Chat Bubble
Skip to main content

The Web and Woe of the Job Economy

You’d have to look back to the beginning of Dotcom in the late 1990s to find a similar time when employers were so challenged to hire and retain employees. The dawn of the Internet sent shockwaves across startups and conglomerates alike who sought talent that could adapt to new business models and new tech including emails, cell phones, and 24/7 data exchange.

Back then, employers set up ping pong tables, cooked up popcorn, filled the office fridge, and rolled out concierge services like laundering, child care, and pet sitting to lure employees. At the same time, the “allowable” tenure to hop from one job to another plummeted from decades to days. Hiring bonuses were expected and an elevated job title was par for the course.

Along with the Dotcom downturn, the housing and financial meltdowns of the 2000s tipped the hiring and honing scales once again in favor of employers who could barely keep pace with job applicants per open position.

This ebb and flow of boom or bust between supply and demand of workers is a natural consequence of economic advances and retreats…

… and yet, this time around, there appears to be an unprecedented phenomenon occurring. Unemployment is high, but job seekers are few… job openings are off the charts, yet many Americans aren’t looking for work!

It appears that the American (over) work ethic has finally hit a wall of “no more”. The pandemic caused workers to stay home and, once there, realize the benefits of replacing dress and drive time with chill and child time.

Employers Dilemma: Help Desperately Wanted!

Employers are competing against the “homey” office and the “work-from-anywhere” possibilities, as well as for a younger, more diverse, and more particular workforce.

Consider that while the median tenure for workers 55 to 64 is roughly 10 years, the median tenure for workers in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties is less than 3 years. This means that not only do you have to figure out how to attract these younger workers, you also have to make it well worth their while to stay.

Younger workers – especially latchkey kids – have watched their parents struggle to juggle work, family, and personal time. They are prepared to give up a bit of the American Dream of house (young adults move more frequently), family (millennials have more pets than kids), and job security (in exchange for job flexibility) for a less stressful and more soul-satisfying lifestyle.

Following are three ways to entice the up and coming workforce to play and stay.

Show Employees the Door

Not literally, but figuratively be open to where employees office from. Today’s next generation is as likely to work from an AirBnB, a coffee shop, or the kitchen table as they are to be in an office cubicle.

Allow employees to demonstrate that they can excel without needing to be physically present. Remote work efficiencies include real-time communications via teleconferencing, SMS texting, Skyping, and Slacking. No more wasting time shuffling from conference room to conference room or sitting in traffic only to be late for a meeting.

Remote workers also benefit financially with fewer hours required for child (or pet) care, less money spent for transit, and more affordable food options than the corporate cafeteria or working lunch.

And studies show that remote workers can be just as – or even more – productive than their
in-office counterparts, averaging 1.4 more days per month.

Support Diverse Family Dynamics

It’s not just pets redefining family makeup. Households are changing from two parents, two children to multigenerational, multicultural, and multiparented units. These dynamics make for a more complex set of needs related to the health and wealth benefits employers offer as incentives.

Employers will need to incorporate new benefits and new ways of framing nextgen workers. These modifications include:

  • Supporting a wider array of caregivers who are looking after the very young, the very old, and all ages in between
  • Providing emotional support for those dealing with charged environments due to growing political and cultural clashes
  • Recognizing more diverse populations with different holidays and traditions
  • Creating a new vocabulary that incorporates updated terminology for gender definitions and stereotyped or racially unique populations

Give Employees the Opportunity to Demonstrate Their Value While Delivering Your Value

If the pandemic taught us anything, it taught us that life is short and precious. NextGen workers are prioritizing soul-satisfying experiences over security. This means providing tradeoffs that result in win/win for employers and employees. Consider reimaging:

  • Job titles: shift from status to value. For example:

From “VP of Marketing” to “Image Maker”

From “Director of Call Center” to “Customer Satisfier”

From “VP of Sales” to “Deal Closer”

  • Job descriptions: incorporate the “outcome” not just the “task”. For example:

You’ll make our company the sought out…

Consumers will appreciate how you…

Buyers will want to purchase…

  • Job scope: from a forty to a for thee schedule

Offer job sharing across two or more employees, who share in the roles, responsibilities and rewards

Offer a la carte jobs: could one employee have multiple jobs adding up to a set of roles that are more suitable to their time and talents?

Offer an open invitation to create a role that may not yet exist but brings new juice to old business models

Employers who speak to the heart and soul as much as to the head and pocketbook will win over NextGen workers who want to use their talents to improve the lives of others while improving their own.

For more ideas on supporting employees during these uncertain times check out the following blogs and look towards W3LL! In addition to supporting the latest healthcare trends that can be of benefit to your employees, W3LL provides insight on how to support during the shifting workplace dynamic.


Leave a Reply