Never before have the workplace, employee, and leadership needs to be changed so much in such a short time. The future of work is being built in real-time as companies navigate office reopenings and hybrid work plans.
Human resource technology companies have an important role to play in helping organizations adapt to this change at large. To do this successfully, they must be aware of key trends and optimize their production capabilities to meet new and ever-changing needs.
Three workplace trends remain on top this year: a more holistic focus on wellness, the changing role of organizations in social issues, and the need for employee buy-in.
New Definition Of Health
The events of the past year have had a significant impact on our collective mental health. The global health crisis, economic uncertainty, and social unrest have left many employees emotionally exhausted. Some may experience personal trauma. Supporting employees through this impact will be incredibly important for businesses, and human resource technology can help.
The standard definition of wellness in HR technology includes physical health – managing health benefits and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. It must now evolve to address complex issues such as grief, burnout, and PTSD – problems that have escalated for many employees over the past year. Human resource technology can provide people with the tools they need to support employees in new ways. For example, some companies are looking for burnout predictor tools before continuing to care for employees and support their mental health.
An important theme to my mind is how HR technology can treat overall health as a result of our technology, not something we simply track or encourage. How can we make both mental and physical health a core for HCM products?
The Era of Corporate Social Responsibility
Both employees and customers now expect companies to engage in social issues and work towards a higher purpose. Indeed, 90% of consumers and 70% of employees are demanding social responsibility from companies. Such participation in the public space was previously unheard of for brands and corporate leadership, and many organizations are struggling to respond appropriately.
Stakeholders are holding organizations accountable for having a perspective on social issues, engaging authentically in inclusive efforts, and working to make the world a better place. More than half of global employees believe that CEOs should speak publicly on controversial political and social issues that matter to them. It has added a whole new level of complexity to both corporate communications and human resources.
HR and HCM Tech can help in many ways. For example, employee sentiment analysis and survey tools can provide a perspective on the social issues that employees are most passionate about. Similarly, many companies are looking for ways to more easily integrate charitable donations into internal systems such as payroll or expense software.
Employee shopping is more important than ever
Employees deserve and expect to be directly involved in building the “next to normal” at their workplaces. This means that it is more important than ever for organizations to find effective ways to obtain employee feedback. The right technology can help leaders get authentic buy-in from employees and take effective action based on this information.
New employee engagement tools can help organizations conduct regular temperature checks across teams. HR and company leaders must be able to ask large-scale open-ended questions, see feedback in real-time, and quickly analyze employee needs. The workplace is changing so rapidly, it is important to know what areas need to be addressed and what employees need on an ongoing basis.
Particularly in remote or hybrid work environments, companies must integrate both qualitative and quantitative insights to understand employees’ work experience and preferences.
HR tech companies have a significant opportunity to participate in and support the future of work. The issues facing workplaces this year will shape norms of social responsibility, mental health, and employee response in the long run. I’m personally excited that our industry can help organizations support employees through these complex transitions and prioritize their needs whatever happens next.