Labor Market’s Shift Toward Remote Work, DEI And HR Tech Likely To Have Lasting Impacts

The changes in the labor market observed over the past year, like the shift towards more remote work and the shifts accompanying the Great Resignation, may be permanent. Results from the HR Industry Trends Report from TrustRadius show that among human resource professionals, 76 percent think change in the labor market accompanying the Great Resignation is permanent—with 43 percent considering the attrition movement itself a significant permanent change and 34 percent saying it will create some small but permanent changes. The report also identified that HR professionals are generally embracing a more remote, diverse and empowered workforce.

TrustRadius attributes the Great Resignation, which it notes could more accurately be termed the Great Attrition or Big Switch, to a combination of generational retirement, talent shortages, changing employee priorities and a job-switching revolution. The survey homed in further on how these complex factors were producing company- and employee-specific causes of the Great Resignation. For company-related causes, 31 percent of respondents pointed to stressful working conditions as the single-biggest cause, followed by 16 percent citing low pay, 15 percent a lack of flexibility and 13 percent company failure to address work/life balance.

For employee-related causes of the Great Resignation, among the top observations from HR professionals were workers gaining perspective on what’s important in their lives (30 percent), reflecting on what they want from their career (18 percent), taking advantage of the pandemic to make demands (14 percent) and looking for better paying opportunities (14 percent).

“Employees will no longer tolerate being overworked, underpaid and unsupported,” says Jamy Conrad, senior director of people at TrustRadius. “This empowered workforce is challenging companies to support them with better onboarding, benefits and overall flexibility. However, the vast majority of HR professionals are feeling challenged and exhausted by the pandemic. And they’re facing even bigger hurdles with the Great Resignation and the need to rapidly improve their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.”

The research revealed that 71 percent of HR professionals think that the Great Resignation will impact their DEI efforts. Furthermore, 41 percent said the Great Resignation offers an opportunity to increase diversity, 44 percent said it will require a complete rethinking of company DEI efforts and 21 percent said it will derail company DEI efforts.

With respect to DEI, the research found that almost half (49 percent) of HR professionals thought that their HR software helps prevent bias in hiring. But that perception differed significantly by gender, with 62 percent of men thinking this, but only 43 percent of women.

“Companies are looking for new technologies to streamline their processes when it comes to talent retention and to systematically improve diversity, inclusion and belonging,” says Megan Headley, vice president of research at TrustRadius. “This report looks at the state of the HR industry and learnings from 2021, so that we can make better decisions going into the new year. When most offices were planning to reopen this year, the pandemic continued and HR professionals had to go back to the drawing board once again. Worker mobility is becoming a permanent feature of the enterprise and SMB landscape and investing in the tech solutions that support employee needs is critical for business survival.”

Giving insights into worker mobility, the study found that nearly half of HR professionals (48 percent) said that remote work increases productivity. The figure jumped to 59 percent among those in fully remote environments, while 42 percent at office-only companies said remote work decreases productivity. Additionally, a clear majority of HR professionals, 65 percent, said that remote work increases well-being. Just 18 percent stated it has a negative effect. Millennial HR professionals had the most favorable opinion of remote work, with 58 percent finding that it increases employee productivity and 72 percent saying the same for well-being.

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