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5 Future of Work Trends to Set Your Organization Up for Success

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Between turbulent periods of talent acquisition and overall uncertainty surrounding the economy, the future of work is still largely unknown. However, it’s clear that your actions as an HR leader will have lasting impacts on the future of your organization.

CNBC predicts that “the war for talent will continue in 2022 as employers try to stymie turnover and attract new workers” and that “larger companies who have the resources to offer more pay, better benefits, flexible work, and job stability are winning out.” The only way to combat high turnover is to understand why employees are leaving and ensure your company is providing the resources, opportunities, and benefits that persuade employees to stay.

Plan your organization's return-to-work strategies around these five key future of work trends to retain your workers and attract qualified new hires.

1. Focus on Resiliency to Combat the Unknown

Resiliency is an increasingly crucial component of workplace culture. Inflexible policies and failure to prepare for sudden emergencies or changes in procedure aren't just interruptive and bad for business — they put a lot of stress on employees who might respond by looking for a more peaceful work environment elsewhere.

Instead, focus on resiliency by (i) creating contingency plans that allow you to react to the unknown, (ii) training employees to respond to problems more dynamically, and (iii) ensuring they have adequate resources to work from home or on their own.

There are three key areas of focus that organizations and employees need to build better resiliency:

  1. Flexibility: Being flexible requires preparation, with robust online tools, an up-to-date knowledge bank, and employees who feel empowered. Flexibility also helps your organization respond quickly to variant waves.
  2. Wellness: When organizations prioritize employee wellness, both through flexible work options and through wellness-related benefits packages, employees are more resilient to (and more forgiving of) sudden workplace turbulence.
  3. Culture: Without a strong culture of cooperation and helpfulness, employees can't be resilient. They need to know they can ask for help and receive it, that teams will support each other to reach individual and group goals, and that no one will undermine them.

2. Talent Retention Has Never Been More Important

Employee retention should be a bigger priority than employee acquisition. Long-term employees know your business better, can more efficiently provide excellent customer experiences and know the details of your services. If your organization adapts to the times and offers the work structures and benefits workers need to build a stable career for themselves, they're much more likely to stay than to look for another opportunity elsewhere. You can focus on talent retention by prioritizing:

  • Employee health and safety
  • Overall well-being and two-way communication
  • Training and internal promotion opportunities

The third point allows you to retain employees longer by promoting from within and cultivating the right skillsets that will help your organization thrive under any circumstances. 

If your company is also hiring new employees, start their experience with your company the right way by focusing on applicants with versatile skillsets. They can adapt well to changing circumstances and will be a good fit for your organization long-term, especially in the future when there are roles that haven't yet been defined within the company.

3. Workers Demand Hybrid Work and Flexibility

During the pandemic, many employees adapted to working from home instead of going into the office. Far from simply making do, many employees thrived under the new arrangement, and companies saw a resulting boost in productivity and profits. If you force your employees to return to the office, especially when they've already proven that they can successfully manage their work from home, employees will leave. Instead of forcing a return to the old-school status quo, your organization should offer flexibility:

  • Remote Work: For positions that don't require in-office or in-store participation, allow employees to work fully from home. 
  • Hybrid Work: Create a more versatile arrangement of some days in the office and some days at home so employees retain control over their schedules while still maintaining an in-office presence that may be critical to your organization. Hybrid setups cultivate the best of both worlds and demonstrate trust in your employees.

The future of work predominantly features a hybrid work model and creating an environment where employees can choose these hybrid models is a great way to attract and retain top talent.

4. Prioritize Employee Sentiment

Through the hybrid model, employees can create their own calendar of in-office days. Some employees may prefer coming in twice a week, while others will want to stay home except for occasional meetings and QBRs. Employees need this flexibility for a variety of reasons: lingering health concerns, childcare, and even a home address in a different state.

This is all part of the larger picture of prioritizing employees’ preferences when it comes to a number of work-related policies. From general health and safety protocols to benefits administration, it’s crucial to show your team members that you’re listening to them. Working with your employees to create a workplace and working environment that meet the organization's needs and their needs creates a partnership that employees value.

5. Be Transparent in Leadership

Because of ongoing turbulence and instability, workplaces need to have a culture of trust and accountability. That starts with the leadership teams. Executives, department heads, and team leads all need to be transparent about every aspect of business that affects their employees. This includes:

  • Overall company health
  • Trends that may impact flexible scheduling
  • Business forecasting

Create the Right Strategy to Increase Employee and Organizational Success

The future of work is continually evolving, but the demand for (and the success of) hybrid work models will never disappear. Make sure your workplace is adapting to the future of work so you can strengthen your company, retain your key employees, and ensure your organization appeals to top talent within your industry.

At ReturnSafe, we offer solutions for the future of work including hybrid work management, employee engagement, and workplace health safety. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you organize and implement your return-to-work processes and set up a strong foundation for hybrid work.