Workforces in America are changing. While advancing technology highlighted the potential for remote work across industries, the pandemic acted as a launching pad for change. With over 38 million workers leaving their jobs in 2021, The Great Resignation is still a term on the minds of all employers.
However, the unemployment rate is at a reasonable 4.2% (and falling), making the term an inaccurate description of the movement taking place. American workers aren't simply leaving the workforce; they're transitioning. From Gen Z to Boomers, workers are transitioning to new employment at a higher rate with the younger generation leading the way.
- Gen Z job transitions have increased 80%
- Millennial transitions are up 50%
- Gen X job transitions are up 31%
- Boomer transitions have increased 5%.
Navigating these transitions has made effective workforce management pivotal now more than ever.
A Look to the Future
These transitions have employers studying the workforce and creating new goals for recruiting and retaining employees. When the pandemic forced widespread restrictions in early 2020, both workers and employers were thrown into a new world of remote work.
As the pandemic dragged on, people began to adjust. Still, it's clear that company leaders and employers fail to see the same picture of work in the future. Seventy-one percent of senior managers plan to require their employees to return to on-site work full time when pandemic restrictions lift completely, but 34% of employees working at home due to the pandemic will look for a new job if forced to be in the office five days a week.
As new strains of the virus continue to emerge, it's unclear if restrictions will continue in 2022. However, many companies are beginning to realize that different workforce types are here to stay.
Some of the nation's biggest firms, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, and Microsoft, have announced plans to combine office and remote workdays to provide employees with more flexibility. Companies hoping to recruit candidates in this competitive job market will need to compare the advantages and disadvantages to the three major workforce types.
Our workforce management guide addresses how the main points of business are affected by the different work environments.
As the traditional model for many companies in the past, a 100% in-office workforce feels comfortable for many employers. Daily and weekly schedules are predictable. Workers are accessible on company devices and through face-to-face visits.
However, it's clear that employees are seeking new options, and many employees have become comfortable with remote work. A 100% in-office workforce may have both positive and negative impacts on major business interactions.
For the most part, communication is improved with a complete in-office workforce. Whether your company prefers meetings, in-office communication methods like email or messaging software, or casual conversation, communication between coworkers and management is improved when all team members are at the same physical location.
As a surprise for most businesses, it seems that being in the office negatively impacts innovation. Data shows the efficiency and productivity enabled by remote workplace innovations that launched rapidly over the pandemic.
In fact, workers across all levels productively worked from home to deliver services at the same or, in many cases, higher levels than before. However, another study suggests otherwise, with only 40% of executives reporting an innovation increase as compared to 56% the year before.
It's possible there's an adjustment gap for innovation methods in remote workspaces, leaving innovation a question mark for now.
The physical location of a workplace comes with pros and cons. Unfortunately, these can vary from one employee to the next, making it difficult to determine how your workforce as a whole is affected.
Consider how these features of your physical location are most likely to affect a 100% in-office workforce management at your organization:
- Commute time
- Distractions in an office atmosphere
- Face-to-face meetings
- Designated professional workspaces
- In-person collaboration
As companies across all industries are seeing employees quit in record numbers, recruitment is a big concern.
In a survey, 76% of workers say they want their company to make work permanently flexible in terms of schedule and/or location. This could make recruitment a challenge for companies committed to a 100% in-office workforce.
When completed properly, onboarding gives new hires the opportunity to get to know coworkers and experience being part of a team. Effective onboarding should offer insight into the company culture, help new hires contribute to the team, and give new employees a feeling of commitment to the organization.
A 100% in-office workforce can contribute heavily to a high-quality onboarding experience that helps retain new hires.
Many employers and workers think the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to retention for a 100% in-office option.
Companies determined to stick with a traditional workforce might be forced to offer other incentives/benefits that employees seek, including:
- Financial planning
- Onsite fitness center
- Backup childcare
- Tuition reimbursement
Effect on Company Programs
Company programs are typically designed to run within a single facility. The ability to maintain a 100% in-office workforce means certain programs like DEI, compensation, rewards, and employee structure and promotions would remain seamlessly on track.
However, it might be necessary for employers to overhaul such programs if they're not up-to-date with the ideals of post-pandemic employees.
While over half of American workers would like to split their time between work and home, 37% of employees want to work from home exclusively.
For employees who prefer a home office and maintain productive working levels, the benefits may include eliminating a commute, a flexible schedule, and lower working costs. However, the idea of a 100% remote workforce management is likely to leave businesses wondering about major impacts on the most crucial points of business interaction.
This is likely the biggest hurdle for offices that choose to go fully remote. A Microsoft study recognized that while productivity and concentration improved, communication suffered during remote work.
By communicating through emails and instant messages instead of face-to-face meetings or other synchronous communication, it becomes difficult for workers to convey and understand the meaning of complex information.
Ninety-four percent of employers reported that their productivity was the same or higher when many employees were working remotely. However, this positivity doesn't relate directly to innovation.
Without improved communication, collaboration suffers, leading to diminished innovation. It will likely take a longer trial to determine the effects of 100% remote work on innovation.
Remote work provides employees with a variety of choices when it comes to where they choose to work. While working at home can be distracting in some households, employees have choices of when and where to work.
Employers also have the opportunity to cut costs without the need for company headquarters or on-site equipment.
Hiring remote workers has both pros and cons. Without geographical borders, companies have a larger candidate pool and can increase diversity among teams.
Yet, the absence of geographical borders raises questions about equal pay. Location-based salaries offer workers different pay and compensation packages based on where they live.
Remote Work Checklist: See how your company scores
It's possible that new hires will experience feelings of isolation in a 100% remote workforce.
On-site onboarding processes work to introduce new hires to their peers and immerse them in the company culture. Without these efforts, new employees experience 34% less peer recognition and are 20% less likely to connect with company values.
A FlexJobs survey found that 79% of respondents would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
Additional statistics show that remote work increases productivity reduces stress, and saves workers money. This increased job satisfaction can lead to increased retention as well.
Effect on Company Programs
Company programs like compensation and reward packages are typically related to on-site benefits. This can mean remote workforce management could make the programs irrelevant.
Employers with a 100% remote workforce will need to consider how to change compensation packages to reflect incentives that relate to the needs of remote workers. Conversely, in some areas, DEI programs may be improved without the restrictions of geographical borders.
A working environment where some days are spent in the office and some workdays are remote is the solution that more than half of employees want. This arrangement could potentially offer workers and employers the best of both worlds.
When employers utilize on-site time in ways that address communication and collaboration issues, businesses may be more likely to recognize benefits that improve the lives of their employees.
While a hybrid workforce is likely to see improved communication as compared to a completely remote workforce, 22% of employers report difficulty communicating effectively with team members.
Remote work makes it impossible to realize the same communication benefits as a 100% on-site workforce. However, by seeking synchronous communication methods like phone calls and video meetings, businesses may be able to overcome these issues.
Communication is necessary for collaboration. While a hybrid workforce limits communication in some ways, increased productivity and concentration have the potential to counter those issues.
Since hybrid models offer some in-office days, employers and managers will be tasked with utilizing this time to improve innovation efforts.
For organizations that embrace the hybrid workforce management model, locations may downsize or change dramatically. It's likely that in-office days for hybrid workers will be designed for collaboration and interaction which could change the physical environment of the workplace.
Furthermore, with the expectation for employees to spend as much time working remotely as in the office, considerably less workspace will be needed. This means organizations will have to adopt a procedure to control office occupancy.
While hybrid workforces don't have the same geographical freedom as completely remote models, recruitment efforts can be improved in other ways. Since the majority of employers are seeking hybrid work opportunities, recruiters can advertise this as a desired benefit.
New hires in hybrid work environments don't have the same opportunities for a thorough onboarding process as 100% in-office teams. However, on-site days can provide new hires with time to get to know their coworkers and participate in the company culture.
As the most preferred option by employees, hybrid workplaces are the most likely to experience increased retention as long as working conditions remain favorable.
However, employers might need to increase their engagement efforts through company programs that increase communications between coworkers.
Effect on Company Programs
For a company offering a hybrid workforce, compensation programs and DEI programs could realize a perfect meet-in-the-middle option.
Flexible scheduling makes long commutes less of a burden, allowing employers to reach a larger and potentially more diverse candidate pool. Compensation programs can capitalize on flexible scheduling and in-office perks to provide more incentives than either 100% option.
Partner With Crosschq
For many businesses, it's still too early to determine what the final results of new workforces will be. However, it's clear that employees are seeking new opportunities. No matter how you change your workforce management, your recruitment efforts will need to reflect these changes. Reimagined reference checking and robust talent analytics from Crosschq can help you prepare your company to navigate today's changing workforce needs. Schedule a demo with us today.
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