How innovative new HR tech can help companies combat the Great Resignation
It’s no secret, COVID massively accelerated the future of work timeline. It’s hurled us out of an outdated industrial-age model and into a distributed one that’s optimized for the internet era. HR tech no longer sits on the back burner, it is now front and center in the minds of employees, executives and boards. This flash-flood transition has very quickly accelerated what we used to call the “future of work” into the “now of work.”
This transition has only been exacerbated with the multitude of talent issues executives are facing. The Great Resignation—and the shrinking talent pool it’s leaving in its wake–is forcing today’s leaders into the most competitive war for talent we have ever seen. The battle to attract and retain top talent has never been more fierce or costly. Consider this—in November, the number of people quitting their jobs rose to a record high of 4.5 million. The pandemic has perhaps triggered a shift in priorities, leading many to take a leap of faith to pursue a different career path and some to call it quits on employers who failed to step up during one of the most difficult times in recent history.
With these fundamental changes to the workforce, today’s leaders urgently need to rethink the way they manage and measure the performance, productivity and wellbeing of their workforce. The good news is, there’s a renaissance in HR technology that’s helping executives navigate this unprecedented time. My company, Sapphire, is backing a number of these innovative tools. The adoption of new tech, a shift in mindset, and a change in management strategies have combined to help the C-Suite remedy three key areas that urgently need attention: the human capital equation, employee sentiment and workplace wellness.
RETHINK HR AS NOT JUST A COST CENTER
Above all else, we need to rethink the way we look at human capital. Traditionally, we’ve considered HR a cost center, not a revenue generator, despite employees being the most valuable resource to almost any business. But there is much more to your workforce than just costs—hiring, training and replacing employees. Now, we’re seeing the other side of the human capital equation and it’s one that actually benefits businesses and leads to top line results.
We should start to view HR as a revenue calculation. That is, if you can upskill employees or drive them to be more engaged and effective, it will ultimately bring in more revenue. A University of Oxford study shows that happy workers are 13% more productive, which means investing in keeping workers happy isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes business sense.
But how can a company effectively measure its return on HR investments? It’s historically been a huge challenge to do so. Fortunately, emerging technologies such as ActivTrak (a Sapphire investment), Visier, and The Org, are changing the game and making measurement of people both possible and essential. Workforce analytics tools are helping companies piece the ROI equation together in a number of ways, such as detecting work patterns, measuring behaviors and benchmarking employees across peers and industries. With better measurement and increased visibility into productivity and output, it’s much easier for executives to convince their board and peers in the C-Suite of the need to invest in keeping people happy and engaged.
EMPLOYEE SENTIMENT SHOULD BE A LEADERSHIP PRIORITY
With companies like Apple and Salesforce committing to hybrid work, while others like Twitter and Shopify proclaiming employees never need to return to the office, hybrid and distributed ways of working are likely here to stay. To get the most out of every employee in a distributed environment, it’s not enough to only measure employee activity from a distance. Businesses need to start tracking employee sentiment—that is, to understand how their employees feel about their work, management and company. In a workplace that’s starved of in-person meetings and water-cooler conversations, employee experience platforms that power pulse surveys and provide insights into employee sentiment are no longer just nice-to-haves. They have become essential tools that leadership teams deeply care about.