind as you plot your next move.

“It’s not enough to have another job lined up,” says Brandon Ashton, director of retirement security at Cornerstone Financial Services in Southfield, Michigan. “I think (workers) should have a career plan.”

That means thinking not just about your next job but also the ones that may come after that. As you begin your employment search, keep an eye on how a new job will move you in the direction of meeting your larger career goals.

Build Up Your Savings
Demand for employees is strong right now, but if you resign without another job lined up, don’t assume you’ll immediately be able to find a new position. “Realistically, it’ll be a few months, not a few weeks,” Ashton says.

Even if you have a new job lined up before resigning, there could be a gap before paychecks start arriving. Either way, make sure you have enough money in savings to cover a few months of expenses if needed.

Evaluate Compensation and Benefits
Before resigning, compare both your current compensation and benefits to what is being offered by other employers.

It’s a mistake to make employment decisions based on income alone, Graham says. There are many value-added benefits – from health care to retirement fund contributions – that could make it more beneficial to stay in a current position rather than seek out a new one.

Consider Company Culture
Company culture should also factor into a decision to resign. “The experience we have at work goes so far beyond the compensation,” Fulton says.

For instance, some businesses are built on the ideal of collaborative work while others may focus on empowering employees to pursue individual projects. Flexibility, communication and ownership are other examples of principles that may be promoted in the workplace.

Finding an employer with a company culture that aligns with your values can be key to job satisfaction. If your current company’s culture is already a good match for you, that may be reason enough to reconsider resigning.
Some employers will pay workers for unused personal time or sick days when they leave a job. However, these policies may have caps on how much is paid, and not every firm offers this perk.

If you have paid time off accrued, be sure to use it up before resigning, Ashton suggests. There is no reason to leave money behind when quitting a job.

Find a New Job
It’s always best to have another job lined up before quitting. “Don’t resign and then begin your job search,” Selker says. “Resign when you have an offer in hand.”

Having a job offer lined up also gives you one last chance to do a final comparison between firms to determine which will be the best fit for you, your career and your life goals. Again, look beyond compensation and consider factors such as flexibility, benefits and company culture.

Give Appropriate Notice
Once you’ve decided it’s time to resign, end your employment on a high note by providing verbal and written notice to your direct manager at least two weeks in advance of your anticipated end date.

“There’s nothing an employer hates more than a letter of resignation that says I’m leaving tomorrow,” Starkman says. While you may think you have nothing to lose by simply walking out the door, Starkman reminds people, “Your reputation is irreplaceable, (and) everybody talks.”

You don’t want a negative departure from a company to affect your ability to get a job or reference in the future.

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How to Foster an Ownership Culture Within Your Company – By Chelsey Beale, Fortuna Advisors

Nobody arbitrarily hands out a promotion. We strategically observe and guide our staff, while assessing behaviors and attributes that show someone is a candidate for advancement. If you want to show others what it takes to succeed in an upward role, start by empowering them to act like they have a stake in the company’s growth. It begins by encouraging them to have an ownership mentality and showing them how to model owner-like behaviors day in and day out.

I have been supporting organizational development for over 20 years and no two company cultures are alike. In my experience, companies that foster a true ownership culture enable each employee to proactively take actions to improve the customer experience, increase organizational differentiation, and discover competitive advantages that will deliver better results for the company. When every employee is motivated to act like an owner, they take more pride in their work and they are more emotionally committed to their jobs. They value opportunities to prove themselves, they drive forward progress and they are more confident in their business decisions.

Marwaan Karame, one of our Partners at Fortuna, often cites 5 traits we observe within an ownership culture. Although these characteristics typically flourish in a governance system with the right measure of performance, processes and incentives, every individual can independently take steps to embody these attributes, whether you’re an employee, a boss, or both. Adopting these qualities can greatly advance your career and the career of others. Consider which of these are within your and your employees’ reach, and which you should advocate for on your company’s behalf.

First, because an ownership mindset means adding value to the organization, spend company money like it’s yours. Be disciplined and purposeful with your business expenditures and save money where it makes sense. For example, be frugal with supplies and make modest travel arrangements for business trips. Don’t order something on a menu that you wouldn’t order for yourself otherwise. Instead of spending money just because it’s in your budget, think like an owner and use extra funds to find creative ways to generate value for your company.

The second important ownership trait is knowing where to direct your attention and resources to get the most value, which we call extreme prioritization. Statistically, 80% of a company’s success comes from 20% of its activities, so owners should be hyper-focused on that 20%. Show off your ownership attitude by practicing extreme prioritization in your own sphere of influence. Devote your resources to investments that are profitable and pass on the ones that aren’t. Getting caught up a lot of mediocre projects distracts you from the bigger ones that deserve resources and attention. Be selective to maximize impact.

Being an owner also involves making tough decisions and taking risks that don’t always work out in your favor. Yet, a successful leader knows you have to be willing to fail in order to grow.

An even better leader creates an environment where everyone is comfortable taking risks. Eagerness to experiment and accept failure should be encouraged to fuel long-term value creation and nurture independence. Be bold! Offer new ideas but also be willing to admit defeat, when it comes, then course correct, and keep pushing.

Fourth, nobody wants to be responsible for making a hasty judgment, especially an owner. But failing to act on an opportunity gives you a 100% chance of accomplishing nothing. You will never have all of the information you need to make the perfect decisions, but owners and leaders learn to act on what is available. More doing and less talking is the solution to crippling inertia that results from “analysis paralysis.” Consider the pros and cons and do your homework but be decisive and drive results. In today’s rapidly changing environment, you don’t have time to overthink every detail, so be confident in your decision process and own it.

Lastly, by proactively developing new capabilities, you show that you are in it for the long haul, committed to your organization, and actively seeking opportunities to grow. Success is all about long- and short-term wins, and your decisions are guided by your vision for the future of your company. Seek opportunities to invest in your colleagues and focus on 3- and 5-year goals instead of only quarterly numbers.

Not every company instills an ownership culture among its ranks. Yet there are ways to evolve to embrace and support this type of change. It can start with you. Act like an owner, and let others, including your supervisor, know what you’re doing and why. Transformations can happen when everyone is focused on the common goal of adding value to the company.


Pandemic drove changes in shape of workforce, not unemployment

The pandemic has led to major shifts in labour market participation – rather than mass unemployment as feared – according to the Resolution Foundation think tank.

There has been increased employment among younger women, but older workers and many men have been pushed out of the labour market altogether, it found.

Its Begin Again report with the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics points out that unemployment is only 0.3 percentage points higher than it was at the start of the pandemic.

Instead, the number of people who are economically inactive – who are not working or looking for work – has increased by 586,000 since the start of the crisis. This is far higher than the number of migrant workers who have left the UK workforce over the same period, it reports.

Among 55 to 64-year-olds, workforce participation has fallen by 1.2 percentage points since mid-2019, a sharper drop than in any other recession in the past 40 years.

Labour market
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HR roles survey: Response to the coronavirus pandemic and priorities for 2021

Participation among men between 25 and 34 has fallen by 1.6 percentage points in the past two years.

By contrast, women’s participation in the labour force has increased by 0.4%, and women now make up 48% of the workforce compared to 44% in 1992.

The Resolution Foundation also estimates that around 500,000 women have moved from part-time to full-time work since the pandemic began. Participation among women with young children has increased by 5.4 percentage points.

The think-tank attributes these shifts in labour market activity to two key reasons: second earners increasing hours to offset their partner’s loss of earnings (due to furlough or redundancy) and the increase in remote working enabling more women to enter work or increase their hours.

It predicts that remote and hybrid working will fuel wider, longer-lasting changes in the coming years. However, this could cause disruption for lower earners, who are less likely to be able to access this type of work.

Economist Hannah Slaughter said “unprecedented policy action” had prevented the mass unemployment many feared when the pandemic began.
“The pandemic has seen older workers withdraw from the labour market – and while anxieties about high levels of Covid-19 may understandably put some off from working today, the danger is they find themselves in early retirement tomorrow,” she said.

“While younger men have also exited the labour market, more of their female counterparts have joined the workforce. Mothers in particular have increased their hours for a number of reasons, from the need to offset their partner’s loss of earnings, to new opportunities created by remote working.

“We need to bank the benefits of more flexible working patterns in post-pandemic Britain, and avoid the risk of remote workers being turned into second class staff, as we have done with so many part-time workers.”


How the Candidate Experience Is Your Competitive Advantage

Over the past year, employers have been plagued with frenetic hiring and employees quitting. Recruiters are getting stressed out since recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies are all over the place. As a result, candidate resentment is continuing to grow. Talent Board Candidate Experience research shows that sustaining a quality candidate experience is difficult for companies big or small. Despite the changes in this post-pandemic world, the building blocks of a quality recruiting process and candidate experience remain unchanged. Ensuring the delivery of consistent communication and feedback loops are critical in today’s competitive landscape.

We control the candidate experience dials through the technologies we use, the processes we run, the timeliness of the communications we send to candidates, and the recruiter requisition load. We see how improving these aspects positively impacts brand affinity, referrals, and the business bottom line every year. This shows that the candidate experience is your competitive advantage.

During this informative webinar, Talent Board and the Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards President, Kevin Grossman, will share insights from their candidate experience benchmark research and teach you how:

Employers can improve all communication and feedback loops throughout the recruiting and hiring process
HR and recruiting technologies are empowering employers to provide better candidate and employee experiences
Candidates will take their brand alliance, product purchases, and relationships elsewhere when they have poor experiences – and how they’ll increase it when it’s great

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