In 2019, in a world that was yet to be upended by the pandemic, organizational psychologist and professor at Texas A&M University, Anthony Klotz coined the phrase "the Great Resignation." Little did he, or the business world at large know that within the next two years, the term would gain worldwide significance. Companies across sectors are witnessing employee dropouts and resignations are on the rise. As recently as last April, the US witnessed one of the largest drops in their labor force. Breaking a 20-year record, as many as 4 million quit their jobs.
Globally, according to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, 40 percent of people want to switch jobs in 2021. For countries like Singapore, the report notes that over 49 percent of the workforce is considering leaving their employer this year. The report notes that factors like employee needs for continued flexible remote work, leaders being out of touch with how employees are faring and high productivity masking an exhausted workforce have contributed to this current trend. A study by Entrepreneur Asia Pacific shows that 48 percent of surveyed participants across the region were poised to quit their jobs. For many, the report noted, freelance and flexible work options mattered more than a full-time job. While the impact of the pandemic has been multifaceted, one unintended consequence of it has been the resurgence of these old workplace problems.
“The pandemic and ensuing hybrid work environment has renewed focus on managing employee engagement. There is a shift from physical/manual recruitment to an automated process that includes manpower hiring requests to on-boarding of new hires virtually,” said S. R. Saravanakkumar, Vice President – Global SI & Partnerships & Business Head – Asia Pacific, Adrenalin eSystems Limited.
Impact on HR tech
With employees taking charge of their careers while establishing better work-life balance, HR tech needs to be aligned to new priorities.
A new era of hiring: Hiring the right people remains one of the biggest concerns that this period of transition has created. Companies need to evolve their practices in a way that reflects what employees want. More than half the employees surveyed from around the world would consider leaving their job post-COVID-19 pandemic, if they are not afforded some form of flexibility in where and when they work, according to the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey.
The past 18 months have reshaped what employees expect out of their work. Hiring policies of today have to reflect this change in perspective. It is the responsibility of the business leaders to adapt to the disruptive change and be willing to challenge long-held assumptions that no longer hold true with their employees. Business leaders now need to dig deeper to think about shaping their culture to attract and retain talent, foster collaboration and innovation, and deliver on the extreme flexibility that employees need.
Improved visibility: When managers mistake visibility for value and reward presence instead of performance, employees working remotely may not develop their skills and advance their careers. In a study, economists randomly assigned hundreds of employees to work from home. Although remote workers were over 13 percent more productive, they were only half as likely to be promoted—likely, because they didn’t have enough face time with senior managers. The need to capture and reflect employee performance more holistically is a key ask from performance management technologies.
Better learning pathways: Learning has been a great way to engage employees and provide them with better career development opportunities. The advent of the great resignation will force companies to reassess their learning programs. While flexible work conditions become a key feature of employee engagement and retention, digital learning tech will find newer and broader applications to keep the skills of a hybrid workforce in tune with organizational demands.
Better analytics: Companies across APAC have begun scaling their predictive technologies to better assess attrition and job losses. The shift in employee preference over last year has meant, many require better ways of assessing employee engagement and motivation levels. Banks such as DBS Bank were prototyping predictive AI technologies to predict employee resignations before the pandemic began.
“Remote working has created many challenges for both HR and employees. Based on interactions with many HR leaders, the message is clear – HR Automation is the only way forward and will help in more engaged employees. This is also reflected in the increase in enquiries pertaining to virtual on-boarding and employee life cycle automation,” Saravanakkumar said.
Studies have shown that the pandemic has accentuated problems of being disconnected to work, not finding the right growth opportunities and the need for a better work-life balance. Moving ahead, hiring and HR tech will have to address these problems to help companies hire and retain the right people.
This article is part of a content campaign in partnership with Adrenalin