Work to Live is the Way to Go July 12, 2021
There’s a lot of chatter about the great “re-shuffle” or the “great resignation” happening in the US workforce right now. After a year of sheltering in place, lockdowns, and scrambling to figure out how to work from home, workers realized that they work to live, not live to work. (Nothing like a global pandemic to get your attention, right?)
The term re-shuffle does a good job of talking about this shift. Workers are now looking at their skills and value and seeking a more equitable work environment. For some, that means a place where they can work from home either permanently or partially. Others want a place where they can build their skills, earn more money or find better accommodations for them to live their lives as they see fit.
It may have seemed like it was “easy” to hire a few months or years ago but it’s never been easy to hire the right person for the right job. Attrition is always a factor- no matter the economy. Humans are pretty naturally restless and they have a hierarchy of needs. In the beginning, they may simply want a roof over their heads and food in their bellies (which, to me are very good places to start). And as time goes on they desire more from their lives.
After all, are we only born to be at the top of our kindergarten class so we can get into an Ivy League school so we can be the class and fraternity president while lettering in track and chess so that we can get a job so we can work to sock away more than our neighbors for our houses and our 401Ks so that we can retire at 70 in order to enjoy our final 20 years on the planet that we have barely noticed in the previous 70?
I hope not.
I hope there is a better reason for being here on the planet at this time.
So what can we do to make sure the hiring process is more human and less resources?
For hiring authorities:
- Review your hiring criteria. Are you “must haves” really must haves? Do your employees honestly need to be sitting at their desks at 7 am East Coast time even though their role is not time sensitive? Can they do the work from home or have a flexible schedule provided they meet the goals of their role?
- Are your expectations realistic? Does someone who will be answering the phones, handling the schedule for the department meetings and running interference with your membership truly require a master’s level degree?
- Are you truly working to find diverse candidates? What if you offered bonuses for people who come up with the most creative (and effective) ways to attract candidates who are neuro-diverse, racially diverse or fall within the LGBTQ+ community?
- Invest more in your employees – education, mentorship, cross-training, wellness, instead of building bigger and larger campuses. There well may be some top candidates that can deliver on your goals but are unable to commute to your location or fulfill campus “residency” requirements due their own unique needs.
- There’s power in numbers. We are observing push-back as employees resist moving back to a crowded office environment. With the shortage of qualified candidates for many roles that up until now required in-person workplaces, companies are thinking about instituting permanent WFH or hybrid work models. All because candidates in large numbers stood their ground.
- Know your value. This is not about money, although money can be part of the equation. Recognize the experience and skills you bring to the workplace. Learn to talk about your skills and focus on your accomplishments and results rather than talking down to yourself about the one skill that you are still learning.
- Ask for what you need. Mentoring? Flexibility to attend doctor’s appointments with your mom? When you focus on the results you bring to a company, it’s easy to ask your (potential) employer to focus on the results they expect you to deliver. Ask for their vision of what you will have accomplished in 3 months, 6 months, and a year from the date of hire. Then you’re open to walk through the ways you can deliver these results with no discussion about having to sit at your desk from 9-5.
For employers and candidates, focus on the fact that living to work is pointless and leads to disillusionment, job-hopping, and a consistent sense of “not-enoughness.” Instead, focus on defining what a fulfilling and happy life is for you and build your business and career around that goal.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What has YOUR employer done to ensure your work-life goals are being met?
Written by: PEGGIE ARVIDSON, Account Executive
Peggie Arvidson started recruiting in junior high school when she convinced her classmates to join her in creating a ski club. Since then, she’s held many positions from sales to recruiting to non-profit leadership and quality assurance. Her focus in her life and career is helping people to find their right work for the right pay because she believes that when people are happy at work, they are secure in life, and happy people change the world for the better.
Peggie has moved more than 30 times across 5 states and three time zones, and is not a military brat. Before COVID, she spent her free time traveling with her friends and husband and now you can find her making beautiful things out of yarn, found objects, and her imagination.
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