Your workers aren’t as concerned about getting laid off as you think. A recently released Harris Poll survey on behalf of HR technology platform Justworks found that the biggest recession-related concern among workers is that the employee-first cultures developed during the pandemic will soon fade.
While 42% of the over 1,000 survey respondents say that they are, in fact, worried about getting laid off, a larger share of workers (52%) says they’re concerned about worsening company culture. Employees got used to workplace cultures prioritizing workers’ needs and desires for balance and flexibility.
“Folks are asking what’s going to change,” says Justworks SVP of people Allison Rutledge-Parisi. “So those conversations are definitely underway, and that’s healthy. There should be a transparent back and forth between manager and direct report.”
Anecdotally, she says, many employees are asking their leaders for a heads-up about which cultural norms and workplace policies might change in the coming months, so they can better prepare or adjust.
Rutledge-Parisi says HR executives can assuage these concerns by speaking transparently about what’s happening in the macro environment. Hence, employees feel like they play a part in helping their companies navigate through potentially tough times.
“The more that you can be transparent and open about the pressures and the path forward, the more folks will engage in the work and stop reading headlines and freaking out,” she tells Fortune. “As an HR leader, reminding business leaders how critical that is is huge.”
Worth noting: Employees care less about losing a few pandemic-era cultural perks if they know it could help them keep their jobs. Once people feel seen and heard, they tend to get on board with a company’s plans.
“It’s a moment where companies that care to maintain culture are going to have to over-communicate, listen, and then respond, really reflecting back what they’ve heard,” says Rutledge-Parisi.
The most compelling data, quotes, and insights from the field.
Having trouble finding workers? It could be due to an increase in self-employed workers. New research finds that independent contractors may account for about 15% of the labor force, roughly two times higher than the Bureau of Labor Statistics' estimate of about 7%.
“The findings have important implications for the economy. They suggest a greater share of the workforce lacks many of the protections—such as benefits, labor regulations, and insurance—afforded to employees. Separately, if many more have extra sources of income, that could help explain the resilience of consumer spending in the face of high inflation, which has been baffling economists.” —Bloomberg
Around the Table
A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.
- With its sunny weather, ample jobs, and no state income tax, Florida is attracting many remote workers who, in the past, would have lived in major cities like New York. Insider
- Career changes often result from a series of small choices rather than a single, drastic decision. Wall Street Journal
- Hairstylist, ballroom dancer, and building super are some surprising jobs to have noncompete clauses, once reserved for corporate roles. Washington Post
- Despite almost three years of hybrid work, some experts are still unsure what the future of work will actually consist of. Financial Times
- The rise of women with disabilities in the workforce may be attributable to long COVID, according to the Brookings Institution. Bloomberg
Everything you need to know from Fortune.
The new offsite. Corporate offsites have transformed from glorified, boozy field trips to meaningful team-bonding experiences. —Paige McGlaughlin
Jetsetters. A Montana construction firm found the employment crunch so bad it rented a jet to fly employees to one of its plants. —Eleanor Pringle
Women at work. The labor force participation rate for women is back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate for men, however, is still 0.3 percentage points lower than pre-pandemic. —Megan Leonhardt
Spite hiring. A Silicon Valley venture capitalist says Google intentionally over-hired to keep them from working at competitors. —Eleanor Pringle
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