This is the sixth in a series of articles for consideration when thinking about Your Next Next™. The content is based on the Springer-Alvarez talent development model for Employees and Employers.
No question the Pandemic has changed the world of work. Prudential Financial’s study, “Pulse of the American Worker” (March, 2021), indicated that 1 in 4 workers are planning to look for other opportunities. During the pandemic, many workers have faced new realities about their jobs, their lives, and how they want their world to look.
In the midst of the pandemic, organizations had to scramble to shift their businesses to online and their workforce to a remote structure. And though skills were acquired – fast, these skills and tools were focused for business survival and growth but not necessarily for employee learning and development.
While remote workers adapted to these demands, they also had to try to balance their home life and responsibilities with their work life. Boundaries were blurred. We as coaches have heard our clients struggle with boundaries and having to be online. All. The. Time. But as the pandemic dragged on, most employees became better at fitting in their personal needs into a long work week. As a result, now many workers prefer an all-remote or hybrid work arrangement.
Now employees are learning about their fate for the future. Some will remain remote workers, some will start a hybrid schedule, and others will be expected to come back into an office fulltime. Many businesses have changed during the past year and have been forced to redesign jobs or adjust budget. Whatever is decided, the majority of workers have significantly changed in the past 15 months. What they accepted pre-pandemic, has now been altered. What are the implications?
For workers who are looking to pivot, there is a silver lining. The job market is booming! Companies are quickly realizing that despite their return-to-office plans, many high potential employees are simply not interested. More and more jobs are listed as “remote” roles, including senior leadership roles. There are still companies who are sticking with their traditional model and expect their employees to be onsite daily, however, they are quickly finding themselves in competition for the best talent, many of whom will be lured away by more flexible and autonomous options.
After a year at home, many employees had time to be thoughtful about their careers, and are now focusing on their own career growth. As businesses begin to open-up and think about how they want their workplaces to look, employees will be doing the same. Recently, Texas A&M University Associate Professor Anthony Klotz shared with Bloomberg Businessweek that the great resignation is coming.
We think now is an ideal time to explore what Your Next Next can look like. Whether you are motivated by a new career, a new way of working (remote or onsite) or opportunities for advancement or skill development, use this time to plan your next move.
How? There is no secret sauce to identifying your next next, however, there are some key learnings you should have to clarify what’s next.
Coming out of the pandemic, having a strong sense of how you want your work world to look is essential. Identify your preferences – remote, hybrid or onsite. Explore what return-to-office means for your company and determine timing and protocols for returning. Will you have an opportunity for informal interactions, or will you be in a space with little interaction? Are your colleagues returning, or will you be going into the office yet still be communicating with your colleagues by video or phone? Where will your boss and stakeholders be?
Get clarity around how your job and the content of your work has changed or remained the same. Know your skills and abilities and where you tend to thrive. Know what skills you still would need or would like to acquire. Many workers took the time during the pandemic to build new skill sets. What new skills or new challenges do you want? Can your current role offer that?
Think about what role or company you would like to target. Talk to people if you are unsure. Informational interviews are a great way to start an exploration journey and offer the benefit of developing valuable professional contacts. Many companies are eager to re-staff as soon as possible and realize that they need to be flexible and open to speaking to career changers in order to fill positions. Companies are also quickly investing in more training in order to receive new talent. Seize this moment!
Look Before You Leap
Yes, it’s a job seeker’s market, especially if you have desired skills in the market. Employees in many fields can demand more flexibility and more compensation. With that said, there is always risk in a job change. Do your due diligence. Many red flags are publicly available or can be explored through your network. Ask why positions have been vacated. Learn about the management team. Dig into your boss’ management style. Understand the company’s financials and the view from the market. Read reviews on sites such as Glassdoor. Ask about the onboarding plan, especially if you are starting remotely.
While it’s impossible to learning everything about a company and its employees prior to accepting a job, take control of the timing before accepting. There should be no mystery to a job prior to accepting. If you need more time or need to speak to others before feeling comfortable, be sure to ask for it. Once a company has decided that you are the right fit, it is rare that they are willing to lose you because you need a little more time for due diligence.
There has been no better time in recent history to explore Your Next Next. You have persevered through the pandemic and a new world of work is in front of you. Are you ready?
Your Next Next™ is coaching and consulting for career development. Our approach is one that leads to more meaningful and deeper conversations about career aspirations and organizational needs. Founded by Eileen Springer and Christine Alvarez, who are executive and leadership coaches. Visit us at www.yournextnext.com
Co-Founder of YOUR NEXT NEXT™
Co-Founder of YOUR NEXT NEXT™