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6 Takeaways on the Massive Transformation of Work

Cultural Intelligent HR Practices

Masks are coming off and organizations are starting to re-open their workplaces and evaluate continuing remote and/or hybrid strategies. At the same time, experts are warning of a post-COVID-19 employee exodus which they’re dubbing “The Great Resignation.” Surveys are showing that some 25% – 40% of employees are considering quitting their jobs.

There is no disputing that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we work. Many experts HR professionals’ challenges when hiring, onboarding, training, and engaging during the COVID-19 pandemic are spotlighted in Understanding and Adapting to Today’s Massive Transformation of Work, a joint survey published by the HR Research Institute (powered by HR.com) in partnership with SkillSurvey.

Now, here are six key strategic takeaways from the study that can help your organization:

1. Bolster the type and amount of communication. Without in-person supervision, remote workers can feel isolated. 45% of HR professionals agreed or strongly agreed that internal communication is more challenging because of remote work arrangements. As a result, productivity and morale suffer. Keep employees happy and engaged by scheduling regular virtual team meetings. You should also survey employees—and their managers—frequently to keep up to date on their:
  • Job satisfaction
  • How they feel about their managers
  • Issues with remote working, e.g. help with technology and access to your organization’s resources.

It’s also important to survey managers to get their input. They have the closest working relationship with employees and know their issues best. Take the effort out of surveying and automate the process with SkillSurvey Post-HireTM on a regular basis.

2. Prepare your workforce for new ways of working. Train remote workers in soft skills like communication, time management, demonstrating empathy and being a team player. More than half of survey respondents rated these soft skills as critical:

  • Communicating and collaborating well with others (60%)
  • Managing time effectively (58%)
  • Taking initiative and self-motivating (54%)

Check out online resources on LinkedIn and other platforms for help creating training programs. Further, before hiring remote workers, get feedback from references on your candidates’ soft skills. Digital reference checking can help get fast, candid feedback on specific behavioral competencies to help you hire the best. Use a solution that has job-specific surveys that ask references about the soft skills that matter for each role .

3. Keep employee engagement front and center. Employees are less stressed, better informed and work well together when they’re engaged with their employer. But in the new survey, almost half of HR professionals (46%) said employee engagement declined a little or a lot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To boost your engagement levels, take a cue from the survey’s engagement leaders. They are more likely than engagement laggards to:

  • Survey employees frequently to gain detailed knowledge of their well-being, job satisfaction and fit, and competencies in soft skills;
  • Collect input from supervisors;
  • Provide extra support when onboarding new hires;
  • Train employees to develop new soft skills needed during the pandemic.

Random, one-off employee surveys won’t cut it. Get scientific about measuring candidate and employee feedback across the employee lifecycle. A talent intelligence platform can help you gather candidate, employee and supervisor feedback before, during hiring and onboarding and beyond the first 30/60/90+ days for new hires. The software employs scientifically designed questions customized for each phase of the employment lifecycle—from recruiting, hiring and onboarding to exit interviews.

4. Build successful onboarding systems and experiences. Great onboarding practices build longevity. Over half of all turnover can occur in a new hire’s first year. And high turnover incurs enormous direct costs and wreaks havoc on organizations’ stability. In the survey, only 39% said their organizations thought their post-hire talent management practices—including onboarding—was good or excellent. Just 50% of respondents say their onboarding programs include regular check-ins with managers. When building onboarding programs, include learning and development resources such as coaching, mentoring, job shadowing and career planning.

5. Paint a clear picture of employee perceptions, attitudes and skills. To keep up with what’s going on with your remote employees, survey them—and consistently. Employees need to feel comfortable giving candid feedback. Yet, in the survey, only 39% of HR leaders agreed or strongly agreed that they have good employee survey tools. Even fewer (33%) felt the same about their employee assessment tools. Less than half gather metrics or feedback on key areas such as:

  • Job satisfaction and fit (47%)
  • The onboarding experience (41%)
  • And perceptions of managers (36%).

Boost your knowledge of employees’ concerns and skills with regularly scheduled automated surveys. Get your managers’ input, too—including information about an employee’s progress immediately following hiring as well as over the longer term.

6. Build a more robust approach to employee retention. In the study, 61% of HR professionals said the top reason employees stay is when they feel valued and recognized. Communicating frequently with employees to address issues is key to recognizing and valuing their concerns. Yet 80% use “after the fact” exit interviews to determine the reasons employees leave. Compare that to the second most common choice: engagement or climate surveys—at 30%. Identify opportunities to engage employees before they decide to move on.

Read the full survey results, and learn how you can better hire, onboard, engage with and train today’s remote workforce.

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