In a pleasant turn of events, I have been able to have lunch inside actual restaurants once a week for the past three weeks. You may be wondering what it is like to have a meal from a restaurant without the Styrofoam clamshell, and I can attest that it’s incredible. I did not realize how much I missed that interaction with friends and colleagues, and I find it exceptionally interesting because I am considered introverted by many.
Let's set aside the biological need for human connection and conversation with like-minded individuals and focus on a common theme covered over all three meals: the difficulty of filling organizational roles and how many career opportunities exist today despite the fears and concerns in today's society. To be clear, we are talking about mid- to upper-level career positions.
Many people would argue this is an excellent problem to have, and in a lot of cases, I would include myself in that group. Interestingly today, the workforce is offering good jobs that, in the past, workers would compete for, that now go weeks on end without receiving a single application. Or similar jobs are receiving massive numbers of applicants who possess no skills required for the advertised position. And let us not get started on those leadership positions that require actual work and life experience.
What I am seeing as an employer is an increase in the amount applicants expect to be paid and a decrease in the skills they think should be required to earn that higher rate. Perhaps this is a perfect example of the free market at work reflecting a lack of need for updates to minimum wage laws, but I digress. My concern is rooted much more in what I see as a lack of desire to perform and achieve than it is in hourly wages and annual salaries.
Growing up, my parents’ voices seemed to play on a never-ending loop, telling me to go to college or I would never amount to anything, as was typical for most people my age. I guess people younger than I am were fed a heavy diet of the same based on the conversations I have had with folks who have recently graduated college and are entering the workforce. While, for many, this was a helpful push in the right direction, our parents could never have predicted how the workforce's views on careers would dramatically shift, beginning before COVID-19 and then being solidified during the shelter-in-place.
Those of us fortunate enough to have the responsibility of employing people are faced with a new challenge. Can we adapt and meet the needs of a workforce less interested in working "traditional" jobs while meeting the needs of our organizations? I wish I had the answer to that question or a suggestion to help you answer it. I am confident that the need to think creatively about hiring and work is more significant than ever before. And forgetting the "rules" that once dictated the employer/employee relationship is imperative to success in 2021.