April 24, 2024

What Do We Want? Flexibility. When Do We Want It? Now.


Episode Highlights

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Welcome to this week’s Talent Insights segment, where we’re diving into the evolving landscape of workplace flexibility. Gone are the days when employees were all about the grind for compensation and climbing the career ladder.

Remote work? Hybrid setups? You betcha. People want the freedom to choose where and when they work. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, finding that perfect work-life balance is key.

Emily and Ryan talk about popular trends like the four-day work week? It’s not just a fantasy anymore—it’s a reality. Side hustles and part-time gigs? They’re all the rage. Employees are chasing their passions while still crushing it in the 9-to-5.

So, whether you’re a candidate on the hunt or a company looking to attract top talent, here’s the scoop: prioritize flexibility. It’s the secret sauce to keeping your workforce happy, engaged, and ready to take on the world.

Until next time, stay flexible, folks!

Episode Transcript

This week in the Talent Insights segment, we’re discussing kind of the emphasis on flexibility in the workplace.

I know there’s been a ton of value placed on workplace flexibility these days. Absolutely. Especially when we look at Just the past, I think it’s always good. Whenever we do these segments, we like to look, you know, in the past, look forward, kind of compare the two, you know, employees have always had different motivating factors when it comes to selecting a job, selecting a company.

And in years past, we’ve seen employees really placed a pretty significant emphasis on compensation, overall total rewards, as well as things like upward mobility or opportunity for career growth. These days, though, while we still see compensation being a top driver, we’re seeing a pretty dramatic increase in the value that’s been placed on flexibility in the workplace.

A hundred percent. And I mean, like when we think about work, you know, flexibility, I think the obvious that comes to mind, and we’ve talked about this a ton on the show is remote or hybrid work, right? I think that’s like the number one thing these days when people are thinking about like work flexibility.

We’ve talked about the in office mandates that we’re seeing right now in the market. And I think while a lot of people are actually prioritizing hybrid work right now, they don’t want to be mandated. I talked to a lot of candidates and we get asked actually, like, you know, if you’re a company and you’re watching this. Here’s some free market insights for you. Right. That’s what we’re here for. We get asked about this, honestly, clients ask frequently, like, what are you seeing in the market? Like, do candidates want to go back into the office? Honestly? Yeah, we do at least on the sales side of things and it depends on the market.

I know we’re working on a role in New York right now. And in more cities than like New York, very much so, I feel like candidates are like, I’d love to be back in the office a few days. So I think it depends on, you know, the location. But, people are prioritizing hybrid work right now, but they don’t want to be mandated.

They don’t want to be forced. Talked about this a few episodes ago. They still want the flexibility to kind of choose when they go into the office, when they work from home. That’s the big one, right? We’ve talked about that one in the past, remote work, hybrid work. I guess I’d love to kind of hear what other types of flexibility you’re seeing that people are craving in terms of work.

Yeah. I mean, flexibility, when we say that it’s a word that encompasses a number of different things. And one of the first things that comes to mind to me, I often have this conversation, especially with folks in the HR space is hours, whether folks are coming in a little bit earlier. So that they can leave work a little bit earlier, coming in a little bit later.

So, you know, whatever kind of works best for their situation. The flexibility for start and end time, I think is really important and that’s encompassing, you know, a variety of things. It could be for parents, for caretakers, maybe it’s based off of where they live and then they can start a little bit later.

Perhaps it’s avoiding traffic. A number of different things that can go into that. But when there’s flexibility around certain end times, I think that creates a lot of interest for many individuals. But overall work life balance, I think, is something that’s become super prevalent and important post 2020, obviously, but the flexibility to like work more when you need to, and then scale back a little bit when maybe your life requires it.

Like, that’s also something that folks are really interested in. For a while, there was the hot topic of the 4 day work week. And seeing that compressed type of work week is something that’s trending quite a bit. And we’ve noticed it’s worked for many companies and organizations, too. That’s coming up a little bit more frequently. I’ll give an example, I’ve worked with someone for a long time that’s been a consultant through Hirewell for well over a year, and she’s been working a 4 day work week through that entire time. And it’s been really wonderful for her and her family, but also for, you know, the client that she’s working with, they’re getting everything they need out of those four days too.

So, there are cases where things like this definitely work. I feel like that was such a hot topic, like two years ish ago. We’re all talking about like the four day work week and who’s trying it? I have a friend whose company does it, like marketing PR agency in Chicago. And I mean I hear great things, but I think like-

Totally. Like you said, it’s a great example of just like flexibility. Yeah. And I mean, Europe has been doing that for how long? Always on the uptrends over there. We need to take more notes sometimes, from them. I think we do. We definitely do. But the one thing that I think has been so interesting recently, and that is a different take on flexibility than I’ve thought of in years past, is the ability to pursue side hustles or part time gigs too.

Okay. I feel like you’re speaking to me personally. I’m going to shout out Hirewell, who’s allowed me like flexible work hours, you know, like when I was working full central hours and now like the part time thing. I know we’ve talked about like the side hustle before, like I’ve had like a fitness business pursuing that, but this has come up I’d say like weirdly two or three times for me in the past, like two and a half, three weeks with candidates. I’ve seen this a ton recently to have had a few candidates that are a hundred percent full throttle looking for a new full time job, but also looking to maintain their part time gigs when they start their new full time role.

I know that this happens a decent amount of the sales side. Like, I’m working with a couple of folks right now that are consulting, like, startup SaaS companies on like their go to market strategy and are also looking to get in full time as like an early stage account executive. We do for those watching, our go-to-market recruiting team recruits a lot for like very, very early stage founding AEs.

So I think that’s really interesting that you mentioned this. A lot of hiring managers and companies honestly frown upon this, that an employee can’t give 100 percent to like this new full time role into this company if they have a gig on the side, but we’re seeing more and more that maintaining a side hustle is like, kind of just becoming the norm. Like, it’s becoming more normal. I hope if you’re watching this and you’re a hiring manager who has had that mindset in the past of like, well, you can’t get 100%. You know, you have to cut everything off on the side and like, just work here. I hope if you’re watching this, like, you can maybe start to have a bit of an open mind and think of that as

Change that perspective. Yeah. And like, think of it as a way that you’re offering your employees, like some flexibility, right? To like bring it back to the topic today, because I think, you know, great candidates and great talent and great employees can still give a hundred percent to their job while like maintaining certain, you know, passions on the side.

Totally. Yeah. And I’m glad you brought that piece up, Em, because I think for a while too, I kind of personally had an assumption that maybe folks that had side gigs or, you know, were working part time for whatever reason. Like, I don’t think it clicked for me that a lot of times that is like a passion of theirs.

And like, that’s something that they want to maintain. I don’t think that I thought like deeply enough about it, but interestingly enough, I’ve had a few folks that I placed in the recent few months that have super high level positions within organizations, we’re talking like C suite level roles and have side gigs. They-

Like consulting on the side type of thing? Consulting on the side, they’re doing like speaking engagements, or maybe they’re just working with like a handful of clients over the years that they maintain relationships with to kind of serve as a subject matter expert in different ways. Like there’s just such a wide variety of what people can do with their spare time. And I think it’s up to the individual, like how they want to maximize it, but having the flexibility to have your full time role that you’re focused on, like we said, a hundred percent.

That percentage isn’t changing, but also having the bandwidth to lean into your passions a little bit more or focus on your development by consulting in different ways, whatever it may be, like, folks are craving that type of flexibility the same way they’re craving the remote work or the hybrid work or different hours.

And I think too, like you just asked hiring managers to kind of change their mindset around that. Like, can’t we maybe think of it as a good thing? Totally. That like they’re gaining experience and exposure to different things that could help them in their full time job. Like, I think that’s maybe a better way to look at it instead of thinking, “Oh, well, they won’t be able to like give a hundred percent to this company and to this job.” Think of it as like, wow, they’re gaining new experiences and new knowledge and you know, some stuff that will make them a more well-rounded employee for us. Maybe just kind of change your mindset in that way. I love that. Yeah. A hundred percent Em. So we’ve talked about a variety of different things but what’s been coming up recently is because there’s such this huge emphasis on flexibility right now. And that being such a driving factor for candidates in terms of deciding when to look for a job, what jobs to consider, what companies to think about.

We’ve noticed that more and more people are actually taking lateral moves for the opportunity to have more flexibility. However, they’re defining that in the workplace, which has been a really unique pivot. Like over the past couple of years, compensation has been a big driving factor, growth has been a big driving factor, but having that emphasis on flexibility and that being the decision maker for many folks right now is an interesting change.

I think that’s a good point. I’m thinking back, you know, all the conversations I’ve had with candidates recently. And if you’re thinking of a few common themes, I feel like, and again, the normal ones are still coming up. Right? Of what like employees want, you know, they’re looking for more money.

They’re looking for, I mean, I hear a lot of times looking for opportunity for growth. Like that’s still stuff I hear a lot, but you’re right. I think it’s coming up more and more that people are open to being like, “Hey, I’m fine making what I’m making, I’m fine with a similar title, a similar level, but I’m unhappy in my current role because there’s not enough flexibility.” And whether that be like, where you work, you know, hours of the day, work life balance, et cetera, ability to pursue side things.

So, I mean, I think if we’re sort of going to offer like some advice to end this, I’d say on the candidate side, if you’re starting your search, like think about your top maybe it’s three priorities. And think before you’re getting into your search, like maybe I am willing, like you’re saying, to like take a lateral move or maybe even a pay cut, if it means more work flexibility.

Like what is really, really important to you and your search? And I think on the company side too, start to rethink your strategy in attracting and retaining top talent. Right. Even if you’re not thinking about like your recruiting strategy of how you’re going to attract new people, but talked last week about retention.

So I think like a few years ago, we might’ve said like, you need to look at your compensation bands and your overall compensation packages. And yes, that is still important, right? Like you, you need to make sure that you’re competitive in those areas as well. But I really think now more than ever, it’s also really important to think about, you know, as a company how you’re providing a flexible work environment. I think that is a huge priority. It definitely is and all really good points that you shared. The market’s ever changing we talk about this often. The one thing you can count on is that the market’s always going to change. And I think now candidates are really driving the piece of flexibility. And if you are an organization that is struggling to hire, looking to hire, planning, whatever it may be, this is something that needs to be a part of your conversation in terms of your talent strategy.

You have to make adjustments to adjust for the ever changing market. So this is what’s a top priority for many, many candidates right now. If you have not thought about flexibility and listen, we gave like a variety of different ways that you can consider flexibility. It’s not a one size fits all, survey your employees, see what’s important to them from a flexibility standpoint.

We’re not saying that you have to do a four day work week. We’re not saying that you have to go a hundred percent remote, but there are a variety of ways that you can consider creating a more flexible environment for your current employees that can make their lives a little bit easier to attract new potential employees too. But this is definitely a topic that needs to be taken into consideration. A hundred percent. I even think about some stuff that I love about our job. Yeah. I mean, we are 100 percent remote. The top things that come to mind about like, why I like working at Hirewell, like a huge part. I mean, you think of the people, of course there’s other things, but like in the top three is flexibility for me. A hundred percent.

Me too. Yeah, it definitely is. So take a note out of the Hirewell textbook. Create some flexibility for your folks. Yeah. And of course, we’ll keep reporting back, hopefully it’s helpful for companies to hear just like what we’re hearing in the market about what candidates, employees are prioritizing.

It’s ever changing, like you said, but right now flexibility, it’s the hot thing. It sure is. It sure is. Well, great topic, Em, I’m glad we had a chance to cover this. I know we’ve been mulling on it for a while, just based off of a lot of the chats we’ve been having with folks. So good to give the people some new market insights on what’s going on.

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