Optimizing the employee experience will be a top priority in 2022 for businesses across the country.
Over the past 12 months, millions of people left their jobs in hopes of finding better and more interesting opportunities. Many have yet to return to the workforce, and experts believe we’ll see another wave of resignations in the new year.
HR teams are still figuring out how to navigate the ever-changing legal landscape around COVID-19. Health and safety protocols are constantly changing, further complicating on-site workforce management. New legislation, such as the NY HERO Act, is creating additional documentation requirements and minimum standards for keeping people safe at work. Although these regulations are important, they can be burdensome for already-exhausted HR pros.
Given these dynamics, HR departments have a difficult task ahead – keeping the workforce engaged without creating risk for the enterprise. Employees want to feel supported and challenged at work. Yet, companies can’t neglect their regulatory obligations, especially during a public health crisis. Finding the right balance will be crucial in 2022.
Enable employee success
In turbulent and uncertain times, employees need to know that their employers have their best interest at heart. The Great Resignation has revealed that people are willing to make changes – and forgo income for months at a time – when they don’t believe this to be true. And it’s often minor things related to daily responsibilities that put workers over the edge: inefficient manual processes, scheduling conflicts, improper wage calculations, and delayed paychecks, among others.
HR teams must put their employees’ needs first, particularly given the fluid state of work brought on by the pandemic. According to Owl Labs, 71% of employees want a hybrid or fully remote working style, even after the pandemic is over. The same Owl Labs survey found that one in three respondents would quit their jobs if they couldn’t work remotely in the future.
Of course, many people don’t have the flexibility to choose where they work, behooving employers to find other ways to support these individuals onsite. Hourly and shift workers, plus those who oversee them, need tools that make their jobs easier. For instance, managers need software that simplifies employee scheduling and resource management across complex projects. They need time tracking solutions that integrate directly with payroll systems and automatically calculate pay based on state-specific rules.
These are the investments companies should make in 2022 to enable worker success and retain key people who would otherwise explore other opportunities. The good news is that keeping workers satisfied does more than prevent turnover – it also creates value in other ways.
Better business performance ahead
Improving employee experiences has a tangible and positive effect on business outcomes. For example, Owl Labs found that companies that let people work from home experience 25% less turnover. Additionally, nine in ten workers report they are as productive or even more productive when they work from home versus the office. And according to Oxford’s Saïd Business School, employees are right—they are 13% more productive when they are happy in their roles based on the findings from an extensive study.
Moreover, engaged employees show up to work more often. Gallup found that engaged business units see a 41% reduction in absenteeism. They also outperform units with low engagement by 22% with respect to profitability. In other words, motivated employees generate more business.
The same Gallup research reveals that disengaged employees push customers away, so much so that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform competitors by 1.5x. Overall, American businesses miss out on $450-$550B worth of productivity every year when workers aren’t invested in their roles or the companies they work for.
Today, one of the best ways to increase engagement is to adopt modern technology and software that enables employees to do their jobs more effectively. Workforce management platforms that streamline worker scheduling, payroll reconciliation, time tracking and so on give people additional power and control over their work, thus making them feel more satisfied in their roles. It’s a win-win for employers and employees.
Knowledge workers are more likely to stay with flexible employers and produce at a high level when they are trusted with the decision of where to work. They also help the organizations they work for create more value when they are highly engaged, both in terms of production and in terms of how they treat prospects and customers.
2022 will be Year of the Employee
The takeaway here is business leaders and HR teams must prioritize employee wellbeing and empowerment if they hope to maximize business performance. This will be especially true in 2022 as the trend continues with people leaving their jobs in record numbers to consider other opportunities. And this effort needs to extend to all employees – remote, hybrid and onsite workers, hourly vs. salaried employees, etc.
On top of that, HR teams will need to adopt modern technologies that improve employee experiences, streamline manual processes, and maintain compliance in today’s constantly evolving legal landscape. The key is finding quality solutions that integrate seamlessly into existing workflows and make life easier for employees. HR managers have a crucial role to play in identifying the right tools, not only for improving retention, but also for catalyzing growth at a time when many are struggling with labor shortages.