Employers, times are a-changin’. The produce world and the mentality I grew up in—grinding it out from 6 a.m. (or earlier) to 5 p.m. and then answering calls until 1 a.m.—is, for the most part, not desirable to the younger generations. Being in the office all the time so your boss knows you’re working is not as accepted with the incoming workforce. People are coming from other geographical regions and verticals, and not just the small ag areas. They have skills, experience, and yes, sometimes other interests that provide options outside of ag.
In some cases, the younger professionals grew up watching Baby Boomers and Gen Xers grind it out, live it large, and chase “the Joneses,” and they want something different. Traditional media and social media are showing them lifestyles that are obtainable for the regular person, which was rarely imaginable 25 years ago—how I wish I knew I could be a “digital nomad” back in my 20s!
I’m not suggesting we have to acquiesce to the wants, whims, fads, and newfangled workplace options that we see in social media and California’s Silicon Valley.
As executive recruiters, we’re having conversations with employers and professionals (a.k.a. “job seekers”) all the time.
Part of our job is to understand the wants, needs, must-haves, wishes, and all the criteria related to each party. Most importantly, we want to make sure that the candidate and the company are an ideal fit.
Over the past two to three years, I’ve seen both parties evolve at a faster rate than in the years previous. For example, there are more employers hiring people on a remote or hybrid basis. With professionals, we’ve noticed more people who still want to make a good living while also placing greater value on “quality of life” factors, such as time out of the office.
So, what’s my point?
I am suggesting we all have to continue to be aware of what is important to job seekers and what our competitors—including other industries that are attracting talent—are providing them.
Understand you have to play the balancing act and how it can work positively for you and the other party.
For the incoming generation and other job seekers out there, know what is really critical to you. Have your priorities clear before you go into interviews and speak with potential employers. If lifestyle and balance are super essential, then there is a possibility you won’t be earning at the top of the scale. Conversely, if your number-one priority is to perform at a high level and “make bank,” then know that maybe 60-plus-hour weeks are part of the price you pay.
Likewise, employers, if that’s the case, make it known how you support balanced lifestyles and that the equation of hours, efforts, responsibilities, accountabilities, and results have to be balanced with the reasonable expectations of both parties.
It’s important that each party is open about their respective wants and needs, and both parties might have to give and take. As executive recruiters, we gather this info early and help work toward a match. For us, success also includes NOT matching a candidate and company when the fit is not there.
If you’re an employer and doing this on your own, I encourage you to clearly share your expectations, needs, and wants and to also listen closely for direct and indirect clues from candidates.
Success and happiness are more achievable when expectations and priorities are discussed upfront. That way, there are mitigated odds of surprises or failures to meet expectations that pop up down the road.
When all parties find that balance, the future is that much brighter—both for the employer and professional.