The Future of Workforce Trends
by Cathy Grider, Workforce Development Manager
With an unemployment rate hovering around 1.7%, businesses recognize the war for talent and the need to re-envision how they recruit and retain their teams. The world of work has evolved over the last two years as business leaders navigated rapidly changing environments. For many, the model of a hybrid workforce and mobility became the new normal. Geographical barriers to employment have diminished with the introduction of a new sense of globalization. Employers are now focused on the whole employee, both personally and professionally, incorporating health and well-being. In many situations, the organizational culture has seen a dramatic overhaul.
Despite internal changes, businesses continue to see significant struggles from the impact of the labor market. As a result, they are seeking innovative strategies for how they hire. Employers are looking to resolve labor shortages in creative ways.
Career readiness, a new way forward. Career technical education is renovating the way youth learn. Educators offer skills, knowledge, and experiences before high school graduation that prepare students for their future. Today, more than ever, employers are looking at ways they can assist in career and technical education to create a pathway for career-ready graduates that are ready to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation. Additionally, employers are finding ways to integrate postsecondary students within their teams and supporting their journey by allowing the students to apply skills in other ways while they are working on an industry-specific degree.
Developing our emerging leaders. Young professionals can bring a fresh perspective and different ways of thinking to one's business. Further connecting them with young professional networks, like NextGEN, a program of the Billings Chamber, can foster relationships and help them find a community they are proud to call home. Encouraging young professionals to engage with other like-minded peers builds a sense of purpose, while investing in their professional development demonstrates a commitment to the individual.
Diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a non-negotiable priority for business growth. DEI can play a significant role in attracting candidates, especially from outside of Billings and Montana. The Billings Chamber of Commerce promises to lead the way in embracing diversity to create an inviting, inclusive community for people of all backgrounds. The Chamber has invited the business community to join their journey through the DEI Network and online business resource center at billingsdei.com.
Military service transition. The U.S. Army has implemented the Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program. This unique program provides America's youth with an opportunity to serve their country while preparing for their future, partnering with America's business community, and reconnecting America with its Army. PaYS partners guarantee soldiers an interview and possible employment after their military career. "About 100,000 leave the Army every year. Our job is to make them successful when they land back either in their hometowns or where they want to be," said U.S. Army TRADOC Commanding General Paul Funk.
Encore careers. Welcoming back retirees that left the workforce during the pandemic is another tool to ease the labor crunch. New returnship and reentry programs target experienced workers that may want to job share, work part-time, or commit to a limited schedule. For many, working provides more than a paycheck—it provides a social outlet, happiness, and purpose. Staying in the working world can provide many lifestyle benefits that are attractive to retirees and financial gains for seasoned talent.
The workplace of the future will require companies to be purpose-driven, human-centered cultures led by visionary leadership. Culture and leadership are some of the most important aspects of a sustainable workforce model in an environment where continual learning is embraced and welcome.