Employees and their needs – how are they changing in a pandemic?
The job market is made up of people – employees and employers. It is always a topic of the time, as the professional area concerns the vast majority of society. The pandemic, in a sense, changed the face of the labor market, and although it seemed for a moment that the labor market would be the employer’s market again, everything indicates that such a change will not take place yet. On the contrary, the pandemic situation has led to a time when the labor market tilts the scales even more towards workers. They are the foundation of the organization, so how to care for them?
The situation on the job market
Currently, more and more employers wonder where they go wrong when employees resign from their positions in companies en masse. Often the answer is simple and just around the corner – it is the unmet needs of employees. The focus in companies is spread over many aspects, but the focus on the foundation – the needs of the entity that builds the company – is ignored. Taking into account the unusual times in which we live and in which the economy is currently operating, it is impossible not to notice that changes in organizations are even forced by the current state of affairs. You cannot prevent it or stop it, you can find yourself in a new reality or completely lose yourself. To avoid the latter, it is important to consider all areas affected by the changes. One of these spheres is precisely the needs of employees, which are currently naturally shaped by the current changes in working conditions and which employers should be able to cope with. To make this possible, it is worth looking at what may be the most important.
A side effect of the professional realities in today’s pandemic times is a change in the relationship between the employee and the employer, and more precisely, a kind of split connection between them. Until now, this connection has been rather strong due to the constant physical contact between the two parties. This contact was ensured by the presence in one office with superiors and colleagues. It was continuous and formed a kind of internal network. Remote work forced by the conditions of the present times has created a reality that has not been known to us on this scale so far. It has proved to a large number of professionally active people that their work can be different and that the intended goals can be achieved by working from anywhere in the world. For the superiors, however, this change was not easy, as it was associated not only with a change in the environment in which they worked, but also with a change in human capital management. Unfortunately, many of them failed to manage the team remotely. This resulted in the loss of proper contact with subordinates, and in some cases even a significant loss of trust. The result was also the neglect of elements integrating the team and additional stress related to the new situation. The main problem is that with the loss of these valuable values, they also lost the main communication channel in which they could learn about the needs of employees. Consequently, superiors also lost the ability to identify and satisfy them. In some cases, the problem widened to the resignation of employees becoming less and less identifying with the workplace and the people they worked with. This problem spread on such a scale, which motivated many employers to consider implementing a different, new model of work, corresponding to the current needs.
Employees and the shifts they need
The data collected as a result of the research indicate that up to several dozen percent of employees left large cities during the pandemic for smaller and quieter ones, thus temporarily or permanently changing their place of residence, and thus – the place of work. At the same time, the same group declared that they would not like to return to the previous reality any more. One of the reasons was the reduction in the cost of living. Moreover, many employees came to the conclusion that returning to stationary work, often a decision of employers, does not make their standard of living better. On the contrary, it exacerbates the negative effects of a pandemic, such as frustration, fatigue or general persistent anxiety. Speaking about it, employees want employers to hear them and respond to their needs, because an employee in a bad mental state is not an efficient employee.
The space between how employees and employers would like to see their workplace seems to grow more and more. The solution should be sought in appropriate HR policies, as well as in a change in the culture of work organization and a real focus on the needs of the foundation of the organization – employees. According to the Inquiry study, 6 out of 10 Poles would like to work remotely or as a hybrid after the end of the pandemic. The remaining respondents, despite choosing a stationary mode of work, still expect from employers flexibility and the possibility of choosing remote work according to their needs, at least for a few days a month. When it comes to the IT industry – 93% of specialists chose remote mode as their preferred mode of operation. General data provide information that the majority of employees in various industries choose to work outside the office, without the possibility of imposing a return to the system known before the pandemic. Moreover, the “Work Reimagined Employee Survey” shows that 54% of respondents would decide to give up work if they are not provided with flexibility in the workplace. As a result of these changes, new models of work appear, which force a change in the structure and culture of the organization, so that they are properly adjusted to today’s expectations of employees.
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