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  • Writer's pictureAmii Barnard-Bahn

Top Workforce Trends Leaders Should Consider (& Tips on Making it Better)

Almost two years into the pandemic, the landscape of work has changed. The big question on most managers and companies’ minds is how to find ways to hold on to the workers they have (and keep everyone healthy) in a constrained labor market. As for employees, they are considering their options in an unprecedented sellers’ market.

Most of my clients have been slogging through this. Valued colleagues leave their teams for a variety of reasons that we’ve discussed previously in this community. For those who stay, leaders ask themselves, “Am I doing everything I can to keep my key people happy?” “How do I make sure my team doesn’t burn out from a staffing shortage?” [And to their recruiter, “I need a rock star now!”]

Last week I spoke with NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report on current recruiting/workforce trends, and here are my key takeaways:

  • Expect to pay higher wages and experience more churn

  • Compensation: In 2022, companies are projected to set aside an average 3.9% of total payroll for raises (normally 2-3%). This is the highest in more than a decade, per a report from The Conference Board.

  • Food costs are projected to rise 5% along with inflation across the board, so higher raises may not increase most people’s standard of living.

  • Hiring trends: Managers are struggling with whether to take a chance on a non-ideal candidate (who could flame out) or keep a position vacant (and risk burnout of other staff who pick up the slack). Listen to a surprising rehire story illustrating this challenge on the Marketplace show

  • Increased recruiter acceptance of former resume “red flags” such as short job stints and employment gaps on a résumé (e.g. maternity leaves, which disproportionately affect women).

  • Greater empathy for — and tolerance of — employee behaviors/work output. A broader definition of “good performance” for now. Re-recruiting former “boomerang” employees.

  • An increase in companies hiring external recruitment firms to keep up with requisitions.

  • Recruiters using AI to speed initial candidate screening (Jobvite found more than half of surveyed recruiters are using chatbots). Some experts say that with chatbots, recruiters can better qualify candidates prior to any human interaction.

  • Recruiters being savvy about “pre-closing” candidates (locking down salary and benefits) early to avoid losing a top candidate late in the process.

  • Increased candidate expectations re: salary and flexible working conditions.

  • Stress and burnout of talent acquisition professionals, some of whom are being beaten on for not filling roles fast enough (invest in tech to help!).

  • Heightened controversy over (formerly remote) employee return to work policies, vaccine mandates, and worker health concerns.

What other trends are you seeing and experiencing?

For my best guidance on reasons to stay (that can inform team retention strategies), see my recent Harvard Business Review article here.

All things being equal, one of the main reasons to stay in your current role is the window of opportunity you have to craft and negotiate for what you want. Listen to my best advice and tips on this in my recent conversation with NPR’s David Brancaccio.

To your good health and success!


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