In our interaction with candidates, we have observed the following trends:
1. The relationship to the workplace has changed: while people don’t want to be at the office 100% of the time (not having any possibility of working remote will be a no-go for a great number of people), they also want to feel well when they are on site, so hot desking and large open-space or cramped working conditions are much less desirable than they used to be. The possibility of working remotely, even from far away locations in other countries or continents without the need for additional physical infrastructure like “shared service centres”, has given many qualified workers access to the global market. It also opens up new possibilities to those who want to live far away from their employers’ office locations.
Our advice: If your company is looking at reducing its office footprint to save costs, think hard before acting. Ask what workspace would best serve your interests, maximising retention, productivity, motivation, and creativity of your people. Also consider setting aside more budget to bring remote workers together at regular intervals.
2. People want to find purpose in what they do. This trend can be observed in all age groups, but younger workers especially. They want a job that is compatible with their values, where people and the environment are considered as stakeholders and valuable long-term resources.
Our advice: If your company has not yet considered its sustainability agenda / alignment with UN SDGs, it should urgently do so and do it well. Don’t approach it as a PR exercise, even if it holds value in that area later.
3. Independence and entrepreneurship come before security: people increasingly favour freelance or project-based collaboration as opposed to long-term contracts. Employee loyalty has declined, in part as a response to disappearing employer loyalty, and people will stay only as long as they feel well in an environment, not hesitating to move or even completely reorient their career.
Our advice: If your company is still focused on long-term, full-time contracts, consider introducing new options like freelance or project-based contracts for a certain number of days per year; part-time work with the possibility, so that the contributor is able to work on other projects in parallel; the possibility of taking sabbaticals or reducing one’s work-time temporarily; or incorporating personal development involving new roles and geographies into the contract from the start, to give just a few examples.