The Herman Trend Alert|
December 2, 1998
We're picking up on an interesting new trend. So far, we don't have enough evidence to see just how strong the trend may be, but we're hearing enough anecdotal input to raise a flag.
Employees leave their jobs to take a position with another company. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." After they hop the fence, many of these workers are discovering that the grass is crab grass, just like what they left.
Unhappy with their new circumstances, the workers don't stay long with their new employers. They're leaving. Some go to other companies in the same industry; some leave the industry altogether.
Other employees are coming back to their original employers. From the information we're receiving from a number of employers, about twenty percent are returning.
After they've seen what life was like "on the other side," the transferring employees are happy to be back where they were more comfortable. They talk about what they learned and express sincere appreciation that their first employer took them back.
Worker turnover is a major problem for employers in all fields throughout the country. With the labor shortage, companies have found it quite difficult to attract replacements, so the return of former employees has been a welcome surprise. Today's workers are looking for a sense of security, appreciation, and camaraderie. They are coming back to familiar surroundings to regain what they were seeking when they left.
Wise employers will use their returning employees as internal ambassadors of good will, reminding current employees of how good things really are at their companies. Supervisors will be more sensitive and communicative with returnees, bonding them more tightly to the organization. Our lifestyles are changing. And, as a result, so is the world around us.
The strong economy has created greater demands on employers and on their employees. There's so much to do! And with the labor shortage, there simply aren't enough people to get it all done in the "normal" eight-hour day. So, people are working longer hours.
With both parents working (in dual income households) and a large proportion of single parents (moms and dads), the kids need some serious attention in the precious little time when the folks aren't at work. Maintaining some sort of balance between work and kids requires creative juggling and a re-examination of priorities. When can we get the shopping done? Run errands? Take care of all those little details of life?
More retailers are shifting to longer hours. Grocery stores, pharmacies, discount stores, and similar merchants are now open 24 hours. We're seeing evening hours at automotive service centers and specialty stores like Barnes & Noble (open until 11:00 p.m.). What's next?
Need an x-ray? Santara Hospitals in Norfolk offer 24-hour scheduling for radiology services.
The trend? Expect to see even more services available on a late-night or 24-hour basis. Municipal government offices, attorneys and accountants, doctors and dentists, florists, dry cleaners, repair shops, and maybe even the post office will be open later. Schools may be open later soon-giving the kids more education and reducing childcare needs.
How can merchants maintain those hours in times of a labor shortage? They employ people whose spouses are working other shifts and people who want to work more than one job. And they design staggered schedules for workers, spreading the work over a longer period of time . . . and thus making greater use of existing facilities.
Watch for companies to begin promoting long hours more as they compete for the business they need to keep going. And, anticipate continual evolution in how we spend our time to fulfill work, personal, and family obligations.
© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or https://hermangroup.com. To sign up, visit https://HermanTrendAlert.com. The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."
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