As Workplace Trends Shift, Keep the Mission Steady

Oct 3, 2022


After more than two years of dominating economic headlines, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that September will be the last month it will ask supplemental questions about Covid’s effects on the labor market. This is a formal indicator that Covid has become a part of daily lives, but its enormous impact continues to shake up the talent landscape and shape emerging trends.

The long-term impacts of telework. According to the Pew Research Center data, nearly 60 percent of U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home are working remotely all or most of the time. There’s still a lot we don’t know about remote work including the demographics of the employees most impacted and the effects it has on the workplace, but those answers will soon become clearer as the Bureau of Labor Statistics begins asking questions next month about teleworking and including the findings in its monthly jobs reports. There’s little doubt remote and/or flexible work schedules are here to stay with many employers reporting consistent or improved productivity and happier workers. Something we might not learn for a while, though, is the long-term impact remote work might have on employee career progression and leadership development. Employers are being warned to look out for “proximity bias” – the inclination to favor employees who are more visible in the office – but it could take years to see whether remote workers progress at the same pace as their in-office peers or get left behind.

What’s old is new again. If you’re already tired of hearing about Quiet Quitting brace yourself because the trend popularized by Gen Z on Tik Tok is just starting to take off. But although the catchy phrase might sound new, the concept is anything but. Quiet Quitting isn’t about workers quitting their jobs at all – it’s about quitting what many refer to as “hustle culture,” the constant need to do more, earn more, and achieve more. Before you write off younger employers as slackers, though, consider this: A recent Gallup survey indicates what Quiet Quitters really want is clarity about expectations, more opportunities to learn and grow, a connection to the organization’s mission, and to be cared about. Young workers aren’t looking for more team happy hours – they want to be heard and believe their work matters. This is where HR efforts need to focus in the coming years.

The resignation tsunami isn’t over. As we near the end of 2022 and the job market shows signs of cooling slightly from its red-hot highs, it might be easy to assume the Great Resignation we’ve been hearing so much is slowing, too. That doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, a Deloitte study from June shows the next wave of the Great Resignation might be coming for the C-suite. More than 70 percent of C-suite leaders say they are considering leaving their job for one that better supports their wellbeing. Senior leaders have spent more than two years steering organizations through a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, social unrest, and a slew of other challenges. Many are exhausted and haven’t allowed themselves the same time off or work/life boundaries they champion for their teams. For their own health and the success of their organizations, it’s time to make this a priority.

Though workplace trends and catchy names for them evolve, talent will continue to be difficult to find and employers need to remain focused on the basics: a strong culture, a focus on mission and purpose, competitive wages and benefits, and training and development for high-potential employees.

This article originally appeared in the Cincinnati Business Courier in September 2022.