Social norms include regulatory, cultural, generational, and socioeconomic norms, to name but a few. These norms change over time due to a wide range of factors. As an example, it used to be the norm for workers to retire at 65; but today, many are working beyond that age due to financial pressures or personal preference. Similarly, early adopters of technology may be leading the way in remote work, but while one might expect those workers to be Millennials, they might well be Baby Boomers with considerable experience who want to remain professionally active.
Another important development is talent’s increasing desire to work for companies whose purpose aligns with their personal values. Individuals care about the purpose of the organizations they work for, the purpose of the companies whose products they consume, and the purpose of the groups with which they identify. In fact, almost 65 percent of job seekers won’t work for an employer if they don’t know or don’t agree with its mission.7 At KellyOCG, our purpose is to connect people with work in ways that enrich their lives—this is what brings us to work every day.
The key to understanding social norms is recognizing that they’re also driven by consumerization and individualization; that they’re unique to each market, segment, and in many cases, each human being that’s engaged in the process. There’s no “one size fits all” generalization, and organizations need to be conscious of the various impacts across the environment.