Motivation for job change under pandemic circumstances

Working in pandemic circumstances has become our “new normality” hence HR departments have been forced to adapt their way of working and thinking accordingly. A logical question arises: what about candidates? How do they manage to adapt to change? Are they sufficiently motivated and ready to change job in this stressful period?

Need for security – one of the main drivers for candidates to change job is the need for a sense of security, which is rather scarce today during the rage of Covid-19. Many employees lost their jobs, others were forced to change their way of working, some were forced to accept poor working conditions in order to keep their jobs. When a candidate feels that another company is offering that sense of security and correct conditions, it lights up a flame for a job change.

Career development, company’s potential, salary and benefits, even though important factors, fall behind the need for security, stability and flexibility of companies to adopt to changes in the pandemic circumstances (home office, flexible working hours, health measures, understanding from management …).

Interpersonal relationships – have a high impact on people’s motivation at all times but especially now during the pandemic circumstances. Today, candidates are even more careful in changing jobs and they often double check company’s reputation on the market with special attention to the organizational culture and interpersonal relationship. We as HR consultants are frequently asked questions concerning management to employee relationship or related to the climate within the team itself. It has almost become a regular practice especially with candidates on the management positions to investigate on their potential employers before proceeding for an interview. This reflects to the very similar process that we conduct on candidates during our regular executive search assignments which proves once again how careful candidates are today when changing their job.

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Unrealistic management goals and poor communication – are one of the frequent capsules that trigger off motives for job changes today.  They usually cause overheating and making candidates feel unhappy and also disappointed at times. Statistics have shown an increase in overtime work for large number of employees during the pandemic circumstances which may lead to reduced efficiency and quality of work but even to burnouts. Hence it is very important that managers recognize this on time in order to prevent possible outcomes and to restore a work: life balance formula.

Firms that maintain a fair and correct approach to employees during the pandemic circumstances and those who do not use this situation to gain cheap points will get loyal, happy and motivated people on the long run.  We also notice trends in employee motivation towards more stable industries and the transition of candidates from the luxury and auto industries to the growing food, retail and logistics industry.

Personal frustrations and dissatisfaction – sometimes the motive for a job change is not justified. Some candidates seek change for completely wrong reasons. Personal frustration and dissatisfaction can be  often reflected to the job environment. The first and right question for every candidate in the selection process concerns their true motivation for a job change. How confident are the candidates in their decision to change jobs? Changing jobs due to personal feelings without previous deeper analysis of the roots will not solve any personal problem, it will only postpone a problem and transfers it to a new job environment.


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The task of a successful HR consultant is to guide the candidate smoothly through the entire selection process by providing clear & timely information that would keep the candidates motivated and confident for their career change. We have also noticed that candidates nowadays come more often in to temptation of withdrawing their applications during the selection process as a  rational fear of uncertainty (“what was” and “what will be”) and the longer this stage lasts the more indecisive the candidates become until they eventually give up. That is why it is crucial that the entire selection process in such conditions takes place as efficiently as possible. Other candidates may be only benchmarking their position on the market without true intention of making a change.

Regardless of the new changes, we notice that it is increasingly difficult to reach expert candidates (engineers, doctors, veterinarians, construction profiles …) as their demand on the market is constantly growing and the pool of  new experienced candidates is not following this trend.

The labour market is changing dramatically and we anticipate that HR’s job will be increasingly demanding and difficult. As well as candidates, HR personnel are also going through these new changes (remote and more flexible working style, online interviews, use of new technology, etc)  in order to be prepared for the new challenges of today and market demands that lie ahead of us.

Article written by Rašo Pazarkić, CFR Global Executive Search Serbia

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