Nearly three years after the onset of the COVID pandemic, much has changed about how employees engage with their employer and their work. Many have learned to work productively with colleagues across time zones as various communications tools and software enable us to stay in touch and keep work on track. With all this change, the iCIMS 2023 Workforce Report, which dubs 2023 the year of “The Great Reset,” offers insights into what the year ahead has in store for employees and employers alike.
A look back offers the latest reminders that things are never going back to the way they were before. Here are some key takeaways.
Control what can be controlled.
With uncertain economic times on the horizon, more employees are hesitant about what the year ahead could mean for their financial stability. According to the report, four in five employees are not feeling secure financially and professionally. More specifically, 70% of employees are concerned about the economy and its potential impacts on their job and outside life, while 25% are looking for new employment because of the cost-of-living crisis. Meanwhile, 21% of employees say they’ve experienced adverse mental health effects due to this uncertainty.
These numbers raise a rather large red flag when it comes to the outlook for next year. It then begs the question — how will employers address financial concerns in the new year?
While it’s not possible to control the outside forces of the economy as an employer, you can tailor your communications strategy to the times and address concerns employees might have. It all comes down to meeting them where they are — listening to their concerns, providing them with resources for growth like financial literacy education when you can, and giving them the proper tools to succeed. Demonstrating an awareness of these economic concerns and letting employees know that their concerns are considered in your benefits and outreach will result in a more content, secure employee base, even amid times of struggle and uncertainty.
Keep engaging employees around culture and belonging.
While they might not be resigning at the same clip they were in 2021, employees are clearly reconsidering their relationships with their jobs and look poised to continue to do so in 2023. Only 30% of survey respondents reported loving their jobs, and one in four said they were just waiting for either a promotion or another opportunity to show up, a sign of a lack of full commitment.
This trend can be attributed to a ton of different factors — quiet quitting, quiet firing and an increased focus on personal pursuits following the outbreak of the pandemic, to name a few. You can help keep their workers engaged by crafting culture-focused messages, touchpoints and experiences that help them feel like they’re truly a part of something larger than themselves. Consider increasing the awareness and cadence of your outreach around your wellness programs, DE&I initiatives, or employee resource groups. Remember, there’s no such thing as overcommunicating the message to employees that they matter and are valued — not just for what they contribute to the team, but for who they are as individuals as well.
Treat flexibility as a top priority.
When the pandemic began and many office workers took their tasks home, millions of people began to realize that flexibility was extremely valuable to them. In fact, 93% of survey respondents stated that flexibility was at the top of their list of priorities when looking for a new job.
The data also gave an interesting juxtaposition between desired flexibility and desired work situations, with 48% of respondents claiming they want full-time in the office, another 17% preferring a hybrid situation and 15% looking for a fully remote arrangement. Location matters, too, as 63% of respondents reported that where they worked was a top three factor as to whether they’d accept an offer.
These numbers offer a reminder that if employees want flexibility, comms should help the organization find a way to provide it by having a hand in building guidelines for internal communication and project management across business functions that is flexible to employee experience. In 2023, if you want to attract and retain top talent in your industry, cultivating a flexible culture is a must.
As the new year rapidly approaches, you should encourage the leaders at your organization to take a long look at how they are interacting with these trends in employee behavior. By investing in your people, providing flexible frameworks for work and training managers to be better active listeners your organization, you can be prepared for The Great Reset of 2023.
Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.
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