Last year we published our predictions for the work trends of 2022. As we reflect back on the year, many of these trends are still developing. Retaining talent is an ongoing challenge. Lateral mobility within companies is becoming more prevalent as employees seek to reskill and upskill. Hybrid working has solidified, and there is an expectation of greater flexibility and non-linear workdays.  

Employee experience platforms are increasing in popularity as a one-stop hub for everything that’s needed for wellbeing, learning and productivity. With economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to reduce recruitment costs by understanding how to retain your talent. The labour market is competitive, and employees are no longer willing to settle if they’re unhappy at work. Management processes must adapt to reflect new hybrid working practices to ensure teams remain motivated and productive.  

We have collated the latest research on continuing and emerging workplace trends and these are focused around how to engage employees in an ever-evolving working environment.   

Growing Disengagement

‘Quiet quitting’ – when employees change their behaviour to remove additional effort and work in line with their job responsibilities – has been becoming more popular. Employees are no longer willing to work later or take on tasks they weren’t hired for. It’s a manifestation of disengagement and unchecked burnout across the workforce, indicative of a deeper underlying problem. It’s harmful for productivity, team performance and can have a ripple effect and demoralise other team members.

Although most organisations have introduced wellbeing resources, it’s important to address the root cause of burnout. High workload, no sense of belonging and lack of purpose in their work activities are all contributing factors. Without taking time to understand what employees need, the symptoms won’t be resolved.

In 2023, we predict that quiet quitting will continue to be a problem as employee engagement remains at worryingly low levels. Gallup’s State of the Workplace Report 2022 found that only 21% of UK workers are engaged.

The labour market is more competitive than ever, and workers have a high level of choice in the organisations they commit to. Quiet quitting will lead to higher staff turnover. You can retain your existing talent by focusing on improving their well-being and developing a positive organisational culture. We suggest an integrated employee experience platform like Microsoft Viva to increase happiness and satisfaction at work. When properly utilised, Viva can reduce employee attrition by 20%.

Mandatory Flexibility

Flexibility is now no longer considered a benefit, but a requirement when selecting a new employer. The pandemic was a large-scale experiment of a new way of working and employees are not backing down. Workers’ priorities are shifting away from salary to expecting a good work-life balance. People are willing to switch jobs for a more flexible schedule that will combat work-related stress and improve their well-being.

Context IQ in Outlook Gif Demonstration

Most organisations have moved away from the rigid 9-5 in-office model. 58% of employees have adopted a hybrid working pattern, with very few working exclusively from the office or remotely.

The expectation of flexibility extends to working hours, not just location. Technology is evolving to make asynchronous work possible, with enhanced digital collaboration solutions connecting people whenever they log on. We are now also in a place where hybrid-working technology has never been better, companies just need to invest in the right solutions.

Flexible working practices are allowing underrepresented communities to become more visible as jobs become more accessible to all. For many employees with disabilities, technology can mean the difference between performing at their best as an equal member of the team or being left out of the conversation entirely.

Are you making hybrid work accessible to all? Is your technology up to standard? Are you maximising all the Microsoft solutions to help your business and employees? If not, review quickly before you are left behind.

Early results from 4 Day Week Global are promising. Switching to a four-day week has not harmed productivity or output in the way that was feared. The positive response from the trial confirms that going forward, greater flexibility will be a key requirement. Organisations that don’t adapt will struggle to retain and attract talent.

Reskill not Rehire

Recruitment is expensive. It is also often unnecessary. Employees leave organisations for similar reasons; increase of pay, improved work-life balance, better career progression opportunities or a closer relationship to their organisation. Employees want to feel valued, respected, heard and with a clear future in the business.

Adecco Group’s Global Workplace Study found that 44% of employees who want to stay with their current organisation would only stay if they had access to reskilling and progression opportunities.

This year’s LinkedIn Learning report revealed that companies with high internal mobility retained employees almost twice as long as companies without. Evidence shows it’s a clear driving factor for employees considering whether to change jobs.

Work Trends - Employee Career Development

Performance management has been neglected in the past few years because of the sudden shift to hybrid working, but this has led to high levels of disengagement and ‘quiet quitting’. Salary growth is still higher for job switchers than those who stay long-term. You should consider ongoing skills development an important strategic priority to encourage retention.

Employers who offer ongoing reskilling and establish a learning culture will lower the costs and disruptions associated with recruitment. Viva Learning brings training into the flow of work so your people can learn when it’s convenient. Therefore, learning is part of daily work, not disruptive to productivity, and keeps employee engaged.

Connecting Employees

Employee engagement levels are worryingly low. The disconnect between employees and their organisation is growing. 50% of employees feel their relationships in the wider company are weaker now than ever.

Creating a central hub to enhance the connection between the organisation and employees is vital. An intranet can do this for your organisation by sharing company news, creating content such as “get to know x team”, including a searchable employee directory and providing employee recognition opportunities. These features all help to create a closer relationship between employees and the business.

Managers are highly influential to the employee experience. People are far less likely to put up with a bad boss than they were before. McKinsey discovered that 34% of survey respondents would leave a job because of an uninspiring or toxic boss who didn’t prioritise their career development. 86% said their relationship with their immediate manager affected their overall job satisfaction.

Work Trends - Microsoft Teams

Understanding productivity and managing dispersed teams is a challenge. Management styles cannot remain the same as they were in the office. As hybrid and flexible working solidifies, ensure your managers are equipped with the right training and skills to succeed.

Viva Insights can help managers check in with how their teams are doing, anonymously. Insights such as how much of their day is taken up by meetings or how are they feeling are key indicators of employee satisfaction. Using Viva Insights helps create a company culture that values employee happiness and satisfaction.

These are just some of the emerging work trends which your business should consider if it is to attract and retain top talent in your industry. Employee Engagement has never been more important but with the right technological solutions, it need not be a challenge you can’t overcome.

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