In past years, the hybrid workplace was a dream for workers who wanted the chance to work from home and go to the office. Telework was not available for most Americans, and the 7% of Americans who worked from home tended to be knowledge workers or the highest-paid—executives, IT managers, and financial analysts. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Now, 80% to 90% of workers want to remain remote. And on a deeper level, working parents want to keep the benefits of working from home—65% of respondents who preferred a remote model were female, and 84% of working parents with children under 18 find that the benefits of hybrid work outweigh the cons.
The key for employers and HR managers is to deliver the benefits employees want in hybrid work while leveraging employee happiness into productive hybrid models.
HR has shifted out of the back room and into the heart of the company. Employers are recognizing as never before that HR professionals have the power to shape the organizational fabric.
In the era of COVID-19, as employees demand more support from their workplaces, HR is more important than ever before. Yet there are also more opportunities for HR professionals than ever before. Experts now say that viewing the employee experience through a customer lens can help HR drive a better experience. The key is understanding how to fit that experience to your unique sector.
If ever there is a widespread topic, it's the topic of effective leadership. It has many approaches and different facets, but ultimately comes down to one question: Do you know if what you are doing as a leader is effective? If not, you are failing and may not even realize this.
The best leaders have wavering styles and connect with people differently and situationally, but two of the most common traits are showing humility and empathy. And great leaders also possess an uncanny communication style, one developed using a combination of empathy and self-awareness. They are also great storytellers who can engage and relate when working with anyone from executive leadership and board members to direct reports.
Also, given the highly charged societal issues facing our world today, showing concern for workplace issues along with those happening around us shows an awareness. It brings conversations, normally tabu in the workplace, to the forefront of meaningful conversations. These discussions create more room for transparency and engagement.
We all dream of finding a job that thrills and satisfies us. Unfortunately, many employees still struggle to find a deeper connection to their work and find themselves trudging along through the daily grind. It’s not that anything is wrong, it’s that nothing is quite right either, and so you’re coasting along, disengaged from your work.
That's a big deal, considering that companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20% and happy employees are 12% more productive. And happiness matters to employees—36% of employees report they would give up a $5,000 pay increase to feel happier at work. Which means it’s time for employers and HR departments to invest in an engaged and happy workforce.
The 2020 - 2021 pandemic took its toll on businesses in part of the world. Employment and how companies manage through this with their greatest asset, their employees, have also been challenging. People are re-examining their options along with their employers with re-organization of the workplace, more job opportunities with work being mostly remote for many, and people opting to retire with or without the offer of a golden parachute. The upheaval of these actions has brought us, once again, to face the talent cliff.
The talent cliff places hiring companies in a position to suffer losses of key people who filled critical roles aligned with the organization's overall business strategy. Finding and filling these roles quickly is essential but not always possible, especially when it's a job candidate's market. This void creates bumps in the smooth running of the company and can have long-lasting financial implications on the business.
Employee burnout is real. According to a recent Gallup poll, 76% of employees experience some form of burnout at various times in their careers. In a survey conducted by job board Monster, it was reported that 69% of people working from home during the pandemic are experiencing a form of burnout. The stress, anxiety and fear caused by Coronavirus-19 coupled with noise levels, life-balancing acts of managing childcare and meal prep, along with makeshift home offices, fatigue from video conferencing, and feelings of isolation are putting many people into a state of high alert and high alarm. But employee burnout is not a by-product of the pandemic; its presence has been evident for decades.
In 2016, the General Social Survey revealed that 50% of their respondents claimed to be burnt out or near exhaustion from the demands of their job. This percentage showed an increase of 32% from just twenty years previous. Disrupted sleep patterns, increased consumption of alcohol and caffeine beverages, decreased time spent exercising, fear of losing one's job, and moodiness have been identified as signs of burnout.
The world of work is changing. So is the world of hiring. And in 2021, that change is happening faster than ever, with a new push for digital hiring technology alongside an increasing demand to keep hiring personal.
That presents a dilemma for businesses.
On one hand, businesses need to be efficient in hiring. On the other hand, it’s difficult to making hiring personal—and streamlined—when there are so many potential candidates. Lack of efficiency leaves your business in the dust, but a lack of personal touch may drive away candidates. And either way, business competitiveness rests on striking a balance in this gray area. Today’s podcast offers tools to help businesses like yours find the happy medium.
The coronavirus continues to impact almost every individual aspect of our lives, but some of the most profound changes can be seen in our health. In 2017, 3 in 4 Americans reported at least one symptom of stress. Americans are now suffering even higher stress levels than they reported at the start of the pandemic. And when people are stressed, they’re not focusing on their work—they're focused on pulling through.
That has a profound impact on the workplace—not just in productivity, but also in climate. And in a time when employees increasingly turn to their employers for health support, wellness is no longer just an employee perk. It’s a critical competitive benefit and a crucial investment in long-term success. Workplaces that go above and beyond to support employee wellness will be the ones that rise to the top in 2021 and beyond.
Today I’m welcoming Tim Visconti, CEO and Tim David, COO, of PeopleLift to talk about recruiting and how the landscape and the approach has changed. What are the new tools, the new rules, and the new objectives? How can we optimize and humanize candidate experience during an often largely remote and digital hiring process? We’re going to talk about the best new practices that can put organizations in front as far as recruiting.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed every individual aspect of our lives, and the most obvious site of long-term change is the workplace. Employees are returning to work, but they’re now concerned about their own safety. Talent is drawn based on a different set of competitive advantages, and the competitive edge that separates successful businesses and stragglers will rely on a completely new pattern of work.
HR departments lie at the heart of the transformation, driving not just policy change but the culture changes necessary to adapt to the new talent landscape. HR professionals will lead the charge to acquire new talent based on the new metrics of competitiveness, and their success in adapting to new talent demands translates directly into the success of their organization.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, one question has been on everyone’s minds: when can we go back to normal? When can we go back to work? Unfortunately, there’s a great deal of disagreement—even among workers who are concerned for their own safety.
An ESG survey found that 36% of knowledge workers who are “extremely concerned” about their personal health and safety due to Covid-19 say they would prefer to return to the office compared to 49% of respondents who are “not that concerned” or “not at all concerned” with their personal health risk. In the meantime, the face of work is changing alongside reintegration. Employers are adopting new strategies to mitigate risk, from digital solutions to in-person measures.
But these changes come with pressure. Employers are now viewed as humanitarian leaders responsible for keeping employees safe—and if they fail, the blowback can seriously harm the business’s future. Learning how to insulate your business and make the right decision for employees is essential as more employers return to work.
Setting boundaries between work and home life is a big struggle for many people. The advent of the 2020 pandemic has amplified this problem exponentially and created a greater concern for both employees and their employers.
Organizations that are concerned about the mental and physical well being of its employees recognize the need for down time as well as time away from work. Many studies have shown that mental stress and high physical demands placed on employees is detrimental to the company’s staff as well as damaging to the productivity output for the organization.
Both employees and employers need to have a plan of action to create more structure and boundaries to delineate work from personal time and implement this plan in a meaningful way. Employers can start by asking employees more about their lifestyle and armed with this information, set forth to create workplace initiatives that help employees to recognize when down time and personal time are needed. Also, programs that allow employees access to resources (e.g., virtual yoga and exercise classes, meditation and counseling) are all sets to creating a healthier work environment.
Today I’m welcoming Danny Kofke (“cough-key") from Mentoro Group to talk about the state of financial literacy in the U.S. today, its impact on the workplace, and what companies can do to solve this problem in the post-pandemic era. We’re going to talk about making finances accessible and understandable for your employees, how human resources and leadership can contribute, and how financial literacy can make your organization stronger.
Communication and innovation. Two very important words for any company looking to succeed. Without a good set of ears to the ground and a workplace that promotes creative thinking, it's difficult, if not impossible, to stay ahead of the competition and deliver successfully to customers. So why do so many companies lack these two essential aspects in their business model?
Practicing good communication and embracing the critical need for innovation are not always easy. They require throwing away archaic thinking and adopting new ways to view your business model, which means accepting change, and we all know change is not an easy ask for most people. So, what path does that lead many of us down? The path of least resistance, which means accepting what is versus working towards what can be.
Disruption and chaos. When most people hear these two words, they automatically think of trouble. However, researchers and scientists are finding that disruption and chaos are found at the epicenter of innovation and change and for the better. This state of flux allows us to re-examine our points of view and consider adjusting what we know to what may be a better way of doing things. As it is with human nature, we tend to only accept change at those times when we are at our lowest points and will move away from "the way we've always done it" to "we need to change things, because this no longer works." During difficult times, such as economic downturns, people should re-evaluate making a change and using disruption and chaos as an opportunity to embrace and accept the value of what the potential outcomes can be.
The words flexible work conditions can be defined in many ways, depending on who you ask. What appears to be a flexible work environment for one person may not be for another. So, in thinking about the word flexible in the context of the workplace, is it a case of what's being offered to employees in the way of perks or benefits or the employer's culture? We think it's both.
Without a culture that propagates collaboration, open-mindedness, and transparency, flexible work options are not likely to exist. When organizations attempt to bring programs into cultures that have not been primed with a solid foundation to support the programs, they most always fail. This holds true when incorporating benefits or perceived flexible options into a workplace unable to sustain in the long haul or can only weakly accommodate present and future employees.
2020 started a worldwide tsunami of turmoil with 2021 continuing the havoc of a pandemic and the insurmountable issues that accompany it. In this mix is the current state of the workforce and the toll the turmoil has taken on employers and employees.
Many employees have been forced to relocate their workspaces into areas previously used as home space. This along with the isolation of working remotely and adjusting to a new “normal” has taken a toll on many people. With this in mind, employers need to step up and be supportive in ways that may not have been a priority in the past.
Health and wellness has come to light as a priority and with that technologies that support in this way have been called upon to up their game with advanced ways of accessing health and wellness assistance. This uptick in demand has drawn the attention of employers and forced them to re-evaluate their current wellness benefits in lieu of advanced technology and more encompassing wellness programs.
In general, women have had insurmountable obstacles to hurdle in the workplace, and the current state of the world has only added more challenges.
According to the 2020 McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace report, researchers discovered that working women fared poorly under the challenges of Covid-19. They further report that women of color fared the worst of all, suffering from layoffs and furloughs. In addition, they followed the trend of female mobility in the workplace, and based on their findings, upward mobility for women was no better in 2020 than in 2015.
The bigger picture here is that lack of upward mobility, equal pay, which is still an issue when compared to male counterparts, suppression to be allowed a strong voice, and inflexibility to recognize the need for diverse opinions are all major factors in employee retention.
In addition to many working individuals and families still figuring out childcare during a pandemic, another serious issue has arisen. As the U.S. life expectancy rises, more and more people face caring for an aging relative and balancing childcare needs while working as full-time employees.
According to an article in HR Executive, "61% of working caregivers said helping loved ones has impacted their employment situation, and 53% reported going in late, leaving early, or taking time off to accommodate care." This means that over half of the working population struggles to work while providing care to loved ones. The mental stress and added duties take their toll, with some people leaving the workforce entirely to be an elder caregiver.
Emotional intelligence sounds like a buzzword, but it's far from that. It's a critical skill that lays the foundation for other important skills like empathy, kindness, listening, communicating, connecting, and influencing to be present and fully used with intentional purpose. When it comes to leadership, emotional intelligence is taking center stage, with many organizations, as a major consideration at hiring and promotion times. Going hand-in-hand with emotional intelligence is the ability to show presentism.
Presentism opens the mind and allows one to focus on the immediate situation and people in the moment. It's an ability to focus on one's own emotions, reactions, and moods, along with recognizing these traits in others. So, basically, by learning and practicing emotional intelligence, we learn to be good observers of our own surroundings and the people we come into contact with every day.
The world of work is rapidly changing. Employment laws and what constitutes a "gig" or on-demand worker are a work in process, as is how the workforce is pivoting to integrate on-demand workers into their hiring and workflows. Benefits, worker protection and wages are under scrutiny but are likewise an acceptable trade-off for many on-demand workers given the flexible and desirable nature of gig work.
One of the factors leading to why the nature of the gig worker remains clearly undefined is that it lacks a firm definition. This gray area means that employers cannot set forth well-defined policies and protections when hiring gig workers. Given the rise in demand for gig workers, lawmakers are working with employers on a local and national level to define and qualify what constitutes an on-demand worker and what employers also need to know to protect themselves from litigation. However, conclusive data about the on-demand workforce, mostly at the state level, remains undefined.
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, introverts have skills and behaviors that make them a great business owner. They possess good listening skills, pay attention to details with greater concern, and are thoughtful before speaking with their opinions. They also have a reputation for being strong leaders because of their ability to really listen and to bestow credit where it belongs.
In the business world, they blend well into online communication venues such as chats and groups where people share opinions and offer advice. They mesh best with more outgoing people than themselves, and when introverts and extroverts collaborate, the results are generally good because the results gain the benefits of both sides' strengths.
Today I’m welcoming Ed Thompson, CEO / Founder, Uptimize to talk about an aspect of diversity in the workforce we probably need to focus on a lot more — and that’s neurodiversity. Whatever workplace you’re in, it’s more than likely you’ve got a whole range of different thinking styles on your teams. But too often, they’re not all appreciated — let alone recognized. We do know, however, that diverse teams are far more effective and innovative — and diversity of thought is a big component in that. We’ll be talking about how neurodiversity enhances your teams and your work styles — and why it’s time to embrace the fact that we’re all wired differently — and find ways to best support that.
The world of job search and recruiting has been turned upside down. What was, generally, expected from employers and job seekers has taken a turn and not for the best. Companies have laid off people and jobs are scarcer now due to the recession of a pandemic 2020. However, business still needs to keep moving forward, which means having people continuing day-to-day duties and atypical fashion.
Evermore necessary is the skill of possessing great communication skills. Being able to interview virtually has taken on a new role. At one time, it was something done by large enterprise companies who had the budget to purchase this technology. This is no longer the case, as most companies now must rely on technology to assess candidates, hire, and onboard these individuals into the company. Being able to rely on technology that is well connected and intersects with other technologies, coupled with excellent communication capabilities, is essential for any organization and is quickly becoming the standard practice for talent acquisition.
For job seekers and candidates, getting comfortable with using technology for job search and interviewing is no longer an option, but is a must. Developing a comfort level using technology will be one of the factors recruiters will use to assess someone's job candidacy, along with the customary historical items. Coming prepared to the interview with good questions and insights, showing an ability to communicate as though you were sitting face-to-face, will fall into the assessment bucket.
If anyone believes that incorporating play into the workplace culture is a waste of time, the research shows us differently. Child's play in the workplace actually enhances the culture of the work environment. It creates greater camaraderie, builds trust, opens up conversations that may not be broached due to fear of retribution, and develops a workplace where transparency is the norm.
From the employer's perspective, they can expect higher productivity levels, greater concern and care for the business's success, better engagement with customers, increased employee referrals (one of the highest compliments a brand can get), and overall feelings of goodwill from employees.