Bridging the Workplace Divide

There’s a notable shift, or perhaps a widening divide, that’s happening right now in the workplace. Employers are realizing that they can’t just hire anyone, even in a scarcity environment. They’re growing tired of disengaged employees, irregular attendance, and a general dissatisfaction with work. On the flip side of that, many employees are looking to do less, secure more flexibility, demand better compensation for their efforts, and explore entirely new roles with minimal experience. It’s not making for a great recipe for a successful hiring market, whether you’re an employer or a job seeker.

The labor participation rate isn’t going to change much and with more people getting to retirement age than are coming into the workforce, we are going to continue to have low unemployment. Employers are frustrated with not getting the help they need, and employees are frustrated with how demanding employers are being. So, what can you do if you find yourself on either side of this divide—whether you’re an employer or someone seeking employment? Here’s my advice for both sides.

For Employers:

Hire people that get it, want it, and have the capacity to do the work. These are the employees that will look to serve others, understand how to be humbly confident, and get the work done the right way. The ones that want it, get up every day motivated, looking to learn and do great work. Lastly, they have the ability to do the job, or you are fairly sure you can help them get there. As an employer, you need to be able to convey what success looks like in the role and clearly articulate your vision. Seek candidates who align with these values, have a strong desire for personal growth, and are people smart.

In today’s competitive job market, job seekers and current employees are actively seeking companies that have a well-defined identity, understand the significance of each role, prioritize employee growth, and establish clear performance metrics for success.

For Employees:

Focus on identifying companies whose vision and core values align with your own. Seek opportunities to learn and grow within the organization. Understand that employers are looking for a certain level of productivity and a return on their investment to remain profitable. While it’s important to communicate your needs effectively, be mindful not to be overly demanding. You should be paid fairly and treated well but perfection is an unrealistic expectation. You are going to at times need to sacrifice something for the employer. The company will have changing needs, challenging times and it’s not always going to be easy. Like a family, companies experience both good times and challenging moments. It’s essential to support each other’s success, even when circumstances are less than ideal.

Above all, be realistic. I’m seeing job seekers and employees at our clients that are not being realistic with what an employer can offer. My grandfather used to say, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” He also used the phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” If you find a company that aligns with your values, offers growth opportunities, and provides reasonable compensation, find a way to help that company thrive.

My hope with this article is not to stir up trouble, but to shed light on the perspectives of both employers and employees. Both parties are essential to each other’s success. Employers need good employees and employees need good jobs. I know our company’s goal is to help make a match with as many of those two as possible and it has never been harder than it is today to do that.

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