We live in a time of disorder. We all feel the rumblings: an earthquake of societal and economic upheaval challenging institutions, governments, business, the environment. Longstanding conventions—laws, currencies, borders—meant to smooth over conflict and rise above cultural differences are being doubted and tested. And it’s not all at the abstract level of pandemics, economics and war. Even incivility in a grocery store can leave us shaken.
This is how chaos feels.
It’s difficult to wrap our heads around an exponential rate of change, to determine how we handle a long period of chaos. According to WEF Global Risk Report Data 41.8% of global leaders surveyed expect constant volatility with multiple surprises with a top 10 list of risks spanning social cohesion, deteriorating mental health and cybersecurity. Korn Ferry’s Briefings magazine cover headline, “Chaos Control” highlights the need for leaders to identify the issues and signals so they can take control of and act on the need to be highly agile and improvise solutions.
Ingenuity is the way to counter chaos.
When real earthquakes devastated Tokyo, people rebounded with new technology: seismic isolation systems for buildings, which decouple the foundations of skyscrapers from their upper stories. When the rumbling ends, the swaying buildings are still intact.
As business leaders, we need to decouple the shaky ground our workers feel from their ability to think, execute, and achieve. Chaos is immensely stressful. In the United States, anxiety is up 41%, stress is up 39%, feelings of social isolation and loneliness are up 28%. All of this, of course, carries into a person’s work life. According to Gallup’s 2021 Global Emotions Study, 41% of employees report experiencing constant worry throughout the day and 74% of employees say they’re extremely burned out.
For humans, the seismic isolation systems are psychological: skills and practices that help us think flexibly, separate real and unlikely risks, and stay calm in the face of challenge.
But here, too, technology can help us achieve change at scale. We can apply our immense AI capabilities to predict downward spirals from the individual level to entire populations. We can deploy highly personalized training at scale, not just for those people with mental illness but for everyone who has to react to the chaos—which is, in fact, all of us.
Wellbeing is a critical issue facing the workforce. 79% of Risk Managers are advising their organizations that workforce exhaustion and mental health challenges from sustained disruption are now serious business risks. The overwhelming sense of stress brought on by uncertainty and change, if left unmanaged, leads to work-life balance issues, change fatigue, higher turnover rates, and reduced productivity.
Here’s how to apply human ingenuity to the challenge:
Predict with Data
Prioritize Mental Well-being
Chaos is exhausting. There are actions we must take now to turn risk into opportunity and chaos into resilience. It’s the moment for ingenuity.
There is a disconnect between leaders’ and employee perceptions about the hybrid workplace and it could be hurting your people—and your business. A lack of clear guidelines about hybrid work is resulting in greater uncertainty and anxiety among employees. Not only does this put your hybrid and return to site plans at risk, but it’s costly and disruptive.
Here are some questions organizations should be asking themselves: Do you have clear guidelines? How can you do this with resilience, transparency and trust? Are you doing enough to ensure all employees feel equally supported?
The expectations between employers and employees around hybrid work are telling.
In our recent survey conducted in partnership with Executive Networks, at organizations that lack a clear roadmap for hybrid work, employees are more likely to struggle with engagement. And while 66% of Leaders say their organization has clearly defined and communicated hybrid work guidelines, only 47% of employees agree. This communication mismatch must be addressed for organizations to move forward with a successful transition to hybrid.
Organizations that fail to provide adequate support for all work environments risk damaging employee morale and retention. But what does adequate support look like? Overall, survey participants ranked positivity as the most important attribute for adapting to change in the workplace, followed by stress management, focus, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
Remote/hybrid workers who perceive they’re receiving less support than on-site employees struggle more with burnout and lower morale. Dissatisfaction leads to a higher likelihood of resignation, with 23% saying they’re likely to look for another job in the next 12 months compared to 12% of other respondents.
While the study found that a mismatch between employees’ actual and desired work environments threatens their wellbeing, it also found that clear hybrid guidelines have a big impact on employee perceptions of support and the ability to adapt to change. The study identifies steps that organizations can take to create a more resilient workforce, one that is able to embrace the realities of the new hybrid workplace.
There are actions you can take to move forward.
Address the disconnect head-on.
Understanding the conflicting perceptions of optimal work environments and promoting advancement in all settings is critical. Engaging in deep listening with all employee segments to understand preferences for their optimal work environment can create more understanding and help to reach a consensus on which job roles are ripe for remote, hybrid, and fully on-site work.
Set guardrails for hybrid work.
To enable greater resilience among employees in hybrid work environments, leaders need to create a clear roadmap defining expectations, tailored to their organization’s particular culture. For optimal success, leaders should go further by modelling desired behavior for their employees such as empathy, a focal point of workforce resilience.
Employer support means the world.
Employees assigned to their preferred work situation have a more positive employee experience. They are more likely to feel connected to their company’s mission and vision (80%) vs. those not working in their preferred environment (68%) and to feel positive emotions at work (77% vs. 64%).
Actions leaders can take to mitigate this include elevating wellbeing as a core component of employee experience, and being creative in exploring tech-enabled wellbeing tools for all employees, regardless of where they work.
Dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty in different work environments requires leaders to lead with empathy, gratitude, and kindness, while building both their own resilience and the resilience of their teams. For more tips on establishing clear expectations for the hybrid workplace, as well as how to lead employees who work fully in-person, remote, or in a hybrid environment, download The New Hybrid Workplace Build on Resilience, Transparency & Trust ebook.
meQuilibrium is here to help. Reach out to a Workforce Resilience specialist today.
With uncertainty in the marketplace and the ongoing disruptions of COVID, social unrest, global conflict, and fears of recession mounting, HR issues are getting increased attention at most organizations. The role of the CHRO, already a complex balance between employee needs and business objectives, has become even more complicated with the rise of remote and hybrid work, DEI and ESG adherence, and an increased demand for wellbeing support from a global workforce. Now more than ever, the role of HR has become business critical. CHROs are tasked with leading the way on how we work, where we work, and how we stay connected.
To learn more, Executive Networks interviewed and surveyed 112 Chief Human Resource Officers from Global 1000 organizations, to get their take on how their roles have evolved, and what the future holds. meQ was honored to support this important research initiative. The results are available in the new research report, Global CHRO of the Future. This report uncovers 7 trends that can help HR leaders create a new vision and purpose for today’s challenges. Below are some highlights from the full report.
An increased focus on HR
Future of work issues have become a business imperative, as more and more boards of directors are placing HR issues on their agendas to anticipate expanding expectations of employers. According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, employees are expecting businesses to tackle issues such as climate change, income inequality, and worker re-skilling.
More than half of the CHRO respondents said engagements with their fiduciary boards have “substantially increased” since the beginning of 2020, and nearly 3 in 4 said their boards are “more involved in HR matters than they were 24 months ago.”
This trend makes it more important than ever to enter such conversations armed with the data and analytics you need to prove the efficacy of your programs – and your spend.
The struggle to retain not just talent, but the right talent
With virtually every sector of the economy facing higher-than-normal inflation, some employers are facing pressure to raise salaries, while others are starting to lay off employees amid concerns of a recession. As organizations tighten their belts, retaining top talent becomes even more important. 83% of CHROs report facing a significant talent retention problem for in-demand skills. The top factors leading to increased voluntary turnover include stress and employee burnout, lack of visibility into career development, work life balance issues, and compensation.
Building resilience in individual employees and developing managers to lead their teams with empathy will reduce burnout, improve retention, and increase productivity across your organization.
In the full report, you’ll learn:
The workplace, and the role of the CHRO, are forever changed. Leading companies to a successful future means creating the right guiding principles for successful work models, and staying ahead of unique challenges. The role of the CHRO remains pivotal in helping organizations and their people rise with resilience in the face of uncertainty.
Download the Global CHRO of the Future Research Report
Although young professionals are the future of work, early talent teams aren't necessarily getting the buy-in they need for their recruitment, and when an economic downturn occurs, their budgets are often slashed first. However, selling the work of early talent teams short is really a shortsighted move considering the benefits organizations gain when they hire Gen Z talent.
First and foremost, there is an abundance of this talent available, as the Education Data Initiative reports that in 2021 alone, 4.43 million students graduated from college. In addition, if you're focused on DEIB hiring, early talent is great to tap into because younger generations are the most diverse in the workplace today. Generation Z, which is made up of people born between 1995 and 2012, has a racial makeup that is 48 percent white, 25 percent Hispanic, 14 percent Black, 6 percent Asian, and 5 percent identifying as another race or biracial, according to the Pew Research Center.
And the benefits for organizations don't end there. The work of early talent teams can go a long way toward making positive changes in your organization. The following are some reasons why.
If you're tracking recruiting metrics and your numbers aren’t where you'd like them to be, hiring early career talent can help. For example, if you need to reduce the amount you spend to hire employees, early talent teams can make the cost per hire rate go down. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost to hire an employee is about $4,700. When early talent teams recruit on campus, however, it significantly reduces the cost. In fact, the Education Resources Information Center reports that companies spend an average of $2,114 per hire when recruiting at private colleges and universities and $536 at public ones.
Also, early talent teams can reduce the time it takes to hire employees. If you have a robust internship program, you’re already nurturing relationships with potential hires and if those interns have a good experience, they’ll be quick to jump on any full-time opportunities you offer. A study by Zippia found that 70 percent of this talent gets hired by the companies they interned with—and considering 300,000 students participate in internships every year, this is fertile ground for getting positions filled faster, thus reducing your time to hire rate.
Although Generation Z workers have the reputation for job hopping, that’s actually a myth employers should dispel. The truth is this talent will not stay in a place where they’re not appreciated because they want to work for an organization that values them and nurtures their growth. And if you do that, you’ll boost retention and create a work culture that cultivates the future leaders of your organization.
The proof is in the data: A study by Handshake shows that although Gen Z workers will stay at a company for an average of three years, they’ll increase that to 6.5 years if the organization they work for provides opportunities for career advancement.
In addition, some companies are hiring early talent for junior-level managerial roles directly. Unilever actually uses this strategy and Placid Jover, the company’s Chief HR Expertise and Innovation Officer, told CNBC that 84 percent of junior management positions at the company are filled with early career talent.
Early career professionals have fresh ideas and perspectives that can fuel innovation. They’re already well-known for their technological savvy—and willingness to share their knowledge with older colleagues—and they can offer a new perspective that your company needs to be successful in the future. Without employees that bring new ideas to the table, an organization can become stagnant and over time, get left behind by competitors that recognize the value of early career talent and are willing to take advantage of the creativity young professionals have.
The importance of the work early talent teams do cannot be understated. Not only can they help boost an organization's bottom line, they can also create a work culture that lays the foundation for a successful future. Although it’s easy to dismiss early talent hiring in favor of focusing on more seasoned workers, the benefits of hiring young professionals shouldn’t be denied.
As the hospitality industry continues to tackle the challenges of record-high inflation rates, soaring energy prices, and increased levels of unemployment, one thing seems to have been forgotten: diversity. On the face of things, the sector is blazing a trail for diversity and inclusion. But in reality, more must be done, particularly at a leadership level.
The 2022 Inside Hospitality Survey – sponsored by Harri – revealed a clear lack of historically underrepresented candidates within leadership teams. If the industry wants to improve its reputation, this needs to change – and that starts with hiring.
Here are several ways to create a more diverse candidate slate for leadership roles…
How can tech support your diversity and inclusion strategy?
There are many approaches to hiring employees. As the name implies, a skills-based outlook focuses on a candidate’s abilities rather than their name, face, or background. This attitude may increase diversity and expand the candidate pool. It could even speed up the hiring process and reduce recruitment costs, too.
That said, adopting a skills-based approach isn’t guaranteed to solve all your diversity issues. Unconscious bias may still creep into the hiring process, at least when manually shortlisting applicants. But modern technology solutions ensure equality when selecting potential candidates for an interview, while artificial intelligence tools help reduce unconscious bias, so you can better evaluate potential hires on their related skills and experience.
If you’re not currently hiring new employees, consider engaging your existing workforce to diversify your leadership team. You never know, your employees might be thinking about taking the next step in their careers.
According to the Inside Hospitality Survey, Operations Teams are least likely to believe there are good career opportunities within the sector. Just 20% strongly agree that their employer supports their career goals and plans. This lack of encouragement harms employee retention, as valuable workers seek positions elsewhere. So if promotions or leadership roles are available within your organisation, it’s your job to highlight them.
An integrated engagement solution can remove barriers in your business, allowing you to interact with your employees and be more transparent about growth potential. You can connect with your team on a regular basis, formalise performance reviews, and highlight all open roles. Not only will this strengthen the employee-employer relationship, it will create a sense of belonging and purpose among staff, which could encourage them to take the next step into a leadership position.