The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way employees choose to work, reflecting the changes in the workplace culture. Along with employee health and wellness, lower turnover rates and employee retention is essential to drive economic growth and recover from the disturbance caused by the pandemic.
A survey by Citrix revealed that almost 9 of 10 employees preferred workplace flexibility while choosing their employer. As technology plays a major role in today’s life, the current generation of employees, referred to as the ‘digital nomads’ in the report were so bent on having a flexible workplace culture that 76% were ready to take a pay cut to have it.
The Citrix Talent Accelerator survey was conducted with 2,000 knowledge workers and 500 HR directors of large and medium-sized established organizations. The main objective of the study was to study employer opinions and predictions of the workplace future.
The outcomes showed 4 major themes that must be prioritized by organizations to ensure a positive workplace culture and business growth in the future –
- Workplace Diversity Spur
- Dispersed Workforces
- Virtual Connections
- Employee Wellness and Development
Workplace Diversity Spur
Workplace diversity has been one of the top agendas in the past few years. Although employees and employers understand the importance of diversity to define a successful workplace, the HR teams present a more realistic vision to recruit, given the challenges.
- 78% of employees and 72% of HR directors agreed that location bias is no longer a criterion for talent acquisition.
- Also, 86% of employees agree that a diverse working group will help with better business growth, while only 66% of HR directors agree with it.
- While 78% of employees and 69% of HR directors believe that neurodiversity will drive business growth and have a competitive edge in the future.
Furthermore, having flexible working models, like tapping into home-based workers, including retired people, disabled, parents, or currently unemployed individuals could also help with talent rebound.
With the growing flexible technology options, employee and employer priorities and practices are shifting. Although Globalization had started the remote working trend, the pandemic has made it the new normal. 83% of employees believed that leveraging flexible work models can help overcome the talent shortage issues, as work can be done from anywhere. However, only 66% of the HR directors agree with it. 69% of HR directors and 83% of employees agree that if workplaces offer flexible working options, most of the workforce may leave the urban locations. This geographical decentralization can soon change the working landscape, with the smaller suburbs turning into smart suburbs, with a resilient workforce. However, technology advancements may require regular upskilling, which was agreed upon by 82% of employees and 62% of the HR directors.
The pandemic with its social isolation and safety restrictions cemented the idea of remote working. Although there were initial concerns about employee engagement and workflow, digital technology has helped in building virtual connections and has bought the dispersed workforces together. Many studies have elucidated the impact of technology on employee health and productivity during the pandemic. The Citrix survey reported that by making virtual connections, the employees, employers, and HR directors feel more connected with each other, than while working in the office.
- 86% of employees and 69% of HR directors felt their organization was using digital technology effectively to collaborate and communicate at the workplace.
- 72% of HR directors and 73% of employees felt an appropriate use of technology at the workplace could with better employee-peers relationships and could stall organizational hierarchy.
Employee Wellness and Development
The pandemic has changed employer perspective about employee health and wellness. The new workplace strategies are now prioritizing employee wellness and other suitable workplace benefits. The 2021 employee benefits trends show flexible working schedules as one of the key employee preferences. Along with flexible schedules, offering corporate wellness programs with suitable wellness modules could be added employee wellness benefits. In addition to employee wellness, skill development and growth also seems to be powered by utilizing technology.
- 83% of employees and 67% of HR administrators agreed that employee skills can be enhanced with flexible workplace culture.
- 88% of employees said they would choose organizations that utilized the latest collaborative technology to enable career agility. This could help in reducing employee turnover rates and retain the best talent.
Apart from the above themes, workers felt that the need to measure employee productivity through value-based metrics instead of traditional analytics. While 70% of employees said they worked better when there was no micromanagement. Also, employees preferred companies that prioritized outcomes over output. However, only 69% of the HR directors said their companies measured outcome-based employee productivity.
In short, businesses that recognize employee wellness and their interests can get the best out of them. By designing people-centric workplace cultures, employers can ensure their employees work to their full potential and enhance organizational productivity.