In the past two years, we’ve seen organizations and their employees lean into pandemic-spurred changes in how they work. If 2021 was about adaptation, 2022 will be about embracing change as the “new normal”.
Here are four trends expected in the new year:
1. Hybrid Work is Here to Stay
At Microsoft’s November 2021 Ignite conference, I heard a now-familiar phrase frequently circulated: “Hybrid work is here to stay. And if you can’t adapt to what’s next, you simply won’t make it.”
So, as we enter a new year, hybrid work is likely to become just… work. And what’s the cornerstone of this new work? Flexibility.
Many workers gained more autonomy shifting to remote scenarios, proving that work can happen outside of the office walls and at times, work better. As a result, employee expectations have shifted, with over 70% wanting to keep the option to work remotely. Others may be craving more in-person connections, such as workers earlier in their careers that want better opportunities to grow and foster relationships.
Flexible work options enable employees some level of choice about working on site or remotely. Acknowledging that employee work styles and needs will vary across an organization, hybrid work provides the “yes/and” answer rather than “either/or” to employee satisfaction and productivity. The modern workforce meets employees where they are instead of form-fitting workflow to one style.
2. Employee Insights & Data Analytics will be Key for Managers and Leaders
While more of the workforce chooses to stay remote, it’s important to know how employees are working. Since 2020, the use of employee productivity tracking tools has seen an uptick. A 2021 Gartner analysis showed 16% of employers using more of these tools.
The spread of employees across a hybrid ecosystem bolsters the need for insights and feedback to monitor engagement and productivity. The use data insight technology will help managers understand how their teams are working.
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These technology investments will be key in future decision-making for the continued evolution of an organization’s operations and culture.
3. Focus on Employee Well-Being isn’t a Bonus, it’s a Necessity for Attracting & Retaining Talent
In 2021, the phrase “The Great Resignation” quickly become part of everyone’s lexicon. It describes the mass exodus of workers in pursuit of more flexible work options and jobs better aligned with personal goals and beliefs. The most astounding statistic from 2021 came from a United States Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, finding 4.4 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in September alone.
Now, that statistic encompasses both those that left after accepting a job elsewhere and those who quit with nothing else lined up. Regardless, it speaks to the volume of workers leaving positions that no longer fit their needs or expectations.
The pandemic ushered in (or maybe just amplified) a hyper-productivity-fueled epidemic of burnout, leading employees across all industries to shift their priority from work to supporting the health of themselves and their families. As a result, current talent and new candidates have begun requiring companies to recognize this shift and accommodate.
With more and more remote workers, company culture lies less with on-site benefits (such as the quintessential ping-pong tables and sponsored happy hours) and more with an organization’s ability to care for employees’ lives outside of the office.
It’s anticipated this year will see more iterations of current talent and new candidates choosing whether or not to stay or onboard based on how an organization values employees. Leaders have begun to react, building employee well-being into their strategies more than ever before.
Employees engaged in their work have a clear understanding of how their contributions fit into success. This is driven by communication from leaders that each individual’s work matters. But also that their employees’ growth and well-being is mutually beneficial and worth investing in.
4. Rise in Technology Investments for Improving Employee Experience (EX)
Considering the above trends, organizations are seeking solutions for embracing this “new normal”. A hybrid-work model that keeps employees engaged and connected will require organizations to lean into technology, such as comprehensive intranets and Employee Experience Platforms (EXPs). Read more here about what EXPs are and why they matter.
Microsoft Viva is the newest EXP offering on the market. It aims to provide the next generation of employee experiences via the common surface of Microsoft Teams. It uses a set of four key functionality pillars:
- Connections – Culture and communications
- Insights – Productivity and wellbeing
- Topics – People and expertise
- Learning – Skills and growth
Ready to Reimagine Your Employee Experience?
Our dedicated Microsoft Modern Work practice brings the best expertise in the industry. From Intelligent Intranet to Microsoft Teams to Microsoft Viva, our consultants are here to ensure your success.
Our Microsoft Partner Advisory Council and Partner Program contributions along with our 20+ years of delivering employee experiences to our clients means we seek to build the best strategy for your organization.
Your intranet portal is the doorway to creating and evolving your employee experience. If your organization is considering Microsoft Viva and wants to understand how to prep for it, we’re here to help.
Contact our team to learn more.