Leaders Must Prepare for both Retention and Rehiring for a Shifting Workforce

You only need to look as far as your LinkedIn network to see the workforce is fundamentally shifting. People are leaving their jobs to start new ones and choosing work as consultants, freelancers and in flexible, remote roles over full-time office roles. Companies are now in a position where they must decide, and quickly, how to respond and prepare for the future of work. 

According to a recent report by TechRepublic, the number of people considering a job change range from 26% to 40%. The Microsoft Work Trend Index found that “40% of people want to change jobs this year.” A separate survey of workers in the U.K. and Ireland found 38%, and a “similar U.S. survey found 26% of workers are planning to leave their current job” in the next few months. Staffing provider, Yoh, has that number at 70% of U.S. adults

Why are people leaving?

Some of this is because companies are mandating return-to-work in the office. Either because of safety concerns or the desire (or need) to remain remote and flexible, people are leaving in search of companies that can provide it. In fact, Forrester's data shows that 53% of employees want to work from home post-pandemic. 

Another reason is the pandemic gave people a chance to think about what they want from their work and their lives. "People with means are able to rethink their entire work/life paradigm," J.P. Gownder, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, told TechRepublic. "Some will even want to work in so-called Zoom towns, fully remote in a more rural area, permanently." 

Others have been forced to shift the way they live and work due to childcare and caregiving responsibilities, industry-related reskilling, health concerns, and expectations for great engagement, flexibility, and career pathing. 

What can companies do?

It’s hard to know what to do to retain and engage your workforce if you don’t know who is working for you. Changing benefits, adopting new processes, scaling culture to meet the needs of a remote workforce, providing career pathing -- none of this can be done without a single system of record to provide visibility. The rapid increase of the extended workforce now includes gig workers, independent contractors, freelancers, and project-based workers, means companies must be ready to attract, hire, curate, and report on their entire workforce -- not just their full-time employee base. 

Adopting a next-generation solution to manage the entire extended workforce -- be it remote, onsite, hybrid, and full-time, contingent, or outsourced -- is crucial. Future-centric, purpose-built technology that can leverage globalization, predictive analytics, and offer insights into their workforce will enable them to take advantage of the shifts happening and make data driven decisions. 

Companies that invested in a traditional VMS to manage workers from staffing suppliers realize now this isn’t a robust enough solution to address these new categories of workers. They also can’t provide a talent-centric approach to engaging and managing their entire workforce. This is becoming critical to attract, engage and retain workers. Finally, they can’t offer the total workforce visibility that’s needed to make strategic workforce planning decisions across the entire enterprise. 

Employers are also being creative in retaining top talent. According to the Wall Street Journal, at Schneider Electric North America, 65% of their workers identified as high potential were given promotions or new opportunities within the company in 2020. “We’re all on our toes,” said Mai Lan Nguyen, the industrial company’s senior vice president for human resources. “The best talent out there have many options.”

Without one system of record to provide visibility into their entire workforce’s roles, rates/salary, and open roles, HR and procurement leaders don’t have a strategic, scalable way to respond to the shifting workforce or strategically plan their future. They also don’t have a scalable way to offer benefits, career pathing, performance management, or training. 

In conclusion

This movement many are calling the “great resignation” will open the doors for other companies to take advantage of a new wave of talent. As companies prepare, partnering with providers that will enable them to scale, be agile, more efficient, and gain insights into how and where their workforce wants to work is crucial. 

"The pandemic has taught us that organizations play a bigger role in employee wellness than previously understood," said Keith Johnston, VP and group research director at Forrester. "It also reveals how the future of work will be driven by employees having the ability to work anywhere. By shifting conversations to focus on the working environments that best suit employees' needs moving forward, organizations can ensure that their employees feel they are being heard and that they have the autonomy and tools to do their jobs effectively."

The historical shift happening is an exciting time for forward-thinking, worker-centric organizations. It is also the perfect opportunity for HR and procurement leaders to step up and provide their business leaders with solutions that enable this change. 

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