4 Ways 2020 Has Shifted Behavioral Changes In The Workforce

Posted on September 24, 2020 by BWBacon. Tagged: For Candidates, For Clients

Looking back, it is hard to pinpoint a year that felt such massive pivotal change as 2020. From the pandemic, to the trials of an election year and cultural reckoning of America, it goes without saying there will be changes in the workforce as well.

This year, according to the US Census Bureau, Millennials finally surpassed the population of Boomers with 72.1 million adults living in the US. While Millennials still do not make up the entirety of the workforce, their ideals and preferences will increasingly dominate changes in the future of work from here on out. As time goes on and full-time remote work becomes normalized for many, companies could see a minor power struggle trying to get employees back into the office.

Why Are Employees Shifting Their Priorities?

A global pandemic, major economic pressures, and endless challenges from the fallout of both make behavioral changes in the workforce understandable, if not expected. While some companies already had dispersed teams and the bandwidth to quickly move the rest of their teams online, others faced a steep learning curve. Technologists supporting companies that survived took notice of how their leadership handled the onset of the coronavirus.

From a recent conversation with a recruiter, one candidate revealed they were searching for jobs because other top-level executives are leaving their company. Seeing the writing on the walls, this engineer is not alone in wanting to develop a backup plan and have options in place in case the company goes under. This is a scary reality for many. However, isolating some of the behavioral changes in the workforce can better prepare your organization to respond in a productive way.

4 Workforce Changes To Look Out For In 2020

Flex work is no longer a perk, but a lifestyle.

In the second and third quarter, many of our candidates expressed a strong desire to only consider fully remote positions. By the end of September however, we were also hearing from folks missing water cooler chats and team collaboration. So, will people want to return to offices spaces or not?

Unfortunately, the answer is not as clear cut as we had hoped. In general, the majority of savvy technologists want flexible work schedules, or the ability to work from home and an office setting. For now, companies play the waiting game with their urban office leases until public safety is less of a concern.

What we do know is months on end of autonomy and self-scheduling has truly worked for a lot of people. If employees are able to get work done in this new setting without the office, there is a new element of collective bargaining that will change how we approach working. Four-day work week anyone? Offices will not vanish entirely, but their use will be more intentional and potentially, sparse.

Employees will seek more training, learning, and advancement opportunities.

One common misconception about millennials in the workforce is that only flashy perks and lux offices will attract them to stay with a company. In reality, people want stability, the opportunity for career advancement, and money, across generations. Dispel the myth that young technologists are not worth training due to job turn-over, and start investing in your people.

Studies have shown again and again that programs for employee engagement, mentorship, and clear paths for growth keep talented people on your team. Especially with increased remote work, companies have this moment to establish strong, engaging programs that help their teams develop from within.

Prepare for a stronger expectation of transparency.

Remember that engineer that was seeing the writing on the walls? There is nothing quite like a pandemic to reveal the true colors of leadership. We’ve all read stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it came to how leadership handled financial losses, widespread furloughs, and the challenges of COVID-19.

However, this moment for leadership is not yet over. Workers need continued support, honesty, and optimism more than ever. As we continue to grapple with staying safe and rebuilding our economy, there is an undercurrent of needing the truth. Don’t worry, we are not getting into the fake news debacle, but the notion of expecting transparency from business leaders is growing.

Workers across industries are holding their leaders accountable, and we feel this has a positive impact. From intentionally hiring more diversity, to creating policies that strongly support workers’ mental health, transparency, and follow up, will be an ongoing expectation.

Major cities are going to change, maybe for good.

Overall, Americans have always been movers and shakers. People like to re-locate, establish themselves somewhere new, and raise their families in diverse places across the country. This year in particular has led many to strongly consider why they live where they do. City shutdowns made even loyal Denverites question, what is it that I love about living in the city versus somewhere else? If you cannot access the fine dining, theater, concerts, and other perks of living in a city, why stay?

Colorado has seen a steady increase in people relocating here from out-of-state within the last ten years, but motivations to do so are changing. Some candidates have their eyes on Colorado to find a job before moving, and make their way to Denver or the surrounding areas leisurely while companies keep working remotely. Once the pandemic subsides, this kind of chance may not arise again.

Predicting exactly how cities will change is complex, but we have already started to see a shift. If tech workers are falling out of love with urban areas, this could mean big changes for how big tech companies and startups operate, recruit, and work.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!