The Scarcity of Productive Workers – HR Challenges in 2022

CRE Workforce Dynamics & Hiring in 2022

Author: Forbes J. Rutherford, Principal, Rutherford International Executive Search Group Inc., Managing Director, NEXTalent Marketplace & Job Board, T: 855-256-5778 or Chat

Introduction: In Q2/2020, Rutherford International asked 204 senior multi-sector industry leaders within Canada’s commercial real estate industry to rank the political, economic, social and technological threats they expected to face through Q4/2021. Participants with direct or indirect authority over their resource plans also provided details. Please note, the data collection was completed early on in the pandemic when few of us foresaw an extended lockdown.

This article is the sixth in a series of commentaries that examine potential threats to Canada’s CRE industry, post-pandemic workforce dynamics and the probable impact on industry employment in 2022.

Hiring Challenges in 2022  – The Scarcity of Productive Workers 

Returning to the Office Status Quo isn’t a Panacea 

Workforce engagement and productivity have always been challenging, leading to a bevvy of expensive employee engagement programs. COVID19 has added another dimension to this grand corporate I/O Psychology experiment for encouraging workforce productivity. And yet, statistically exact though understandably provocative, pre-COVID19 research study determined that seventy-three per cent of employees were unhappy with their job.

How do you motivate a dissatisfied employee?

And yet, further studies applying productivity metrics suggest employees working from home since the COVID19 lockdown has increased their productivity. These are metrics worthy of further investigation, especially when recent research implied a third of WFH employees hold a second job.

“73% of Employees are Dissatisfied With Their Jobs”

Gartner Study, 2019

Productivity Improvement in a Distributive Workforce? 

Why is productivity similar or higher for distributive workforces?

Perhaps a segment of the 73% of employees claiming job dissatisfaction before COVID19 changed their minds by working from home for eighteen months. Add this group to the 27% cohort of employees satisfied with their jobs, and the calculus adds up to increased productivity. Whatever the reason, employees have learned the escalated value of WFH on their quality of life. No private-sector employer should be surprised if their staff return to the pre-COVID19 in-office status quo unwillingly.

Public and private sector employers should not be naïve about employee engagement. Working from home or hybrid may reduce the percentage of employees dissatisfaction but only marginally. For many, working from home has reinforced their job dissatisfaction, which may also explain why one-third of WFH employees have found a second job. They’re seeking a means to pivot from their job.

Although productivity numbers have stayed even or improved, companies should realize some members of their workforce want to work remotely “to avoid working.” However, an even more significant segment of employees, “the social ones,” prefer being in an office environment, the same ones who typically engage in unnecessary social interaction at the expense of maximizing their performance.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the most effective employee engagement program is helping an employee discover why they seem disengaged. This can be achieved with the help of a science-based behavioural assessment. Once completed and the decision is made for the employee to remain with the firm, the next step is to leverage the assessment findings by charting a custom career development plan for the employee that is designed for success.

No One Aspires to be Average

Often, dissatisfaction occurs from not charting the right path early in one’s career. It is not uncommon for a person to choose a career to satisfy someone else’s aspirations. Influencers can be both positive and unintentionally negative. The best post-secondary gift one can receive in life is to learn what careers they could pursue, where they will high-perform. Many psychometric tools claim this predictive utility; however, only two such global tools are worthy of the claim.

Learn More About Rutherford International’s NEXTpath Career Diagnostics

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