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The Modern Workplace

Dichotomies of Need Between Employers and Employees - Challenges and Opportunities
Dichotomies of Need Between Employers and Employees - Challenges and Opportunities

Several recent internet posts present interesting dichotomies between employer needs and employee wants, resulting in challenges and opportunities in the business world. One post noted:

“In 2023, organizations will continue to face significant challenges: a competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and pressure to control costs amid a looming economic downturn. How employers respond could determine whether they are an employer of choice.”*

What do employers want in 2023?

Employers want talent and skills that include good leadership qualities, strong work ethic and time management skills, good problem-solving and critical thinking abilities and communication, growth mindset, customer service and sales skills, and being nimble and adaptive to changing requirements. A recent post noted the following priorities:

“The top three priorities for 2023 among HR professionals, HR executives and workers reflect the recruitment and retention challenge:

  • Maintaining employee morale and engagement.
  • Retaining top talent.
  • Finding and recruiting talent with the necessary skills.”

Another recent post noted the following challenge employers face to meet their wants:

“In addition, organizations must address workforce-wide erosion of social skills.”

“Many new-to-the-workforce employees are struggling: 51% of Gen Z employees say that their education has not prepared them to enter the workforce. And the pandemic means that these employees have had few in-person opportunities to observe norms and determine what is appropriate or effective within their organizations.” In fact, the erosion of social skills since the pandemic is somewhat universal. 

What do employees want in 2023?

Employees clearly want more flexibility in the new post (or current) COVID landscape. They also want options to work remotely when duties allow, yet desire a thriving interactive in-person workplace with collaborative teamwork. According to at least one report (Offsyte), employees want their employers “to improve employee wellbeing.” “Employees also want more transparency with their employer, team-building opportunities and more diversity, equity and inclusion work.” Yet, other articles predict that DEI hiring actually will decrease.

How do employers help in improving employee well-being?

According to studies, the following list includes some examples that can help in improving employee well-being in the types of areas employees now desire: Creating a collaborative working environment, working smarter (not necessarily harder), offering personal development and mental and physical health resources, and learning opportunities, and allowing control and options for work schedules and demands where appropriate.

Where do these interests converge? What is the answer for employers? Some suggest:

  • Hiring the best candidate who possesses the qualities described above (versus always hiring to fill specific openings or vacancies).
  • Hiring and interviewing processes that are routinely reviewed and updated; requiring a more in-depth application process with more rounds of in-person interviews and simulated job-related scenarios.
  • Providing meaningful, collaborative work and reasonable transparency.
  • Providing access to mentorship and “sponsorship” programs, matching employees with others within the organization outside of their area and line of supervision when possible.
  • Exposing employees to many individuals and leaders across the organization.

While there appear to be dichotomies between employer and employee wants, taking steps to improve employee well-being can be an opportunity for employers to bring the wants of each group closer together to satisfy the needs of each.

*Google citations available on request.

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