In a 2022 report on HR Trends, Trust Radius has concluded that most HR professionals are pleased with the success of remote work implementation and employee wellbeing. But, at the same time, HR professionals have been challenged and exhausted by the upheaval of the pandemic, the Great Resignation (retaining employees and finding replacements among a labor shortage), and the need to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
Let’s look at their findings. Some of them are surprising.
Remote Work Increased Employee Wellbeing
A clear majority of HR professionals, 65 percent, say that working from home increased wellbelling among employees. HR professionals who are Millennials respond higher, saying that 72 percent believe that remote work improves employee wellbeing.
HR is Split on Whether Remote Work Improves Productivity
Overall, HR professionals are split on whether remote work positively affects productivity. Nearly half of HR pros (48 percent) say that remote work increases productivity, although an equal number say that it either decreases productivity (26 percent) or has no effect whatsoever (22 percent). Trust Radius wasn’t surprised to see that HR pros at office-only companies are the most likely to think that remote work has a negative effect. Forty-two percent of office-only HR pros say that remote work decreases productivity. Those in fully remote environments strongly disagree: 59 percent of fully remote HR pros feel that remote work improves productivity.
I found this result by Trust Radius very surprising. I contrast these results with many surveys that show that the workers and their managers generally say that about 90 percent of remote workers are more productive working from home. In addition, when I implemented a hybrid working model with Medtronic Inc. in Santa Rosa in 2012, the productivity of remote workers rose 22 percent. In addition, wellbeing rose because employees had more control over the schedule of their workday and no longer had an hour commute.
Remote Work Has a Mixed Impact on HR
When Trust Radius asked if remote work affects the ability of HR professionals to deliver service to employees, responses were evenly split. Thirty-one percent say remote work makes it more difficult, 32 percent think it’s easier, and 35 percent say it makes no difference at all. Here again, respondents who work in office-only environments take the opposite view to those in more flexible companies. Thirty-nine percent of office-only HR pros say that remote work makes their job harder. In a direct reversal, 38 percent of HR professionals in flexible organizations say that remote work actually makes their work easier.
What Caused the Great Resignation?
On the company side, HR professionals believe that the single biggest cause of the Great Resignation is stressful working conditions (31 percent). This was followed by low pay (16 percent), a lack of flexibility (15 percent), and a failure to address work/ life balance (13 percent). This finding by Trust Radius is similar to findings by MIT researchers who discovered that a toxic work culture was ten times more likely than below-market pay to cause turnover. I was surprised that low pay was not a higher cause of turnover.
On the talent side, Trust Radius found that HR professionals think that the Great Resignation happened because employees have gained perspective on what’s important in their lives (30 percent) or are reflecting on what they want from their careers (18 percent). Only 14 percent of HR professionals believe that employees left looking for better-paying opportunities.
The Great Resignation is Probably Permanent
A shocking majority of U.S. HR professionals (77 percent) think that the Great Resignation is a permanent change in the labor market. Only 12 percent believe it is a temporary blip.
How the Great Resignation impacts DEI.
HR professionals by a massive majority, 71 percent, believe that the Great Resignation will affect their DEI efforts. However, they are split on the effect, with 41 percent seeing it has an opportunity to increase diversity, and 44 percent think that it will require a complete rethinking of their efforts. About 60 percent of HR professionals think their companies are diverse.
HR Teams are spending more money on technology.
HR software has experienced a massive boom in response to the pandemic. Trust Radius expect this trend to continue well into 2022 and beyond. A majority of HR professionals (55 percent) say that their companies are spending more on HR technology right now. Among HR professionals, 45 percent are spending more to upgrade their existing tech stack, and 38 percent are purchasing new tech. Across all industries Trust Radius surveyed, tech companies were much more likely than non-tech companies to increase their HR tech spending, whether on new technology (56 percent vs. 37 percent) or to improve their existing technology stack (67% percent. 44 percent). This boom is likely caused by both the shift to remote work and the Great Resignation.
The TrustRadius 2022 HR Trends Survey was conducted by email outreach. They received responses from 764 HR professionals across various industries in the United States. All responses were anonymous to assure privacy and allow respondents to share their honest answers.
Changes will keep coming to HR organizations in the 2020s. However, the transition to remote and hybrid work models is helping companies recruit and retain employees, become more productive, and improve employee well-being.
Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and managing partner of InnovationOne.. He works with companies to transform HR and recruiting, implement remote work, and develop extraordinary leaders, teams, and innovation cultures. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. Subscribe to his weekly blogs at www.VictorHRConsultant.com.