I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open to see what’s happening in the world of work all around us to understand how it impacts multifamily’s little corner of the business world. Here are seven workplace trends I’m noticing. All have to do with hiring and retaining employees, which are the biggest challenges businesses are facing right now. When it comes down to it, what I’m seeing all adds up to the need for employers to develop a compelling employee value proposition to entice employees to stay or attract new recruits to your company. Let’s look at some of the factors that contribute to that compelling value proposition, as well as some employee behaviors.
There are abundant employment opportunities out there and team members are in high demand, so many employees are making the move to greener pastures. According to Harvard Business Review, millennials are most at risk for quitting. Resignation rates for employees between the ages of 30-45 increased 20 percent between 2020 and 2021 – more than for any other age group.
Lesson to leaders: These days, it’s safe to consider all team members are at high risk of quitting but pay special attention to your millennials who are most likely to head for the exit.
As of Q3 2021, wages and salaries are up 4.2% year-over-year according to US Department of Labor. Wages have been growing the fastest in low-paying service sector jobs. The number of job postings on sites like Zip Recruiter that advertise pay at $15 per hour has more than doubled since 2019.
However, inflation is also up by 7%. Wage increases minus inflation have been negative for nine straight months, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, while compensation packages have gotten more generous, it may not actually feel that way to employees.
Lesson to leaders: Expect payroll costs to continue to escalate as you work to retain and recruit. It will likely take more than the usual “cost of living increase” to satisfy your tenured employees.
In many organizations, compensation is a closely held secret – and team members may be disciplined or even fired for talking about how much they are paid. That may soon become a thing of the past. In some parts of the country, salary transparency is already the law. Colorado, for example, requires employers to include salary ranges in their job postings. Starting in April 2022, employers advertising jobs in New York City will be required to include the salary range for the position. Similar laws may very well be coming to your city/state soon—and if you’re hiring for remote positions, these laws may apply to your opening no matter where your company is headquartered.
What’s driving the trend? It’s really about equity. Salary transparency is an effort to promote wage equity for groups who have historically received lower compensation.
Lesson to leaders: It makes good business sense to prepare for new wage transparency laws—which are likely coming eventually—by reviewing the salary ranges of existing positions and determining whether to make any changes to those ranges to attract new candidates or retain current employees. Bonus: salary transparency may be a positive recruitment and retention tool.
In the first year of the pandemic, employers mostly went into a defensive stance. With so much uncertainty about what the future might hold, promotions declined 7.4% in 2020, according to LinkedIn. However, they rebounded beautifully in 2021 with a 9% jump. I think this trend will continue as the labor shortage is causing employers to reconsider the treasures they have on their teams already. That’s good news for employees looking to grow both their responsibilities and their earning power.
Lesson to leaders: Work with your existing team members on their goals and desires for their future career path. Socialize openings internally, and help associates see a bright future within your organization.
The term boomerang refers to an employee who has left the organization and later returns. Encouraging boomerangs is becoming more mainstream, and it’s a trend I really love. The old-school way of thinking has been that when an employee makes the decision to leave a position, in many teams they are viewed as a traitor—and their remaining time on the job can be extremely uncomfortable. This approach may be commonplace but it’s short-sighted, especially in today’s hyper-competitive labor market.
A much better business decision is to foster good relationships with these individuals so that they might boomerang back to your organization. When you choose to celebrate their contributions to your company and their career growth, you plant the seeds for their future return. Consider them “alumni” and stay in touch with them even after they move on. You never know when an opportunity may arise that would be well-suited for them, and with their existing knowledge of your company, what an excellent job candidate they would be.
Lesson to leaders: Overhaul your offboarding protocols (and attitudes) to encourage former employees to boomerang back to your organization.
According to widespread research, employees and job candidates desire increased flexibility more than any other benefits employers may offer. The disruptions of the last two years have proven that working from home some or all of the time is possible for many jobs, and employees who have experienced that are reluctant to give it up. Flexibility, however, is not limited to a full-time work from home experience. It can include the occasional ability to work from home. It can mean a flexible schedule, including non-standard work hours to eliminate painful drive-time traffic, for example, or make it easier for employees to pick up their kids from school or take care of aging parents. The pandemic experience has highlighted how important it is for employees to be able to take care of their lives outside of work.
Lesson to leaders: Consider creative solutions to accommodate employees’ desire for flexibility and watch their loyalty to the organization soar.
Speaking of flexibility, the four-day work week is getting a lot of buzz. There is a growing number of employees who are interested in reclaiming more time for themselves—and many employers are open to accommodating that. In this labor market, employees really are in the drivers’ seat and savvy employers are responsive. Figuring out how to make a four-day work week work for your company could really be a game-changer in terms of recruiting and retaining team members. Says author and Wharton professor Adam Grant, “Every workplace has a gravitational field. Leaders who take the 4-day work week seriously will draw stars into their orbit.”
Lesson to leaders: A four-day work week may have seemed unrealistic and unlikely in the past, but now is the time to reconsider any policies and procedures that get in the way of employee retention and recruitment.
I hope examining these workplace trends can help you improve the employee experience at your own company, and ultimately help to stabilize your staff. Here is the most important question to keep in mind: is the value proposition you offer your employees and new hires a compelling one? It must be if you want to have fully staffed communities and teams in 2022. Here’s to your success!