Changes in the Workforce: Are Employer Relationships Over?

I remember when I was in high school, my parents stressed to me the importance of getting good grades, a good degree in college, so I could land a great job that would be my lifetime employer. After all, my father had been with the same employer since he was 25 and my mother had also been with the same employer for 15 years at that point. A few years after that conversation, the economy took a downturn and “employers of a lifetime” seemed like a distant memory for those entering the workforce. Sadly, it began to be a distant memory for those IN the workforce, as well.

As the years went on, full time employment became rarer and it wasn’t uncommon for people to be in and out of employers within a couple years. Employers started to focus more on utilizing temporary workers, freelancers, and contract workers for their business needs. And with this meant that the normal relationship, fidelity, and loyalty between employer and employee had weakened or completely vanished.

But with this unsteady, ever-changing workforce, do the benefits of “long term” employment have to end? Do employees have to go without benefits, training, and skill building? Do employers have to deal with talent that might not be the best fit yet because of lack of ramp up time? I don’t think so. I think that each party needs to take that extra step to bring back some of the qualities that the “good ol’ days” had and make it work in this situation.

As an employer, you need to take the time to make sure your “temporary” workers feel welcomed, appreciated, and have a place within your organization. Nothing is worse than working for a company temporarily and feeling like the outcast or feeling like your presence really makes no difference. Take the time to train them a bit and learn what skills the worker already has to offer, and try to utilize them. This can not only benefit your company but it can help you get more accomplished and can make the temporary employee feel like they have a purpose rather than just be involved in mind-numbing process.

As an employee, take the time to build relationships with those in your organization. Learn about the industry, network, try to understand processes better. Take any chance you can to build knowledge and skills and put them into practice.  Don’t be shy and wait for someone else to show you- take initiative! If you’re working for a staffing agency, find out what kind of benefits and training they offer. Many organizations now offer medical benefits and workshops to help their contractors feel taken care of and keep their skills up to date so they’re a stronger candidate in the future.

Maybe things have changed, but it doesn’t have to feel like a revolving door with nothing to show. We all can take our part to make the best of this new world of work. It’s time to start thinking it as a way to build opportunity.

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More links:

Is the Employment Romance Really Over?

TChat Recap

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Is Job Hopping Really a Bad Thing?

Some recruiting and hiring managers would look at a “job-hoppers” resume and most likely shred it without even a second thought. Job hopping was considered to be career suicide in the past because employers would consider the candidate to be a high-risk employee. The assumption was that they were flaky, would not be committed to a company, and would leave the company high and dry. This assumption has caused recruiters to turn the job hoppers away in previous years. The economy and workforce has changed since that outlook but, unfortunately, hiring practices have not changed with it.

Job hopping isn’t always a bad thing and recruiters shouldn’t turn away a candidate without digging deeper. Sure, there are the people that fit the unreliable, job-hopping stereotype. On the other hand, there are plenty of people in this economy’s workforce that do not. For example, some people may not have willingly job hopped. Over the recent years, many people have been laid off and/or have had a hard time finding stable work. Because of this, people may not have left jobs voluntarily or may have had to take odd jobs just to stay financially afloat. These individuals may have been the most dedicated and hardworking employees a company could have but were just dealt a bad hand. Without investigating their job history further, a recruiter may have missed a gem.

Another reason why a candidate may have job hopped is because they haven’t found what they are looking for. There are so many options a person can have when it comes to workplace, job type, culture, benefits, etc. Sometimes a person will take a position and realize it is not a right fit for them. Once they come to this conclusion, they may move on to find something they can be happy with. Is this a bad thing? No, it’s probably a good thing that a person is very set on what they want out of a job and employer. Will they potentially leave your company within the first year? Maybe, if you don’t take the time to determine if you are a fit for each other. This candidate clearly has an idea of what they want and what they won’t settle for. You know what your company can offer. It would pay to take the time to look deeper and see whether or not you would be a fit for each other before making the investment.

Some job hoppers take temporary/short-term positions to obtain experience for a company or position they have their heart set on. I could actually use myself as an example for this one. After finishing my BSBA in Human Resources I had attempted to apply for human resources based jobs only to be rejected due to lack of experience. Well, how was I supposed to get experience if no one would hire me to get it?  Simple: take temporary positions that were more flexible on hiring people with little to no experience. Sure, it’s been a bumpy ride over the past year and it’s been scary to not have a stable job, but it’s what I had to do. I could wait forever for a company to take a blind chance on me or I could take temporary jobs here and there and gradually build my experience to meet the requirements that the companies have. Job hopping was an investment for my future.  My resume probably looks like a recruiter’s worst nightmare but if you take away all the companies and job titles, you’ll be left with the experience, knowledge, and skills that companies require.

Sometimes job hoppers might be more valuable than employees that have been with you for years.  Job hoppers have experience in working with many different companies. Their experience will expose them to procedures, practices, software, and much more. Because they have knowledge of different ways of doing things, they may be able to help your company find ways to be more efficient. Maybe they can suggest a new way to do a task that can cut down the time to complete it. Maybe they know of software that would better suit your company’s needs. Perhaps they have connections or have networked with a client that you’ve been dying to get business from. I’m just saying: sometimes job hoppers can open minds, eyes, or doors for your company.

So, recruiters, next time you receive a resume that has a horrifying job history, please remember the details above before making assumptions about the candidate. Take the time to speak to the individual and assess whether or not they could be a good employee for your company or a costly decision. Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised. Some of these candidates may just be waiting to commit to a dream opportunity that presents itself.

Some other articles you can read on the subject:

http://excelle.monster.com/benefits/articles/3643-job-hopping-career-killer-or-savior

http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533347268