A record number of workers have left or are considering leaving their current job. According to a recent study, 41% of all U.S. workers and 53% of millennials are currently hunting for a new job. This mass movement of workers has added pressure and challenges to HR leaders in an already difficult year for organizations globally.
The high level of employee churn has contributed to shortages in talent across many sectors. To win this ‘war for talent’ organizations should prioritize efforts and focus on the employees who stay.
To compete in this battle, there are five key areas organizations should address in 2022 to ensure they keep employees engaged, satisfied and part of a team.
Area 1: Listen and Act
In addition to the traditional concerns employees have, the rapid changes resulting from COVID have forced employees to navigate childcare for children with remote learning, adjust their home environment to accommodate remote work and assume more work due to employee shortages.
Consequently, HR departments should continuously take the pulse of their employees using traditional survey methods. Despite survey fatigue being a concern for employers, a 2021 Explorance study found that 50% of respondents reported their company issuing no surveys in last year. The study also highlighted that 78% of employees are willing to share their feedback, making this an invaluable way to gauge employee concerns.
Though it is encouraging to hear that employees are eager to share their feedback through surveys, it is not enough simply to collect feedback. To build employee engagement and trust, leaders must act on that feedback in a timely manner.
Companies can build this trust by sharing feedback in a transparent way and committing to acting upon the feedback received.
Area 2: Develop Your People
Growth and development have increased in importance with the emerging hybrid work movement. To retain employees, invest in their ongoing development, including development planning, training, mentoring, coaching, and connecting new employees with more established/experienced team members.
With remote work now the reality, investing in the growth and development of more junior employees will be crucial to the success of businesses.
Area 3: Foster Connections
The increase in hybrid and remote working conditions is also causing concerns about the disconnection between the employee and the employer. The reduction of ‘water cooler’ conversations and the informal social interaction that occurs in an office has also reduced opportunities for employees to impact company culture (see this LinkedIn article). The implication is that managers and HR leaders must remain conscious of the challenges brought by the new ways of working and seek out other opportunities to build company culture. Employers must be attentive and responsive to employee needs.
Area 4: Reset Expectations
The evolving employee needs are creating a demand for HR leaders and managers to go beyond period status check and devise ways to make meaningful connections with employees.
Listening skills are crucial in these challenging and changing scenarios and therefore, it is even more important for HR leaders to help managers develop their listening skills to ensure employees feel their voices are truly being heard.
However, where businesses have reduced headcount, managers are now assuming multiple roles. HR leaders need to acknowledge the challenge of expecting overloaded managers to invest more time to listen and connect with their employees.
Area 5: Invest in Welbeing
‘Well-being’ is an increasingly important aspect of the new work life balance expected by employees.
In 2022, HR leaders need to prioritize Well-Being as a major initiative. According to an article by Forbes, The Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment survey found that 68% of senior HR leaders (of which 40% were CHROs) rated employee well-being and mental health as a top priority.
There are many innovative ideas introduced by companies to adopt this within the workplace. Whichever Wellbeing path is chosen, it is important that they align with the culture, values, and employee needs.
Although companies around the globe are facing challenging times ahead and having to adjust to the new needs and expectations of employees, those who choose to respond to these immediately and adopt and value employee feedback can thrive through 2022 and beyond.
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