The evolving nature of work continues to shape the employee landscape due to unprecedented changes driven by technological advancements, shifting societal expectations, and the aftermath of a global pandemic. As a result, organizations must adapt to emerging employee trends to foster a resilient and engaged workforce.
One way to accomplish this suggests Frank Newman, owner of Newman Human Resources Consulting, is to keep in touch with employees through engagement surveys.
“Listening to the pulse of your organization is going to be more important than ever,” he says. “Employers may also want to think about their work culture and in terms of what attracts people, and they want to make sure they are managing leadership effectively.”
Among the many trends employers must embrace is creating a more welcoming work environment, especially when it comes to Canada’s growing immigrant population.
More than 430,000 immigrants were brought to Canada in 2022 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), with an additional target of 485,000 this year and a further 500,000 in 2025. IRCC data indicates in 2022, 184,725 of these new permanent residents came to Ontario.
“There is a large talent pool available, and employers have to be thoughtful in how they bring new talent into their organizations from our immigrant population,” says Frank. “The whole concept of diversity, inclusion, and equality is rising in terms of what’s important for companies and for individuals. If you’re not having that positive and diverse work culture, that’s going to hurt you in the long run.”
AI gaining importance
He says the introduction of AI tools, such as ChatGPT, Copy.ai and Kickresume, have not only benefitted Canada’s newcomer population by helping them become more proficient and fluid in the English language, but have become valuable assets for businesses as well.
“I think we are going to see more employers looking for people who have some AI experience,” says Frank. “Being able to say you can demonstrate use of those tools is a good thing for potential job candidates.”
However, there are potential downsides such as the creation of AI generated resumes and materials that can help a candidate embellish their qualifications.
“There are tools to test a document to see if it’s been AI written and you may now see many sophisticated employers doing just that,” he says. “They may also be thinking of asking a potential employee to provide writing samples.”
Managing performance key
Another trend is the emergence of ‘The Great Stay’ phenomenon, which experts say has been replacing the ‘Great Resignation’ experienced during the pandemic as employees re-evaluated their priorities and migrated to other opportunities.
“I’m not sensing The Great Stay too much in this region and am still sensing a fair bit of fluidity, but having people stay longer is always a good thing because it’s less costly,” says Frank, noting it can cost at least three times an employee’s salary to replace them considering the recruitment process, training, and upskilling. “Employers still have to focus on managing performance if people are going to stay longer and they have to invest in leadership and coaching if you want to maximize your investment.”
He notes employees may also be a little reluctant to move due to the ‘shakiness’ of the economy.
“I think employers may want to continue to monitor salaries which have stabilized quite a bit and want to make sure they are staying around that 3-4% annual change,” says Frank. “But I think in general, employers are cautiously optimistic about things going forward.”
Job Market Trends
Hybrid Work Models
Employees now seek a balance between the flexibility of remote work and the collaboration offered by in-person interactions. Organizations that embrace hybrid models will likely attract and retain top talent, offering employees the autonomy to choose where and when they work.
Employee Well-being Takes Centre Stage
Organizations are placing a heightened focus on mental health, work-life balance, and holistic wellness programs. Employees value employers who prioritize their well-being, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.
Continuous Learning and Development
With the rapid pace of technological advancements, the demand for upskilling and reskilling is on the rise. Employees expect continuous learning opportunities to stay relevant in their roles and advance their careers. Forward-thinking organizations invest in robust training programs and partnerships with educational institutions to foster a culture of continuous development.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Employees prioritize working for organizations that are committed to fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. Companies that actively address and rectify disparities in hiring, promotions, and pay will not only attract diverse talent but also create a more innovative and collaborative work environment.
Emphasis on Employee Experience
Employee experience encompasses the overall journey of an employee within an organization. Companies are investing in enhancing the employee experience, from onboarding to offboarding. Personalized employee experiences, feedback mechanisms, and inclusive company cultures contribute to higher employee satisfaction and retention rates.
Remote Employee Engagement
With remote work becoming a staple, maintaining employee engagement is a challenge for many organizations. Companies are leveraging technology to create virtual team-building activities, foster communication, and build a strong remote work culture. Employee engagement tools and platforms play a crucial role in keeping teams connected and motivated.
Job Search and Career Success Hinge on Ethics
Employers are still looking for candidates who create undeniable value, not just put in clocked times, who have above-average communication skills, have a strong work ethic, will be reliable, possess the ability to think critically and above all, will fit their culture. Regardless of the uncertainty ahead, the key to creating job search luck will be the same as it has always been: preparation of hard work.
‘The Great Stay’
The current global economic situation, the state of China and other major economies, as well as the ongoing geopolitical conflicts will see recession talk intensify, leading companies to focus on vital roles and hold off on hiring for roles that aren’t ‘must-haves’. Taking these factors into consideration, the next year it will be ‘The Great Stay’ as opposed to the ‘Great Resignation’ when many people switched jobs/careers during the pandemic.
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