Arizona Talent CoOp: We’re Under New Thinking

by: Meredith Floyd

Arizona Talent CoOp is “under construction” or more accurately, “under new thinking.” While we have enjoyed networking, problem-solving, and creating in our prior framework, change is necessary.

Since the onset of COVID-19, we have seen a fundamental shift in the workplace, in the ideals of employees, and a need to support that workforce diversely and innovatively; that has remained unchanged since the 1920s. Foundationally, we are accustomed to a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work model, where employees must travel to their workplace 5 days a week to complete their duties. COVID-19 has altered that ritual and mindset. Due to technological advances, labor is continuing to advance, adjust, and grow; and Arizona Talent CoOp must with it.

Waning employee motivation can be seen in numerous news headlines, like Business Insider, How to Avoid a Staff of Quiet Quitters, or Bloomberg, Quiet Quitting Has Gotten Worse. Before COVID-19, employees were motivated by a set of incentives that aren’t as alluring anymore, for example, “the corner office” or having a trendy office space with free snacks and coffee. Now, according to research done by Gallup in partnership with workhuman, “Only 1 in 4 employees strongly agree they feel connected to their culture and only 1 in 3 strongly agree that they belong at their organization.” (Gallup, Inc., 2022) Arizona Talent CoOp strives to be a place, where the burnt-out worker, can find purpose and enthusiasm in a freelance work style.

When employees’ motivation is lackluster, it leads to challenges in retaining them. COVID-19 brought us all (globally) face to face with death, and we behaved accordingly, we gathered our people, hunkered down, fiercely protected them, and began asking life’s big questions. According to The Harvard Business Review, “one area of our lives that was dramatically altered was our collective perspective related to work.” (Moss, 2022)

A question that has emerged from this collective perspective is, “Is it worth it?” More than ever employees are questioning whether their job recognizes the human element (Gallup, Inc., 2022) in them. Does this job care about my mental well-being? Does my manager give me flexibility if a personal situation arises? According to a recent study by Ernst & Young, “54% of workers left a previous job because their boss wasn’t empathetic to their struggles at work, and 49% said employers were unsympathetic to their personal lives.” (Moss, 2022) These questions are here to stay and to retain employees, we must respond.

With certainty, COVID-19 has shown us that work can continue “business as usual” from a home setting. The “work from home” model has eliminated routines such as, commuting to/from work, allowing for more instant family time, leisure outdoors with friends, or planning and preparing meals. According to Pew Research, “64% of those who are now working from home at least some of the time, but rarely or never did before the pandemic, say it’s easier now for them to balance work with their personal life.” (Pew Research Center, 2022) This is especially true for certain workforce populations, including women and parents.

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Annual Report, it showed in 2022, “47% of respondents say they are more likely to put family and personal life over work than they were before the pandemic.” (Microsoft, 2022) Trends are proving to leaders that there is an untapped workforce at home, who are likely highly skilled, and college-educated.

“Side hustle” culture is on the rise, after the pandemic and entering uncertain economic times. Along with Gen Z and Millennials looking to earn extra money, these two generations of people are looking for an increase in flexibility and creative opportunities. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Annual Report, “70% of Gen Z and 67% of Millennials say they are considering earning additional income via a side project or business in the next year.” (Microsoft, 2022) As Arizona Talent CoOp continues to innovate its framework, we want to include these highly capable individuals.

Arizona Talent CoOp is committed to thinking deeply about the prevailing questions in the workforce today, and how we can be a solution. We are building our new framework, piece by piece, using research and our held beliefs. This transition will not be swift, but we promise to be tactful and intentional. We will be building in the 1st Quarter of 2023, and we look forward to providing updates and future opportunities within Arizona Talent CoOp.

COVID-19 changed us, now it’s time for Arizona Talent CoOp to change too. (Moss, 2022)

Works Cited

Gallup, Inc. (2022). Unleashing The Human Element at Work: Transforming Workplaces Through Recognition. Washington D.C.: Gallup, Inc.

Microsoft. (2022, March 16). Work Trend Index Annual Report: Microsoft. Retrieved from Microsoft Corporation: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/great-expectations making-hybrid-work-work

Moss, J. (2022, July 01). Harvard Business Review: Business Management. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2022/07/the-pandemic-changed-us-now-companies-have-to change-too

Pew Research Center. (2022, February 16). Pew Research: COVID-19 & the Economy. Retrieved from COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Reshape Work in America:
https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/02/16/covid-19-pandemic-continues-to reshape-work-in-america/

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