The pandemic-era phenomenon known as the Great Resignation shows no signs of slowing with senior executives planning to leave their organizations in the next two years, according to a new report released today by KellyOCG, the outsourcing and consulting business of Kelly. The 2022 KellyOCG Global Workforce Report – Re:work uncovers the disconnect between evolving employee expectations and the support firms provide. It also spotlights the actions an elite group of companies, the Vanguards, are taking to attract and retain the talent they need to grow their business.
The report, a follow-up to the 2021 report, Next-level Agility: The Four Dynamics of a Resilient Workforce, identifies the greatest talent challenges and risks facing organizations as they emerge from the pandemic. It also explores how companies are transforming across four critical dynamics of success: workforce fluidity; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); employee experience; and adoption of tools and technologies.
“Our research signals there is significant talent demand for a life-work shift. Even senior leaders are experiencing it and acknowledge that employers could be doing more,” said Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG. “A shift in workplace culture is needed and organizations must evolve to remain competitive, profitable, and attractive to top talent. Organizations that aren’t taking action across the four dynamics will continue to see employees at all levels walk out the door.”
KellyOCG surveyed C-suite leaders, board members, department heads, directors, and managers in 12 countries and 10 industries. Key findings include:
- Many senior executives are dissatisfied in their role and lack confidence in their employer.More than half of senior leaders worldwide (58%) are unhappy in their current position, and 72% plan to leave their employer within the next two years. These findings indicate the full force of the Great Resignation has yet to be felt – and this widespread “boss loss” will have significant implications for companies and the global economy.
- Leaders are struggling to make hybrid work a success.Just two in ten firms believe that hybrid work is positively impacting organizational culture, and almost a third (28%) expect the complexity of managing a hybrid workforce will eventually require a return to the office for most employees. While 66% say their firms are redefining their culture to fit a hybrid working world, only a third provide employees with an avenue to share feedback on hybrid work policies.
- Hiring contingent talent is one of the biggest talent barriers firms face today. Just over 33% of leaders say their firms struggle to hire the contingent talent they need to remain agile in today’s economy. More than a quarter (28%) plan to increase their use of contingent talent by at least 25% in the next five years, but few (36%) have a clear strategy for how they will use contingent talent to augment their permanent workforce.
- Firms are not going far enough or fast enough to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion and support employees’ mental health. Only around one-third have implemented innovative initiatives to improve DEI, such as advocacy groups and support programs (and only 19% provide DEI training for leaders). And even though more than 25% report an increase in employee absences due to poor mental health, 70% do not have a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to disclose mental health challenges as a reason for taking time off.
- Firms are lagging when it comes to adopting the right tools and technologies required to develop their workforce. Nearly two-thirds do not yet have data analytics tools that enable them to capture trends around employee retention and productivity – even though 76% of firms who have adopted such tools say have been positively received by employees. And 64% report a lack of knowledge-sharing tools that foster stronger collaboration among hybrid, remote, and in-office employees.
“A shift in workplace culture is needed and organizations must evolve to remain competitive, profitable, and attractive to top talent. Organizations that aren’t taking action across the four dynamics will continue to see employees at all levels walk out the door.”
The Re:work report provides a blueprint for firms interested in following the lead of the “Vanguards” – a group of thriving organizations that report an increase in employee wellbeing, productivity, and revenue growth in the last year. The Vanguards represent 15% of global survey respondents and they share four key dynamics driving their approach to culture, technology, and talent management:
- Vanguards are strengthening workforce agility. These leading organizations are 15% more likely to encourage the use of contingent talent to improve workforce agility (40% vs. 24%), suggesting a link between the use of contingent talent and higher employee productivity and wellbeing.
- Vanguards are taking concrete action on DEI. Senior leaders at these firms are more likely to engage with workers across the organization around DEI (82% vs. 60%) and are more likely to implement innovative initiatives to improve their DEI performance – but there is much more progress to be made to create an inclusive workplace environment.
- Vanguards are reinventing the employee experience. Senior executives at Vanguard organizations are 33% more likely to indicate they have a positive life-work balance and are happy in their current role. They are also more likely to say that their organization is respectful of employees as a whole person and is reinventing work in partnership with them. Vanguards are also implementing strategies to assess employee sentiment and engagement and report C-suite accountability for improving the employee experience (57% vs. 29%).
- Vanguards are adopting the right tools and technologies to empower today’s workforce.They are implementing knowledge-sharing tools that enable collaboration among in-office, hybrid, and remote workers (46% vs. 34%) and utilize platforms that allow a clear view of the mix of permanent and contingent talent across their business (42% vs. 32%).
When these four dynamics are embraced together, businesses across industries can better attract, retain, and motivate talent to meet their business goals, the Re:work report finds. Independent experts cited throughout the report provide further insights and testimonials on how their organizations are navigating the life-work shift.