The Great Resignation: How Businesses Can Build a Healthier Workforce

Image credit: iStockphoto/Tanaonte

Feeling burnt out and unproductive at work? Or just heard the news about another colleague who’s resigning? You’re not alone.

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, nearly half of Singaporeans (49%) plan to leave their organizations this year, contributing to the global phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation”.

Worldwide, employees are bidding goodbye to their jobs as companies fail to support their staff in managing the disruptions brought on by the pandemic. This has also taken a significant toll on employee mental health, with 37% of workers in Singapore reporting increased rates of burnout over the past six months.

The trend towards hybrid work has upended norms in our workforce, and the last thing organizations should do is to view hybrid work as a “business as usual” scenario. Along with the added emphasis placed on the employee experience in a hybrid setting, business leaders are now tasked with a new challenge: building a future-oriented digital workplace that is productive, creative, and can be sustained for years to come.

The good news is that there is a solution. A series of IDC InfoBriefs on the future of work and digital workspaces, commissioned by Nutanix, revealed how the game is shifting for business leaders. It recommends focusing on three key areas: ensuring secure employee access throughout every touchpoint, ramping up employee experience, and wellbeing metrics.

Supporting a borderless workforce

For many organizations, the adaptation to remote work now provides opportunities to access talent in new markets, particularly beneficial for sectors focused on knowledge workers that have struggled with persistent talent shortages. In a global survey with HR and business leaders, it was found that remote working opened up previously unavailable talent pools to talent acquisition teams, with 64% of hiring managers now more willing to consider remote workers.

As organizations look to create borderless and reconfigurable teams or integrate online-enabled freelance and contractor staff in their day-to-day operations, innovative technologies can be used to support these new workplace demands.

Workspace, desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) models will continue to drive higher remote employee satisfaction, providing more secure and manageable remote-working environments. Companies like TOYOTA are already reaping the benefits of such technology. The organization built physical workstations on VDI to run complex software for their Engineering Design Group, successfully enabling a new way of remote working during the pandemic.

The rise of the gig economy

These new opportunities to cross-border talent have also given way to the emergence of the gig economy. IDC research shows that by 2023, 40% of workers will utilize gig-economy platforms and talent marketplaces to offer their services and digital skills, fundamentally changing HR policies, processes, and tools. More than 30% of the workforce in these Global 2000 organizations will also consist of flexible or short-term contract workers.

To attract and adequately support such staff, organizations will require systems that deliver a single, portable, and secure online digital identity for each team member, enabling extended access to business systems, content, data, and applications across business entities. This goes beyond DaaS and VDI to provide appropriate access to core execution applications and data for employees to perform their roles well — and will be hosted mainly in hybrid multicloud environments to deliver uptime and access, no matter where an employee is located.

Organizations can use many of these same systems to enhance their customer experience — whether digital platforms for events or one-to-one meetings or tools that field teams can use when visiting a customer and demonstrating a new service.

Enhancing employee experience through creativity and productivity

The same technological platforms that enable hybrid work can also help to enhance all aspects of employee engagements. According to IDC, by 2023, 80% of digitally transformed enterprises will rely on crucial IT-related infrastructure metrics tied to optimization, resilience, and ongoing enhancement to drive C-level decision-making.

Digitizing employee experience is one area that 60% of enterprises invested in last year to help transform the relationship between employers and employees. This includes finding ways to foster greater productivity and creativity from staff.

At a technical level, organizations should hire workers with specific skill sets or industry-specific expertise from multiple pools (such as remote, gig, and new generation staff or career pivoters and those that have reskilled) to support critical business initiatives. Protecting their productivity by ensuring they have access to the right tools and systems will ensure they complete projects faster and with better quality business outcomes.

Cultivating a healthy workplace for all

A crucial part of building an efficient workplace also lies in addressing the human aspect — organizations must also look to wellbeing metrics as key methods of fostering more productivity, creativity, and solidarity among teams.

HR leaders must help create a workplace culture focused on health, empathy, trust, and empowerment and is open to staff across all geographies and demographics. This is particularly crucial for attracting millennials and Gen Z employees, as evidenced in an ACCA report where work-life balance and employee wellbeing were the top two critical concerns for new Singaporean workers.

The hiring process should consider all facets of a person: from their technical skills and career history to their life experience and culture. HR professionals must be mindful of unconscious biases that may creep in throughout the hiring process and find methods to overcome them. Look for people that are a “culture add”, rather than a “culture fit” and actively challenge your own biases and misconceptions.

The future workplace requires profound cultural changes and engagement efforts beyond an HR leader or their digital counterparts. HR should work alongside IT, bringing teams and systems together — to create lasting, positive digital employee experiences that aid innovation. After all, the success of hiring next-generation talent and maintaining the productivity of high-value resources hinges on it.

Ho Chye Soon, Singapore country manager at Nutanix, wrote this article.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of DigitalWorkforceTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/Tanaonte