Review of the new employer-employee social contract

We’ve all heard business leaders say that people are their organization’s most important asset, but too often the reality doesn’t fully align with those feelings.

While the competition to attract key talent was (and remains) fierce before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers were either slow or reluctant to make the kind of big changes needed to really prioritize their jobs. employees.

The office was where the vast majority of work needed to be done, while issues such as mental well-being were only addressed when the impact of burnout on absences and staff turnover arose. made you feel. Indeed, the contract between the employee and the employer was unbalanced – the employers made the decisions and the employees were the beneficiaries.

Fast forward 18 months and a whole new employer-employee social contract seems to have taken hold.

Telecommuting has gone from a limited, if not reluctant, arrangement with strict requirements to the norm. The restrictions and blockages presented no other option but to coexist with children and / or spouses, partners and others also working from home. Meanwhile, in-person meetings and events have also moved online, where active participation, productivity, and home connectivity have become potential barriers to getting things done.

The evolution of the work-life balance of employees has also created a new dynamic in terms of health and well-being.

In the “new normal”, employees have removed what was often a strict line between work and home. Running errands, doing household chores, and taking a break to exercise during and around doing work tasks – a new sense of productivity and accomplishment has been created.

However, the burnout resulting from this act of domestic juggling has become a problem. Indeed, what we found is that many employees are wondering if they want to continue doing the work they are doing. And more specifically, if they want to do it with their running employers. Without surprise, many chose not to continue in 2021.

Respond to the new social contract

How organizations can respond to these changing dynamics and thereby maintain a happy and loyal workforce is at the heart of our recently launched HR Trends 2022 report.

The pandemic has highlighted how important employees are to business continuity. Decisions can no longer be made without considering the voice and needs of employees. In 2022, the new employer-employee contract is one where what employees want matters more than ever – and leaders must listen to them if they are to be successful.

We can call this the “big rethink,” a process by which organizations develop plans alongside their employees and make them valued stakeholders.

This is essential for several reasons in addition to the new dynamic already described. For example, employees on leave often felt abandoned and in limbo about their financial future, while others may have made the decision to relocate believing telecommuting would become permanent, only to discover their desire. employer to return to the office.

As part of the big overhaul, business leaders just need to be aware of these circumstances.

One way is to leverage people analytics, employee experience software, and other HR technologies to help balance business results with employee needs. The data, combined with opinion polls, can reveal unique differences in employee perspectives and inform the development of a work environment that values ​​people, fosters confidence, and delivers a healthy outcome.

How has employee satisfaction with the overall employee experience evolved during the pandemic? How does employee satisfaction vary between employees working from home and those in the workplace? What are the first indicators that employees can consider about a job change? What impact do remote supervisors / managers have on employee engagement? What productivity changes have occurred since the pandemic and how do they vary by workplace?

All of these questions can and should be answered with data to help organizations prepare their people management strategies for the next year.

Top tips for managing people in 2022

Indeed, there are several other human resource management measures that employers can take in 2022 to maintain employee engagement and align with the strategic goals of the company:

1. Be explicit and proactive with your post-pandemic workplace strategy

Almost 70% of organizations have either communicated their post-pandemic work vision vaguely or not at all, research from McKinsey shows. Uncertainty can cripple employer-employee relationships and create excessive anxiety that leads to burnout.

2. Keep employee well-being and mental health at the forefront.

While no two employee experiences are the same, there is no doubt that the pandemic period has put the spotlight on the well-being of workers, be it their physical health and / or mental. With the increase in reported cases of wellness issues, now is the time for organizations to take a data-driven surveillance approach – this will help in the early detection of issues and provide important points of comparison between organizations. teams and departments of a company.

3. Consider different approaches for different employee demographics.

There are many variables that will determine one employee’s preferences over another, from how they live at home to whether they are full-time or part-time. Likewise, those with fewer years of service may be more concerned about their job security than their more experienced colleagues. Organizations need to incorporate these distinctions into how they manage the new employer-employee social contract.

Despite the stress and tensions caused by the pandemic, the past 18 months have, in many ways, revealed a stream of benefits that organizations can incorporate into their future work dynamics.

By giving employees a stakeholder seat at the decision-making table, many companies will begin to benefit from a new social contract that underpins a happy, healthy and motivated workforce.

Daniel Mason, VP EMEA, at Visier

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