Companies where senior leaders are accepting of remote work are 29% less likely to struggle with attraction and retention, according to the 2022 Culture Report on Tech-Enabled Employee Experience from Achievers Workforce Institute.
Employees want flexibility
According to the research, the number one reason for changing jobs during the pandemic was for better work flexibility, beating out both career progression and compensation. Most employees (85%) who have the option would like to work remote or hybrid. However, two-thirds say company leaders expect them in the office at least part-time and 46% of remote workers worry about missing out on career opportunities.
Remote employees are equally likely to report being productive as those in the office and respondents shared that they are more engaged and more likely to advocate for their company. In addition, employees who are happy with their remote or hybrid work options are more likely to say they trust their company leaders. Employees are no longer willing to compromise on flexibility at work, and companies with a hardline return to office policy will lose out on top talent.
Resisting the new world of work
Unfortunately, more than half (56%) of HR leaders say the C-suite doesn’t understand that the world of work has changed. HR leaders (45%) say they do not have the support they need from the C-suite to implement policies to attract, engage, and retain top talent. However, at companies where HR leaders say the C-suite is supportive of remote work, they are less likely to say they struggle to attract and retain. This demonstrates the clear and direct connection between remote work and recruiting top talent as employees continue to advocate for their working preferences.
“A major concern for company leaders is fostering a culture of connection and belonging with a dispersed workforce,” says Achievers Workforce Institute’s Chief Workforce Scientist, Dr. Natalie Baumgartner. “We know that a strong sense of belonging drives a 3x return on a wide number of business outcomes. Many leaders believe that to achieve their desired culture, employees must be in the same physical space. However, the world of work has changed and so must our approach to creating a sense of belonging for employees. Employees are sharply focused on having an experience of connection and belonging, but they are confident they can achieve it while working from anywhere.”
Four tools for connection and belonging
The AWI study identifies four types of technology that can foster the culture that both employees and company leaders are seeking.
Employees at organizations with connection tools outperform the average in factors such as engagement, belonging, trust, and productivity. In fact, 42% of respondents stated that connection tools would increase their feelings of connection and belonging, but only 27% say their company provides access to them.
Meaningful recognition drives every pillar of belonging and is crucial for making employees feel seen and valued. Presently, only 29% of employees say that their company provides access to a recognition platform. Employees with a recognition platform are more likely to say they feel meaningfully recognized which leads to higher employee satisfaction and retention.
Burnout is a real and serious issue facing the workforce, with 43% of employees stating they are somewhat or very burnt out. However, employees whose organizations provide wellness tools are less likely to be extremely burnt out.
Gathering and acting on feedback drives strong business outcomes with a 3x increase in engagement, belonging, trust, commitment, and more. Currently, just 14% of employees say that their organization takes meaningful action on employee feedback.
“Business leaders have to come to terms with what HR professionals already know: organizations must adapt to the new world of work if they want to attract, engage, and retain top talent,” says Dr. Baumgartner. “In a dispersed workforce, technology is a critical tool for building connection and belonging. Investing in the right technology at the right time is key to success in this new era of work.”