Between the proverbial rock and a hard place might sound quite appealing to many companies trying to attract and retain top talent today because it probably feels more like a mountain of rocks and multiple hard places right now. Between the great resignation, current and future employees' requirements, and the business imperative to build back after the pandemic and navigate a looming recession, are businesses in an impossible position today?
In the US, according to Conference Board research, nearly one in three professional employees and office workers plan to quit their jobs before the end of the year. And, of those that already have, more than nine out of 10 don't regret their decision. Gartner warns that companies should plan for a people turnover rate that is 50% to 70% higher than in the past, with 65% of employees saying that the pandemic has made them rethink the place their jobs have in their lives.
While there is no doubt that salary remains a strong motivator, especially with the skills shortage, inflation rising to unprecedented levels, and job seekers’ abilities to compare jobs in multiple geographic locations, other factors are also important today. According to Gallup, 64% of employees say a significant increase in income or benefits was a very important factor in whether they would take a new job or not. But not too far behind, at 61%, were those who said that greater work-life balance and better wellbeing were very important. (This is up from 53% in 2015.)
A quarter of millennials quit their jobs last year due to burnout, so it is no surprise that employers need to tackle a culture of job fatigue, poor work-life balance and unreasonable workloads to hire and keep good people. According to Gartner, 74% of HR leaders are offering more work flexibility to differentiate themselves in the hiring market, compared to 24% who are increasing compensation and benefits. Four-day work weeks and guaranteed maximum workloads are becoming the order of the day.
These are all critical strategies that companies need to put in place now if they're not already doing so. Negative unemployment is a reality in the UK, where, in 2022, jobless rates are the lowest in 48 years, and, for the first time, the number of jobs available was more than the number of people out of work. And, in the US there were two job openings for every job seeker for several months at the start of 2022.
Yet companies also need to maintain increased productivity and therein lies the conundrum: how can you retain or grow profit margins and produce more work with a workforce wanting to be paid more, while at the same time wanting to reduce the hours they actually work? The only way to balance this equation is by becoming more efficient. And, no surprise, this can be achieved through embracing and correctly implementing the right digital technology for your needs.
Technology can ensure data is consolidated, standardised, and accessible to more people faster and more accurately. This not only reduces the hours required to perform the task but also enables the business to drive better decisions. It can speed up processes from weeks and months to hours and days – hastening operations and getting more done in less time.
Beyond that, the right digital technology, implemented well, can free up your people from boring, mundane, repetitive tasks. This will reduce their workload and allow them to do the important value-added strategic work that you hired them for in the first place and that they want to do to advance their careers.
In addition to allowing your people to flex their capabilities, the right technology can also allow you to tap into their knowledge and insights about what's happening at the coalface of your organisation. This provides a greater depth of information as well as an early warning system about risks and opportunities coming down the line. Plus, your people feel valued for their experience and insights, and because they are part of the process, they have greater ownership over the decisions and outcomes.
So happily, as well as making your company more efficient, technology can enable and empower your people and assist in meeting some of their requirements in a modern workplace. It might not solve all your hiring challenges, but it can mitigate their impact, drive productivity, make your workplace more appealing to skilled, good people and help you balance a seemingly impossible equation.
As published in AccountingWeb - 3 August 2022