Employers’ market or employees’ market? Does it matter?

by | Jun 14, 2023

If you’re paying attention to the articles and news stories regarding workplace, hiring, and retention, and so on, you’ve probably seen conflicting reports. “The Great Resignation.” “The Great Boomerang.” “Employees’ market.” “Now it’s an employers’ market.” On it goes.

While employee retention, ensuring the right person is in the right seat, and having a fulfilling job are important, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s an employees’ market or an employers’ market. There are some basics that need to be in place regardless.

  • Treat people with respect. We’re all human and doing the best we can. I believe few people are truly deliberately malicious and manipulative. Most of us just want the best life we can have, and we’re all fallible. I can’t think of a situation which warrants being disrespectful to someone else. When we remember that we’re all doing the best we can, it puts the other humans around us in a different light. Also, keep in mind that we don’t know what’s going on with other people. That guy who gave you a dirty look when he passed you on the highway? You have no idea what conflict he’s dealing with mentally that has him off-kilter today.
  • Be honest. Research finds that 65% of employees crave feedback, and 43% of highly engaged employees have been receiving feedback at least once a week. That means we really want to know what we’re doing well and what needs improvement. Remember that whole “everyone is doing the best they can”? Well, honesty (combined with respect and grace) helps us all be our best.
  • Be direct. There’s a saying: “direct is kind.” Think about the guy in high school who keeps asking the girl out, and she always comes up with an excuse of why she’s busy. But she never tells him she’s not interested. So he keeps trying – and getting disappointed and feeling rejected. If she would directly (and kindly) let him know that he’s a great guy, but she’s just not interested, he can get over it and go on with his life. It is not kindness to string anyone along. If an employee really isn’t ready for that promotion, tell them why (and what they can do to improve). Don’t try to sugar coat or deflect with half truths.
  • Engage them. We want to make a difference. We want to be valued. We want to be acknowledged for the efforts we’re making. And we want to improve (back to the need for feedback). Show your people how they are integral to the organization. Explain how the duties they are performing are crucial and make a difference. In addition, communicate the mission, vision, and goals of the organization to make them feel even more of a part of something important.
  • Help them be successful. A great manager or leader truly believes in the adage, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” If you succeed, I succeed. If you help them be successful, their loyalty grows.

If you commit to these five elements as a leader, it won’t matter what kind of market the workplace is. You’ll develop your people, and the organization will thrive as a result.


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