The workforce of today is vastly different to that of ten, five or even three years ago. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic and the widescale transition to a hybrid working model has had an impact, but the evolution started long before 2020.
It’s difficult to exactly pinpoint when things started to change but they have, and there’s no going back. Workers not only want, but indeed now expect more from their employer to ensure a good work/life balance not to mention a great employee experience backed by flexible work practices, a greater emphasis on wellbeing and continuous learning and development.
Employee expectations together with the well-documented issues of recruitment and retention can present huge challenges for employers. To hold on to their best and brightest, employers are getting more and more creative and taking a more holistic approach to hiring and keeping staff. It is those that take a long-term, strategic approach that are more likely to succeed. Bigger basic salaries are no longer enough and short-term, reactive measures are generally less effective. A wise person once said - Better to invest in the employee now than to chase after them with a pay rise and perks when they hand in their notice. You get the point!
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
This is an emerging area where companies need to invest their focus and is important if a company wants to future-proof its operations. The adoption of ESG policies has begun to evolve in earnest in many sectors such as financial services, supply chain, retail and manufacturing.
Consequently, the types of jobs that are on offer in this area are proliferating as ESG becomes a key area of focus around the boardroom table. But it’s not just the variety of jobs that are changing – employee sentiment is also changing. Research suggests that talent, particularly Gen Z talent, is more attracted to companies who score high in ESG, feeding their desire to make a difference through their work.
At Matrix we have seen how companies are responding to today’s evolving workforce of ethically focused, digital natives, and concentrating on more than just salary to stay competitive. With the talent gap expanding and resourcing likely to remain a challenge throughout 2023, this has become a business imperative.
Remote & Hybrid Working
Remote working was placed in the spotlight during COVID-19, although this model of work and the demand for this type of employment is by no means revolutionary. The emergence of digital technologies, online platforms and ‘talent economy’ has had a major impact in opening alternative work practices to employees.
In recent years, the demand for talent has allowed workers greater autonomy over when, where, and how they conduct their work. For the modern-day worker, flexibility and adaptability take precedence over permanency, structured environments, and standardised roles. The war for critical talent within the ‘traditional’ labour market has led to employers redesigning or adapting their recruitment and working models to suit today’s candidates.
At Matrix Recruitment, the number advertised hybrid or remote working roles grew by 34% in 2022 and we expect this trend to continue into 2023 and beyond.
Just before the pandemic hit in March 2020, the Irish government launched a consultation seeking the public’s views on flexible working as part of a government plan to prepare businesses and workers for the future. During the pandemic, it became very evident that the need for robust legislation on flexible working was critical to protect both employees and employers. This led to the formation of the Work Life Balance Bill.
This legislation, which is currently making its way through the Oireachtas and expected to be signed into law by January 2023, will allow all employees the right to request remote working. The bill also allows for parents of children under 12 and carers to apply for all forms of flexible work including remote working, compressed working hours, split shifts and flexible start and finish times.
This legislation will also allow workers to take a case against an employer if they feel their request to work from home is not treated fairly, and if the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) deems the case credible, employers will have to pay compensation. In this regard our advice for employers is simple - if you’ve yet to review your workplace policies on remote and hybrid working – now is the time to do so!
The Great Re-Evaluation
The term ‘the great resignation’ came to the fore in 2021 with worrying predictions that employees would quit their jobs at historic rates. In saying that, we have seen turnover rates broadly remain at pre-pandemic levels. Rather than a great resignation, many employees are re-evaluating what they want from work, taking advantage of a positive shift in their labour market power and making different decisions, contributing to the skills shortages identified.
In April, we published the 2022 Matrix Recruitment Dream Job Survey which looked at a range of career-related topics and shifting attitudes towards work. The survey found that more than half of Ireland’s workforce (55%) has fallen out of love with their job. Among the key reasons for a career re-evaluation were:
•Feeling stuck in a rut and in need of a change (48%)
•Not being paid enough (37%)
•Wanting a job that allows more flexibility (32%)
With salary transparency coming to the fore, particularly following legislation that requires all companies with 250+ employees to provide an annual comparative report on pay information between female and male workers, there is even greater potential for employees to revaluate their loyalty to a company should any disparities between genders arise. In fact, our 2022 Matrix Recruitment Workplace Equality survey found that one in four workers would actively look for another job if they discovered that a colleague of the opposite sex, with similar years of service, was being paid more than them for the same work.
Many of the post-pandemic workplace changes are tangible and obvious, but there are many unseen ones such as organisational culture, collaboration, teamwork and the social aspect of work that are ‘hidden’ but that are the cornerstone of every successful company.
And so the big questions remain: how will the ‘new’ workplace impact organisational culture and how can businesses adapt or even reinvent their cultures for today’s workforce.
Organisational culture isn’t something that should be enforced; it is more about conversations and conversions – bringing the employee onboard with a company’s beliefs, ethos and culture, and making them feel a part of it.
A working environment with a strong organisational culture is driven by purpose. This helps motivate employees to be more engaged with both the company and with colleagues. A strong and clearly articulated organisational culture will lead to employees feeling valued and respected – regardless of physical location. Happy employees means less attrition and greater productivity, both of which will contribute to the success of a company.
Business leaders should know that organisational culture does not come down to physical location or proximity. It’s more about developing a culture of care, an attitude of appreciation and a show of support with continuous communication – these are the pillars that will earn the company respect and engagement while creating an exemplar in organisational culture.
If you are planning to hire in 2023 get in touch with us for a confidential and professional discussion. You can also send us your vacancy directly below and a member of our team will be in touch. We are your 2023 recruitment partner.