These trends are ushering in a new era of opportunities in the employee experience that will benefit both employers and employees.
By Tim Stahl
The work world is undergoing seismic change, and it’s fair to say we’ve entered into a new era of the employee experience. The pandemic has been widely viewed as the source of these changes, but the seeds were planted long before COVID-19.
An abundance of opportunities, from new start–ups to the gig economy, lured top talent away from the traditional work world, and The Great Resignation accelerated those trends, exacerbating the ongoing war for talent.
When all is said and done, these changes will have a lasting impact. So, companies that want to attract and retain top talent must understand the trends and developments in the employee experience. Employees, after all, are a key differentiator for every organization. In addition to contributing to customer success, they attract new candidates and are a key reason why other employees stay with an organization.
Let’s look at some key trends in the employee experience.
Employees Will Continue to Have the Upper Hand in 2023
Layoff announcements aside, employers still need talent more than talent needs employers. In fact, three out of four companies say they continue to struggle to recruit and retain top talent.
Companies who believe they can dictate work conditions will be the ones that struggle the most. Recruiters must vie for the same pool of skilled candidates who still have many options.
To attract and retain the best employees, organizations will need to offer more than competitive salaries and benefits; they need to invest in the employee experience.
Forget Life-Work Balance, It’s About Work-Life Integration Now
The traditional “life-work balance” was all about drawing boundaries: here is where I work; here is where I conduct my personal life, and never the two shall meet. But the pandemic obliterated those boundaries, and people did what they do best: they adapted.
There were some employees who learned to close sales and deliver projects in between home-schooling and Zoom meetings. And others learned which times offered the least number of distractions, letting them concentrate on the task at hand. If an employee discovered that they, for instance, can have two hours of uninterrupted work time immediately after the kids get on the school bus, don’t expect them to willingly give up that time to commute to an office.
With that said, employees are concerned about how to integrate work into their lives, and their lives into work. Progressive employers understand that they can no longer dictate what constitutes a workday. Put another way, they get to define what “8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.” means, a term coined “ the triple-peak day.”
Employee Burnout Is a Big Worry for Employers
Employers should take a deeper look at the phenomenon of quiet quitting. This behavior is a symptom of employee burnout, which is the biggest threat to businesses in 2023.
A recent survey from Slack found that burnout is particularly dire in the U.S., where 43% of middle managers reported burnout—more than any other worker group. And burnout among women is 32% higher than it is among men.
This has a terrible impact on the bottom line. Harvard research estimates that employee burnout costs American businesses up to $190 billion per year. But companies can take steps to prevent it.
Tools such as Microsoft’s Viva Insights can help identify employees whose work habits indicate a potential for burnout — e.g., employees who work more than three hours after work each week.
Today, we also see companies can combat burnout by enabling workers to schedule quiet times so they can concentrate on projects without any interruptions. Progressive companies may go even further by offering four-day work weeks during the summer.
A Rationalization of Work Tools to Combat Platform Fatigue
Email, Slack, Teams, remote-meeting apps, work-flow and project-management software–there is no shortage of tools to help employees work better–it’s actually gotten a bit excessive. These tools were created at different times, and there’s probably some duplicity of functionality.
Keeping track of tasks across all of them can be stressful, leading employees to often become bewildered. (e.g., “How did my manager send me that project brief? Was it email, Slack, or Teams?”) Sometimes people send important links in Zoom or Teams meeting chats, which are tough to find once the meeting’s over, leaving people to scramble.
A trend that should happen in 2023 is a rationalization of digital tools, so that they all interoperate with one another. Organizations need to create a digital ecosystem that both drives productivity and eliminates friction. Those that succeed in combating platform fatigue will be more resilient.
A Drive for More Equitable and Inclusive Organizations
This isn’t the same as a DEI initiative, which is a worthy goal in and of itself. What this means is, how do organizations make employees feel as though they are valued within an organization? And how do companies make employees feel that their contributions are not only noticed, but also help propel the success of their company?
Employee resource groups (ERGs) promote equitable and inclusive organizations. At Righpoint, there are several of these groups, including those for women, parents, and LGBTQI employees. Discussions sometimes surround work-related topics, but often take on broader issues, such as strategies for creating flexibility in schedules to better accommodate childcare.
Employees should feel connected to the company and embrace its values, and participation in an ERG will help them feel like they can be themselves and still find a welcoming place within the organization.
These trends can seem like challenges to employers, but they’re actually ushering in a new era of opportunities to enhance their employee experience and enjoy more productivity and lower attrition in the process.