Top Ten Work Trends Quarterly Updates

A diverse group of SIOP members are serving as Trend Champions for the people-related work trends that SIOP members collaboratively predicted to be the most impactful in 2022. Each Trend Champion has expertise in and professional passion for their trend subject. SIOP appreciates their service to the profession in providing quarterly updates on their chosen topics.

Find the full list of topics and links to the other Top 10 Work Trends here

Trend #4: Talent Attraction and Retention in a Candidate-Driven Market

2022 3rd Quarter Update

In my Q2 update, I discussed the continuation of a labor market that favors the worker over the employer, despite some companies announcing layoffs and hiring freezes due to fear of a looming recession. Apprehension towards a recession continued in Q3 as the US economy signaled a trigger with two consecutive quarter drop in gross domestic product and the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to combat inflation. Still, the labor market remains strong.

Given the perpetual nature of the tight labor market, we must strive to improve actions on improving both talent attraction and retention. Here are several articles that caught my eye this quarter for helping in that arena:

  • Harvard Business Review provides perspective on barriers to internal mobility along with suggested interventions including awareness of internal job openings and providing a supportive culture of internal mobility.
  • “One-third of deskless workers may leave their job within six months”. This is according to a recent study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, where they defined “deskless” workers as those who need to be physically present to do their jobs. This multi-country study found higher risk of leaving in Generation Z, Japan and the UK, and the retail and consumer services industry. The article provides top reasons for leaving, top reasons for staying, and suggestions to increase retention.
  • Those who are stepping into a predictive retention analysis, this article might be for you! Deloitte lays out a simple framework for challenges to consider up-front and as you progress through the stages of this project as well as guidance for the journey. This quote particularly resonated with me, “The best predictive model has no value, unless it drives action and action requires organizational buy-in, which typically starts at the top”.
  • Glassdoor conducted an analysis between a worker’s satisfaction with their company and job search behavior, finding those who are more satisfied with their employer are less likely to apply elsewhere and vice versa. These findings are intuitive but the continued validation is important as hiring managers look to improve retention.

2022 2nd Quarter Update

We continued to experience a candidate-driven talent market in the second quarter of 2022 with job openings near record highs and declining unemployment rates, despite the recent news cycle bringing stories of hiring freezes and layoffs. In a bid to improve their competitive advantage, some companies are softening their return-to-office expectations or going all-in on remote work, while others are increasing salaries and stock compensation.

According to a recent McKinsey study, those who left without another job in hand most often cited experiences with uncaring leaders, unsustainable performance expectations, or lack of career development and advancement. The top reasons for those who accepted a new position included flexibility, compensation, and realistic performance expectations. A LinkedIn study found that around one in three employed Americans would take a small decrease in pay if a new job provided more enjoyable work or better work/life balance, while one in four were looking for more flexibility or career development.

A practical retention tool: Conduct stay interviews. Encourage managers to have conversations with their teams to understand why employees stay and what might cause them to leave, then create an action plan. This article provides a few simple ‘starter’ questions to guide the conversation and SHRM provides additional resources and ideas to guide through the process.

A potential talent pool: Pursue boomerang employees. Employees who return to a previous employer, also known as “boomerang employees”, are a rising source of hires and their average separation time is decreasing. A recent HBR article outlines several strategies to make it easier for these prospective “boomerangs”.

An interesting pilot study: 4-day work weeks. The LinkedIn Workforce Confidence survey polled over 19,000 workers and found 54% expressing a strong desire for a four-day workweek, this figure was nearly 60% for leadership (managers and directors). Multiple pilot programs are kicking off in the UK, Spain, and Scotland this year to measure the impact on productivity, equality, and well-being.

2022 1st Quarter Update

The world experienced a wave of media coverage in 2021 with the “Great Resignation”, “Big Quit”, and “Great Reshuffle”, (mostly) synonymous terms that illustrate the rise in workers who left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going into 2022, organizations continue to face challenges in attracting and retaining talent as U.S. job openings remained near record highs in January with a 4.8 million gap between openings and unemployed workers. According to a recent Conference Board survey, CEOs across the globe cited talent attraction and retention as their number one internal focus this year.

What are organizations doing to increase their attraction and retention efforts in this hyper-competitive market? PwC reports that 72% of executive respondents in a recent survey have implemented hybrid work options, 63% increased career advancement and upskilling opportunities, and 63% increased compensation. Some are challenging the status quo by conducting more frequent compensation reviews to stay aligned with competitive wage increases, dropping degree requirements to increase their talent pools, or deconstructing jobs into tasks to reframe the supply/demand problem.

There are likely many solutions to our talent attraction and retention problems, so I'll leave you with a quote from Einstein, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”


Champion: Tony Cooley

Tony Cooley

Tony Cooley is a data-driven HR professional and people analytics expert with a passion for creating consumable analytics solutions and connecting talent levers that drive business outcomes. His background includes 10+ years of progressive Human Resources experience including talent analytics, employee listening strategies, labor market intelligence, and strategic workforce planning. Tony holds a master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from St. Cloud State University and currently serves as a Strategy Consultant within Wells Fargo’s people analytics team.