Facing the Employee vs Employer Dilemma: Who's Got the Power?


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Thursday, November 24, 2022

The last two years have seen the balance of power shift in the workplace, but as the economy changes once again, who’s in control - employees or employers?

Article 3 Minutes
Facing the Employee vs Employer Dilemma: Who's Got the Power?

The world of work changed dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, readjusting the balance of power between employees and employers. Demand for talent, the so-called great resignation and an emphasis on company values being in line with those of individuals, mean businesses found themselves on the back foot.

Now, job security is far from guaranteed once more, as the economy tightens and companies announce lay-offs. Where does this leave the employee vs employer dilemma and can the swing from one side of the scale to the other be managed smoothly to benefit both parties? Staff won’t want to give up the gains made through the power dynamic shift and businesses playing the long game should recognize this.

True leaders align with their employees’ needs

While some managers have panicked about the employee-employer power shift, true leaders have seen it for what it really is - an opportunity. Instead of demoralizing those at the top of businesses, the abrupt changes brought about by the pandemic moved workplace practices forward and were embraced by the most dynamic organizations.

As circumstances change again, so will the interplay of power, but the best candidates retain the ability to shape how their working life is set out. Employers that don’t recognize this will find themselves hemorrhaging key members of staff or finding job offers not being taken up as organizations with a more visionary outlook win the battle for talent.

Remote workers can access a nationwide labor market

Knowledge workers are no longer bound by their geographic locations as many skills are now easily transferable across roles and can be performed remotely. That opens up the entire country’s labor market, allowing talented individuals to take their pick of jobs as opposed to focusing their search on a local area.

For service workers, the reality is very different. A shortage of roles in specific locations takes away their power to choose their employer and the circumstances under which they work. This is making the gap between the knowledge class and the majority of the workforce, who need to handle products and equipment, bigger than ever.

Hybrid working models

Another debate that’s been raging is whether employees should go into the office if their responsibilities can be carried out at home. Both circumstances can have value and it shouldn’t be the case that when employees have more power they get to choose and when the labor market is in control it dictates where staff work.

Post-pandemic, many businesses are settling on a hybrid working model that takes advantage of both situations. Employees can benefit from touching base with other team members in the office regularly, but also cut down on the amount of commuting by spending several days a week working from home.

Avoiding high staff turnover

One of the most difficult areas to get right in the balance of power between employees and employer is career progression. Talented staff want to be able to progress in their field and often feel they have to switch companies in order to make significant advances, which drives staff turnover.

Motivating employees with a clear career path and the support to work through it is an effective way of combating high levels of turnover. It also demonstrates that the power dynamic can be balanced in a way that is mutually beneficial for both parties. Businesses with a culture of cooperation and shared interests with staff will be rewarded with loyal employees.

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