Spherion Emerging Workforce Study based on years of research

March 1, 2013

Fifteen years ago, Spherion® uncovered significant changes and differentiations in the mindsets and expectations of workers. Often shaped by the economic and employment landscape, Spherion’s Emerging Workforce® Study uncovered different segments of workers and began a revolutionary way of tracking and understanding the changing attitudes of the American workforce and the resulting implications for those who employ them. Backed by renowned international polling firm Harris Interactive, the Emerging Workforce Study has produced findings in 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2013 in the context of ongoing social and economic events, each one unearthing significant trends and mindset changes in both U.S. workers and employer practices.

All in all, they have interviewed more than 200,000 workers and hundreds of companies in the past 15 years, helping organizations make better and more strategic HR decisions that will positively drive employee engagement, productivity, retention and an army of brand influencers.

Emerging Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace

How employers maintain an effective workforce in the post-recession era will depend largely on its ability to adapt to the changes in workers’ opinions and expectations about their career and the workplace. To thrive will require the pursuit of new, innovative and uncharted workplace strategies that produce a powerful talent engine—one that is engaged, productive and a positive influence on the brand.

Spherion’s latest Emerging Workforce Study offers clients deep insights into these new strategies as they pertain to a diverse set of employee groups and within the context of ongoing social and economic events.

Build an Engaged Workforce

Abundant research has proven the existence of a strong relationship between employees’ engagement and their respective company’s overall performance. Two broad strategies were identified in the 2013 Emerging Workforce Study that stand to impact how engaged and therefore, how motivated your workforce may be.

First, workers hired who are fundamentally mismatched to their job and employer culture, are never going to be highly-engaged. Second, the foundation of an engaged workforce is built upon high job satisfaction and loyalty to the organization.

Ignite a Highly-Productive Talent Machine

With extremely engaged workers comes better productivity, a must-have in the post-recession economy and modern day business model. Arguably one of the benefits of the 2008 recession is the fact that businesses have become vastly more productive.

Only 19% of employers have equipped themselves with the right mindset, policies and workforce structure to effectively compete for talent.

Source: Spherion® Emerging Workforce® Study

Corporations shed payrolls in anticipation of a drop in business, and have been making due with fewer workers even as demand started to pick up. This need to maintain high productivity levels will remain for the foreseeable future—making the productivity of workers a key business objective.

Nevertheless, the past two years have seen far too many employees pre-occupied with the impact of a shrinking economy and company downsizing, often leaving them grateful for just being able to keep the jobs they have and, consequently, leaving their leaders at a loss as to how to improve productivity in the face of a chaotic economy.

The 2013 Emerging Workforce Study reveals practical insights for companies’ seeking to drive productivity, including the need to build highly-trained workers and how work/life balance options are a must-have in the modern workplace.

Create an Army of Brand Influencers

How many times have you heard the statement “Our greatest asset is not in our inventory or our sales or our products—but in our people?” In today’s business environment, that takes on even greater meaning. In order to realize—and leverage—an employee’s full value, a successful company needs to turn its workforce into an army of brand influencers or employee evangelists.

This approach is an increasingly common way for brands to leverage their biggest asset—their workforce, of course—to reach new markets, generate buzz, and support online corporate reputation. They can be tweeters, bloggers, Facebookers—or they could just be the people you send to corporate events. More than your firm’s logo or an actor in your company’s commercial, your customers will come to know your ambassadors as true representatives for your business’s mission.

The Emerging Workforce Study explores elements to building brand convicted employees, including the importance of a clear, followed-through upon corporate mission and effectively utilizing social media to leverage your talent base and build brand reputation.

For more information on the Emerging Workforce Study or to schedule your own briefing, please call the local Asheville Spherion office at 828-277-4120.