Tag: employee experience

Is a collaborative approach with employees the answer to labour issues?

With public unionization movements taking place at various Big Tech companies, Microsoft wasn’t to be left out. The tech giant announced last week that it planned to follow an “open and constructive approach” to union organization from its employees.

In their announcement on June 2, 2002, they emphasized that while it wasn’t a requirement for employees to form a union to engage with company leadership, employees have the legal right to create a union.

The company outlined four principles to guide their open attitude to unionization. Among these were that they were “committed to creative and collaborative approaches with unions when employees wish to exercise their rights and Microsoft is presented with a specific unionization proposal.”

Microsoft is currently acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion. This announcement comes on the back of a vote taken at the end of May by an Activision Blizzard subsidiary to form a union.

Right now, the tech industry seems to be lit up by unionization efforts, with Amazon in a heated battle against unionization at some of its facilities, including in New York and Alabama.

In this post-pandemic world, worker power appears to be on the rise in companies across the US, with unions seeing increased activity in numerous sectors. The retail industry is just one example, with Starbucks and REI, where a number of strikes broke out late in 2021.

In what is known as #striketober, workers made demands for improved benefits, including better pay, flexible hours and more time off.

When it comes to unhappy staff, prevention is better than cure. One solution to staving off strike action would be listening to and acting on employee feedback. A Perceptyx survey released in April revealed that employers who did this were 11 times for likely to retain staff than those who didn’t.

Interestingly, fewer employers in the healthcare and retail industries were “listening to employees” than in other industries. These industries have also faced strike and unionization activities, high staff turnover and labour shortages.

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43% set to quit jobs for improved working conditions

EY has released their 2022 Work Reimagined Survey, showing that 43% of employees are likely to quit their jobs, motivated by higher salaries, better career opportunities, and increased flexibility.

The survey canvassed over 1,500 business leaders and 17,000 employees across 22 countries and 26 industry sectors and found that employees have significant influence amid a shrinking labour market and rising inflation.

According to the survey, 35% of employees say that their main motivation for quitting their jobs is a desire for higher pay. This is likely due to record inflation numbers in many countries. Twenty-five percent are looking for career growth, while 42% believe that pay increases will address high staff turnover. However, only 18% of employers agree with this statement.

Last year’s survey found that flexible working arrangements were the biggest driver in employee moves. However, with many companies now offering some flexibility, remote work is less of a factor, at 19%. Seventeen percent say they would leave for well-being programs.

When looking at age groups in the various countries, the survey found that 53% of Gen Z employees and millennials in the US are the most likely to quit their jobs this year. In addition, across all sectors, 60% of employees with technology and hardware jobs are eager to leave.

Despite an improved outlook on company culture, many employees are keen to job hunt. In contrast, employers are less confident about company culture. Similarly, while many employees feel that the new ways of working increased their productivity, employers’ confidence in productivity decreased from 77% to 57%.

In looking at growing skills and the talent gap, findings among employers are:

  • 58% agree that it is important to have a strategy that matches talent and skills to business needs.
  • 74% are prepared to hire employees from other countries and allow remote work if their skills are critical or scarce.
  • 21% believe that improving opportunities to build skills will help address turnover.

In respect of flexible working models, the survey shows that:

  • 22% of employer respondents want employees back in the office five days a week.
  • Reluctance to work remotely among employees fell from 34% to 20%.
  • 80% of employees would like to work remotely at least two days per week.

The survey also examines whether new ways of working boost culture and productivity. It reveals that 32% of “optimist” employers have improved culture and productivity by ensuring that their leaders understand company issues, external practices, and strategies. Other drivers of success are hybrid work, investing in on-site amenities, enhancing workplace technology, and empowering employees.

Liz Fealy, EY Global People Advisory Services Deputy Leader and Workforce Advisory Leader, commented: “This latest survey shows that employees around the world are feeling empowered to leave jobs if their expectations are not met. As employers have increasingly provided flexible work approaches, higher pay is now the biggest motivation for changing jobs, particularly given rising inflation and available unfilled roles.”

Roselyn Feinsod, EY Work Reimagined Leader, commented: “We are seeing a top third of companies successfully navigating these divergent positions on pay, career opportunities and flexibility. They have moved from ‘resistance’ to ‘renaissance’ and that’s a win-win for their companies and their workforce. Organizations have to work to retain their employees, instill trust and provide a package that takes into account total pay, career path and flexibility to balance market concerns and risks.”

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Winning the war for talent is less about money, titles and job security and more about employee experience in the post-pandemic era, according to a major study commissioned by Microsoft.

And according to the resulting six-part report entitled The Definitive Guide: Employee Experience, produced by the Josh Bersin Company, organisational culture is the top driver for creating an excellent employee experience (EX).

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with HR and business leaders from companies such as Deutsche Telekom, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Microsoft and Unilever, taking in views from more than 950 organisations for the report.

They said EX had emerged as one of the key factors to adapting to the business and workforce challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the area having evolved from niche engineering projects to strategic, enterprise-wide initiatives.

The researchers said there were six key findings that emerged from studying organisations with superior EX. These were: a focus on trust, transparency, inclusion and care; that a supportive culture plays a big role; that innovation and sustainable growth depend on equitable rewards and building communities at work; that consistent, mission-first people investments in any business climate improve business performance; that EX excellence directly leads to business outcomes; and that HR capabilities and the right technologies are vital.

The researchers devised an EX Maturity Model to help assess where organisations currently stood in terms of their EX. Organisations were given a ranking between one and four, with the former being least impactful and the latter most impactful. Overall, 55% of the companies represented were found to be at the lower two levels of the model.

The report said that technology played a vital role in feeding into employee experience and also in determining a company’s level of maturity.

Kathi Enderes, vice president of research at the Josh Bersin Company, said: “EX is multi-faceted, complex and multi-layered. No single project or technology solution will create EX excellence. Our research delves into the many different factors and dimensions involved in EX, as well as various strategies and programmes. While technologies and services alone don’t drive great EX, they absolutely are correlated to EX maturity.”

Strong leadership vital

However, Josh Bersin, CEO and global industry analyst, added: “Without the right leadership, capabilities and behaviours, any progress in EX will be short-lived and unsustainable. It’s a choice to make: are you prioritising business-centred leadership in which the business is first and people are second or emphasising human-centred leadership that prioritises your people? Above all, remember that the journey to a world-class employee experience is an ongoing process enabled by close listening to your people.”

A big part of what the most successful leaders do is drive company culture, according to a separate study from Heidrick and Struggles released last week.

It surveyed 500 CEOs across nine countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US – and found that globally, 11% of CEOs were ‘culture accelerators’, leaders who were “significantly more intentional in the way that they focused on culture than others”.

It reported that companies led by such individuals showed double the compound annual growth rate of others surveyed for the same study.

Ian Johnston, co-author of the report and partner in Heidrick and Struggles’ London office, said: “The global pandemic caused turmoil within many organisations and it seems those who have maintained a focus on culture during the uncertainty will be better positioned for future success.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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