The Great Reshuffle is in the works and millennials — with several years of experience in the workforce under their belt and some savings in the bank (despite the pandemic)—are at the helm. So what exactly is this “great reshuffle”? Workers in their late 20s and early 30s are taking the rebounding job market as a sign to learn new skills and networks before diving into a new career path. Some people are quitting their jobs altogether, and are certainly more likely to leave a role that doesn’t suit them. A recent survey found that more than a third of millennials plan to look for a new job post-pandemic, with some aiming for better-paying or more well-suited roles.
Change can be unsettling, or it can be a catalyst for growth. Many people were forced to leave their jobs or fields of work in 2020, which created an interesting dynamic in the marketplace. With so many people reevaluating and looking for work at the same time, it gave a sense of normalcy and camaraderie around the idea of looking for a job or career change. It gave many a needed pause and allowed them to evaluate if they were happy with their chosen path. Now, with the job market in favor of the employee versus the employer, many are less afraid of gaps in their resume or a change of pace.
Employees Have Influence In the Marketplace
Now, workers have an influence on their employers in many areas. We’ve all seen that remote or hybrid work is not a luxury—it is a perfectly viable way of conducting business. For many, this increased quality of life by lessening (or negating) commute times as well as creating a greater sense of work-life balance. This paradigm shift realization gives employees the ability to negotiate aspects of their roles much more than before when they were simply told what their working conditions would be. For instance, those looking for a job are more likely to deny an offer that doesn’t come with flexible work hours or some form of work-from-home benefits (unless you are in a field where company leaders deem it necessary to go back to the office, such as stocks or finance). And employers are more willing to create the environment necessary in order to hire the kind of employees they want. This shift has left many wondering, what were we doing before? Why did some employers think eight hours sitting at a desk equated success?
Not only are people more likely to deny unappealing job offers, but they are also more likely to simply quit their current job before they find a new one, which was anathema to previous generations. This breaks apart the years-old adage, “it’s easier to find a new job when you already have one.” Fewer and fewer people are staying at a job just for the paycheck. The current ecosystem completely breaks previous norms. We are now seeing young professionals, armed with savings, walking away from jobs before they line up new ones. They say, “I didn’t have the time or energy to devote myself to the search the way I wanted to,” while working their current full-time positions, and that they feel optimistic because there are so many jobs out there.
Millennials Realizing Their Power in the Workforce
It is important for leaders to pay attention to this “great reshuffle,” as millennials make up a significant amount of the workforce at 56 million people. 73% of these millennials report that they work more than 40 hours per week, but only 29% of them report that they feel “engaged” in their work. No wonder they are looking for other opportunities. Being overworked and uninspired won’t result in a dedicated workforce. Leaders must pay attention to these trends and evaluate if they are creating the kind of work environment people want to stay in.
And, yes, some millennials are simply burnt out and want to take a break from working altogether, and it’s perfectly understandable that they feel this way. Many of them graduated college around the time of the Great Recession in a highly unfavorable market and simply had to take whatever job was available to them. They’ve encountered many economic uncertainties and managed to build careers despite these challenges. So how are employers supposed to compete with the idea of simply taking a sabbatical and not working at all (which certainly seems favorable, if it’s fiscally possible for workers to do)?
Many companies are giving employees more flexibility and extending work from home policies in order to retain and attract employees. One significant shift (which I’ve discussed in previous blogs) leaders should consider? Change your company model to an outcome-based approach versus a process-based approach. This gives employees the freedom and flexibility to get work done the way that suits them while still achieving results. Focusing on the results affords them a measure of personal responsibility and develops a sense of trust between employers and employees.
It’s time to shift our understanding of the workplace ecosystem. Many companies are seeing the benefits of a flat or horizontal organizational structure with a collaborative environment. Employees have options, and they know it. If leaders don’t recognize their employees’ values and meet their needs, they will fall victim to the reshuffle. But change doesn’t necessarily have to be bad for business. Companies in search of talent can monopolize on the reshuffle by implementing forward-thinking and employee-centric policies—those that do will hold the key to success in the market.