Are You Up To The Challenges?

Today's Many recruiting issues

Bill Wall faced two choices: go back to the in-person office and a job he didn’t find challenging, although he was well-qualified to do it or continue to build up his fledgling Internet design company. The pandemic chose him. It allowed him to work virtually at his office job and also continue to build his own company.

More and more employers are finding it necessary to negotiate the conditions of employment as employees are increasingly wary of accepting full-time jobs that compromise flexibility or do not fully utilize their skills.  The record number of resignations over the past few months in the U.S. underlines the challenges employers face as they figure out how to thrive in this changing job market.

Individuals are finding new freedoms and exploring their capacity and taste for change and entrepreneurism. Some organizations are looking for ways to adapt to all of this without endangering their success, but it may be that these two different needs are not compatible. We will find out over the next few years.

 Certainly, manufacturing firms and companies where hands-on work is required will not flex to these changes. Still, they may find themselves juggling multiple workforces – permanent, contract, and gig to meet their needs.

Firms whose jobs require cognitive skills will find it much easier to adapt. Many, including Salesforce, Twitter, Microsoft, and even Facebook and Google, offer flexible working arrangements and embrace either total virtual work or a hybrid version that requires only a few days in the office.

The employment market has become complicated, with multiple interests attempting to find a working balance. Successful recruiters will influence hiring managers, explain the job market, and negotiate complex offers with candidates. Success may require recruiters to be more persuasive than ever with both hiring managers and with candidates.

A Potpourri of the Issues We Face as Recruiters.

1.     Complex Work Ecosystem

The standard workday and week are disappearing, and this transformation is already bringing up questions and issues that impact employers, employees, landlords, and entire cities.

Here are just a few of the questions that have already risen. What will fill office buildings if people work remotely? How will the thousands of small businesses that feed and otherwise take care of office workers survive? Where will tax dollars come from? How will employees get to know each other? Is this important for productivity and innovation? Will organizations still need many levels of managers? How will remote workers’ performance be measured?

It will be years before we have answers to these. Still, in the meantime, the workforce is splintering into a more complex form consisting of permanent workers, contractors, part-time employees, occasional workers, and consultants.

Recruiters will need the flexibility, insight, influence, and skills to deal with this complexity.

2.     Flexible working times

It will be tough to convince people to work for organizations that do not allow flexible work. Some organizations allow flexibility within defined parameters or with prior approval. Only a few are genuinely open to a varied, unpredictable schedule even though all deadlines are met. Mothers want time with their children and work when the kids are sleeping or in school. Others are more productive in the wee hours and want to sleep in the daytime. And still, others want to vary their schedules depending on their mood or family needs.

More firms are offering flexible working times and slowly are focusing on results rather than time as the measures of performance. Most leaders still have a time and place mindset, but accepting flexible working times will become normal eventually.

Recruiters need to work with hiring managers to define positions where flexible work is acceptable and where it is not.  Recruiting a diverse candidate pool will be difficult if your organization does not develop clear guidelines around who can work remotely, the conditions of flexible work, and flexible compensation plans.

3.     Virtual work

Working from home or remote work centers is common due to the pandemic and the desire to save energy, decrease travel, and access rare skills.

Technology has enabled complex virtual work, and many firms have decided to become completely virtual with no offices or fixed places of employment. There is no doubt that this form of employment will grow rapidly and may embrace more than half the workforce within a decade.

Recruiters need to become adept at searching and hiring anywhere.  More and more, the skills a candidate offers will become more critical than attitudes, appearance, culture fit, or personality. All of these become less critical as the workforce is dispersed.

4.     Multiple jobs

Organizations still expect and seek loyalty, but virtual and flexible work will strain that concept.  Many workers often have more than one source of income, but they rarely make that public. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines multiple jobholders as hourly or salary workers who hold two or more jobs, self-employed workers who also have an hourly or salary job, or unpaid family workers who hold an hourly or salary job.

There is very little a recruiter can do about this, but if you reject those who you suspect of having multiple jobs, you will significantly reduce your candidate pool and the quality of that pool.

5.     Mindsets in Flux

There are significant differences in attitudes about work between employees and employers. Some of these differences are age or experience-related, but others are around the shift away from traditional ways of organization.  Workers are rejecting layers of hierarchy and reams of policies.  They want input into salaries and desire to be paid based on achieving goals rather than on tenure.

Even the idea of a job is slowly dying. Rather than codify a set of skills around a job title, the trend is to look for people who can offer a solution to a problem or perform a unique function. Work is beginning to look more like consulting, where a consultant is hired for their expertise without regard for traditional employment measures.

6.     The Idea of a Job Disappearing

Jobs are being atomized and deconstructed into the skills that make them up.  Over the past 100 years, organizations have grouped skills into bundles called jobs. This made it easy to create salary structures and led to consistency and predictability, traits necessary in the industrial era.

As organizations struggle with rapidly changing market conditions, the advent of artificial intelligence, and a remote workforce, many firms are finding it more effective to unbundle or atomize these jobs into their various skills. This unleashes employees from the constraints of their titles and allows them to use whatever skills they have wherever they are needed.

Employees are free to develop new skills and use their creativity to contribute to projects that would have been impossible under their previous job.

Recruiting is also being atomized. Technology is augmenting or automating skills such as screening, interviewing, and searching for candidates. This is forcing recruiters to use other skills such as working more closley with hiring managers to influence and coach them or to focus on develping a better understanding of the talent market.

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Related Links

Flexible Work Is the Future of Work — Seizing the “New Normal” for Increased Engagement and Productivity

When Skills, Not Jobs, Become the Currency of Work

The Remote Trend Of Working Two Jobs At The Same Time Without Both Companies Knowing