While the workforce has varying opinions on quiet quitting and quiet firing, employers are facing several challenges in retaining the key talent. On certain grounds such as flexibility, sound mental health, work life balance, etc, employers are seen losing talent.
Yet another challenge of the current times is ‘moonlighting’. While several studies have found that many employees may seek job change if asked to rejoin office, moonlighting seems to be igniting that thought. Citing all the disruptions across the workforce globally, the right set of employee engagement policies seem to be the safest remedy.
People Matters had a chat with Sara Rahmani, Vice President of People Experience & DEI, Chronus. During the interaction, she shared insights on how the expectations of the workforce has changed in terms of both holistic and financial wellbeing.
Here are some excerpts from the conversation:
How do you look at the significance of effective engagement policies in a remote work setup?
Effective engagement policies can take many forms, and we find at Chronus that they are significant in initiatives including DEI, cross-collaboration, and reducing burnout while enhancing morale.
Boost engagement amongst employees. Reverse mentoring can provide a bridge between boomers and Gen Z, which helps drive feedback, deepens connections between managers and junior employees, and promotes age diversity.
What are some key engagement policies rolled out by Chronus, with special reference to the remotely working employees?
- Employee Recognition through virtual Kudo boards and Slack channels
- Employee Appreciation through tenure rewards programs – giving employee tenure recognition by rewarding employees with an experience of their choice (skydiving, glamping, spa days, etc.). Employees can choose an activity near them, no matter where they are.
- Quarterly virtual town halls – All employee meetings where we allow questions to be submitted to the leadership team (anonymously or during the event) in order to tackle the tough things we’re focusing on around employee engagement, hybrid work policies, cultural celebrations, DEI strategy and employee recognition.
- Monthly events – we host monthly virtual and in-person events such as happy hours, trivia days, desk yoga sessions, book clubs and more to keep employees interacting across functions and teams.
Two years into remote work and the expectations of workers have changed. When you look back at the pre-pandemic world, do you spot any difference between Gen-Z’s expectations of their managers today? If yes, what are those? If not, why?
Before the pandemic, we weren’t seeing as many members of Gen Z in the workforce as we are now, so it can be challenging to make an apples-to-apples comparison. That said, we’ve seen shifts in what this generation expects from their managers and employers – likely due to the changing labor market dynamics and the Great Resignation/Reshuffle.
Now, workers want more support and flexibility from their managers, and feel that it’s a necessary part of a strong culture. Workers are even willing to pass on or give up other benefits to preserve the focus on flexibility and well-established work boundaries. In many cases, Gen Z expect more direction on daily tasks and support from their managers than older generations had – but this direct instruction has also become more important and necessary in a remote work environment; older Millennials and prior generations had been more accustomed to an in-person onboarding that allowed for more learning as you go, and thus expected less direct support from their senior staff.
A study by Cigna International shows that while hybrid and flexible work is seen as very important amongst younger workers, they are also experiencing worrying levels of burnout and concern for the future. Over 97% of 18-34-year-olds are burnt out, and 40% are worried by the rising costs of living. How do you look at this?
The rising cost of living and job security is definitely on everyone’s minds, especially those working hard to move up the corporate ladder. Companies need to be constantly looking at benchmarking data on salary and equity to ensure they are compensating their team members adequately and being competitive with the market.
When it comes to burn out, employers need to promote a culture that focuses on employee well-being and take actions to encourage keeping it top of mind. Employers can help build social connections through large and small group events/activities both in person and virtually, along with mentoring programs to increase employee support.
Amid the circumstances of moonlighting and quiet quitting, what ‘secret-mantra’ would you like to share with the employers to retain the key talent?
Not a true secret, but we advise HR and company leaders to build formal mentoring programs to encourage career development and social connectivity. Most of today’s symptoms of disengagement result from employees losing sight of how they matter and how they can continue to grow.
Continuing to learn, gaining advice and next steps for career growth and simply talking to another colleague or leader that isn’t project or team focused can reinvigorate employees to not only engage in an organization, but actively want to be a part of the company’s growth forward.
In a remote work setup, employees naturally don’t have immediate interpersonal connections. They can’t stop by another employee's desk and ask them about their weekend or to discuss project-specific questions. This – coupled with longer working hours without breaks – has exacerbated rates of burnout, especially amongst the younger generations, as many started their careers during the pandemic and are now working through a looming recession/economic downturn.
Most of the companies we work with at Chronus have noted that remote mentoring has been incredibly valuable in supporting engagement, as it offers a personal way of connecting while remote. For instance, career mentoring can support career pathing, reduce burnout and improve employee engagement.