“Companies need to recognize that the power dynamic has changed — workers are going to demand more from them on multiple fronts,” said LinkedIn Chief Economist Karin Kimbrough. “Candidates are being much more selective about where they work, and workers are more vocal about what they want.”
Replacing sales reps is an expensive proposition, according to a 2015-2016 DePaul University study. When factoring in the opportunity cost of an open sales seat and the hiring and training expenses, replacing a sales rep costs $115,000.
Further complicating matters, buying team turnover spiked over the past year, up 31% in Q3. Thus, demand units are more difficult to navigate, and deals are more likely to be delayed due to key decision-maker departures. According to LinkedIn State of Sales 2021, 80% of sales reps said a deal was delayed or derailed due to buyer role changes over the past year.
Unfortunately, employee burnout rose 9% between April and July, just as employees were readying to return to the office, but Delta delayed such plans. Over the same period, employee happiness dropped three points.
“This simultaneous dip in employee happiness and spike in burnout is a warning signal: very few people want to return to pre-pandemic work life, said LinkedIn Head of People Science Strategic Development Amy Lavoie. “Part of the issue here is that the communications around organizations’ return-to-office plans can carry a dangerous subtext. It may look to employees that, while their leaders had prioritized their well-being and safety in the pandemic’s first stretch, they’re now focusing on business and advancing their own agenda at all costs, leaving employees’ concerns in the wake.”
“Employee well-being is not a fad; it is a fundamental human need,” continued Lavoie. “It’s not going to take care of itself as businesses start asking employees to return to the office. Employees are looking to their organizations to value their needs as full human beings and trust them to make decisions about how, when, and where they work. Until that happens, we will continue to see this deadlock between employees and organizations on happiness and burnout.” Employee priorities are shifting, with a greater emphasis on flexible work arrangements, inclusive workplaces, and work-life balance than just a few months ago. As a result, work-life balance is ranked as the top priority among job seekers.
Flexibility is key. Three out of five employees feel they are equally productive working from home and that their overall well-being is equal to or better than working in an office.
A Fortune Analytics survey of over 10,000 knowledge workers found that 76% of knowledge workers want flexibility in where they work, and 93% want flexibility in when they work. Additionally, 57% of knowledge workers are “open to looking for a new job in 2022.” However, among knowledge workers who are dissatisfied with the level of flexibility, the open to looking rate rises to 71%.
“Just last year, joblessness in the US was at its highest level since the Great Depression,” wrote Fortune Editorial Director Lance Lambert. “Scrambling to hold onto their jobs, workers started taking on extra responsibilities—something many of them hold onto today even though the economy has shifted into one of its strongest periods in recent memory. That explains why 19% of workers say their work-related stress is ‘poor,’ and another 33% say it’s ‘fair.’”
Fortune Analytics also found that workers with inflexible work schedules are 6.6 times more likely to report work-related stress.
LinkedIn Senior Content Manager Paul Petrone suggested three areas of investment to retain sales talent:
- “Career conversations and career development for your employees.
- Providing work-life balance, which should ideally include flex work.
- Diversity, inclusion, and belonging.”
Workers find it difficult to maintain a work/life balance, with 35% of workers telling GlassDoor that balance isn’t possible in their current role.
“Very few people both see a path forward and feel support for an internal career move,” observed LinkedIn People Science Senior Researcher Eric Knudsen. “Luckily, there’s a clear solution. While it’s natural for managers to worry about losing a team member, employees want learning and growth opportunities. So, whenever someone starts looking for their next opportunity, a lack of manager support could inspire an external move.”
Knudsen recommends that managers frame internal mobility as an opportunity and not a loss as they place an advocate and partner in another part of the organization. Furthermore, the organization retains talent, and cross-team collaboration is likely to rise.
“Work-life policies which are rigid or offer little flexibility are proving problematic for UK employees,” said Glassdoor Economist Lauren Thomas. “Our research has indicated that workers want autonomy over how they juggle their home and work lives and need employers to offer a range of options to support this. There also needs to be trust between the two parties — avoid micromanaging teams who are working from home.”
What’s more, Glint (a LinkedIn subsidiary) found that only one in five employees feel they can meet their career goals in their current organization, increasing the likelihood of departures.
I also recently wrote about The Great Reshuffle.