Posted November 16, 2021 by Mark Perna
In our post-pandemic world, we’re all ready for a new chapter. Here are four ways that this pivotal moment in history is taking the workforce in a positive direction. Mark’s article, “4 Ways ‘The Great Reshuffle’ Can Help Us Reimagine The Employer-Employee Dynamic,” published at Forbes.com on November 9, 2021.
‘The Great Resignation’ is a phrase we’re hearing a lot these days. It sounds ominous—and it is. Reports vary as to the extent of this mass quitting spree, with claims that anywhere from 40% to 75% of the workforce are actively planning to leave their current jobs for a better fit elsewhere. Employers are bracing themselves for the coming storm, and many are already feeling it.
But is it all bad?
A different term is emerging for the shake-up that our post-pandemic workforce is experiencing: the Great Reshuffle. I believe this is a better summation of the sea changes that are taking place in every business in America today—because they’re not all negative.
Business as usual is never coming back. The status quo isn’t good enough anymore. The pandemic gave us all a moment of pause, to think about what we really want out of our life and career. And the conclusions we’ve reached—employers and employees alike—are going to transform the face of work.
To better understand the direction that the employer-employee dynamic is trending, I connected with Hari Srinivasan, LinkedIn’s VP of Product Management for Talent Solutions. A theme of our conversation was how the Great Reshuffle has set the stage for employers and employees to make a fresh start in four key areas.
In the wake of the pandemic, flexibility has become almost a non-negotiable at work. LinkedIn found that 87% of people would prefer to stay remote at least half of the time, and 81% of executives are planning to update their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility.
From March 2020 to August 2021, LinkedIn has tracked an 8.5x increase in the number of remote jobs posted on its platform. “Beyond companies continuing to post more jobs for remote roles, we’ve also seen an increased interest from job seekers,” says Srinivasan. “For example, the share of U.S. remote job listings on LinkedIn attracts twice the share of views and 2.5 times the share of applications when compared to onsite job postings.”
What about flexibility in industries where onsite work is necessary? “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this new world of work, but what the Great Reshuffle has shown is that there’s an opportunity to think differently and meet employees where they are,” says Srinivasan.
To start with, the definition of flexibility should be more, well, flexible. “For companies, it means being more open to change and creating flexible environments that work for your business—whether that’s redesigning workspaces or rethinking culture and values to align with your employees’ changing needs,” says Srinivasan.
While most companies aren’t ready to ditch the degree entirely, the Great Reshuffle is changing things on that front as well. “When it comes to attracting talent, we’re increasingly seeing companies source and hire talent based on a candidate’s skills,” says Srinivasan.
Not all skills come from work experience or the completion of a degree program. Broader talent pools are needed, and to tap into them, Srinivasan says that companies need to be more specific in job descriptions on what skills are needed for a particular role. “We’re seeing this come to life: over the past two years, we’ve seen a 16% increase in job postings listing skills as opposed to education or experience requirements,” he says.
Focusing on skills over degrees has a positive effect on retention as well. Srinivasan believes that a learning-centric, skills-focused culture empowers all employees to invest in themselves and yields major returns to the business. “Talent leaders that can strategically hone in on how skills are distributed across an organization, and the skills the organization needs to stay competitive in the future, hold the key to succeeding in an evolving market.”
Hand in hand with skills-based hiring is the new emphasis on reskilling and upskilling the current workforce. “Organizations are rethinking everything—their entire workforce and workplace models, cultures and company values—to keep pace with the needs of their workforce,” says Srinivasan.
Through it all, LinkedIn Learning’s content team has been working hard to create relevant and timely courses for workers at all levels of an organization. “Our recently launched skill-building platform, LinkedIn Learning Hub, provides a personalized, social experience that helps employees build the skills they need and connect with other learners that they can build new skills with, seamlessly creating a culture of learning across an organization,” Srinivasan says. Several popular courses include:
“We’re helping L&D leaders revolutionize their strategy, be more strategic advisors to the C-suite and deliver talent solutions that drive business outcomes,” says Srinivasan.
One of the biggest opportunities of the Great Reshuffle is the chance to re-engage employees with trust and empathy. For this to happen, Srinivasan believes that more dialogue between employers and employees is needed. “Trust will be at the core of a company’s success when it comes to attracting and retaining talent,” he says.
At LinkedIn, this principle is practiced daily. “We trust each other to do our best work where it works best for us and our teams. We’re committed to working together, learning as we go and being agile in adjusting as we need to,” says Srinivasan.” We’re also listening closely to our employees through our quarterly employee voice surveys and building programs that address the feedback, such as our LiftUp! initiative to support employees with burnout during the height of the pandemic.
“What’s most important, above all, is that leaders spend time listening to their teams, creating cultures based on trust and embracing new opportunities amidst the Great Reshuffle.”
As we look to the future, yes—it’s uncertain. “There will be many obstacles that employers and employees will need to navigate together,” says Srinivasan. “But we believe the Great Reshuffle is by far the most exciting opportunity companies have had in a long time. There’s a new world of work ahead of us, founded on shared values and a common mission, that will create more success for organizations and career fulfillment for employees.
“At the core of it all is the beginnings of a new and better relationship between employers and employees.” With all of its changes and challenges, if the Great Reshuffle delivers on its promise of a fresh workplace dynamic, we’re all in.