As economies gradually open up and we move further into the New Future of Work, various trends are becoming apparent, in the workplace and beyond. Key among these are a strong desire among workers for greater flexibility in, and real control over, where, when and how they work. In addition, employees have a growing preference for working for organisations that have strong environmental and ethical credentials, those which genuinely embrace diversity, equality and sustainability.

Such desires, along with labour and skills shortages, are driving employers to increase focus on workers’ ambitions, desires, concerns and constraints.

The Pandemic’s Education

COVID-19 gave employers a sharp lesson in the need to shift away from the old world view that separated work from the rest of life, adopting a more holistic approach to their workers.

During the pandemic’s abrupt interruption of what had been business as usual, many workers discovered that they preferred working from home. Others, by choice or necessity, took alternative roles, and liked them. Still others found working multiple part time jobs suited them well, taking or dropping shifts according to their circumstances. Many have left their employers, feeling undervalued, ignored or treated as just another resource to be exploited.

This new confidence and determination among individuals to work on their own terms has led to 2021’s “Great Resignation” – a mass, cross-sector move away from roles which are not satisfying their incumbents, in search of more attractive employment.

The Tightening Labour Market

Compounding the challenge for employers, but at the same time making the way forward increasingly clear, workers’ desire for increased flexibility and autonomy has arrived along with a significant and rapid tightening of the labour market, with skills and labour shortages across the economy.

The ONS reported that in the summar of 2021 the number of job vacancies across the UK hit a 20-year high, at 1.1 million. Meanwhile, staff retention is increasingly problematic for many organisations – PWC found that 65% of U.S. employees are looking for new jobs, while in the UK, the CIPD states that no fewer than 90% of people are seeking new roles, or considering doing so. These statistics stand alongside Gartner’s finding that nearly 70% of employees would consider leaving organisations that fail to take a strong stance on societal and cultural issues.

Becoming Life-aware

This confluence of change demands a significant shift in organisations’ approaches to workforce management and HR. It is essential in today’s environment, and will be more so in tomorrow’s, that organisations become “life-aware”, taking the employee’s “Life-work Journey” into account in all their activities. This means more than changing a few processes or updating messaging here and there. It involves a fundamental shift in priorities. As well as maintaining focus on traditional KPIs such as revenues, profit margins and costs, organisations must be aware of, care about and act in the light of their workers’ broader lives.

The Life-Work Journey

Employees who feel undervalued or at risk will not deliver great products and service, and are more likely to display presenteeism, or, as the statistics we’ve seen demonstrate, to seek alternative employment. However, when workers feel valued, taken seriously, invested in and empowered, they respond with loyalty and commitment, investing more of themselves and delivering better results. Employers can only achieve this by acknowledging and focusing on employees’ life-work journeys, recognising that their concerns and aspirations go far beyond their roles in the workplace.

Organisations must improve their workers’ employee experience by giving them the flexibility, autonomy and empowerment they demand, building diversity, equality and sustainability into their day-to-day policies, practices and processes. This, then, is the key to successful recruitment and retention in the New Future of Work.

Understanding how workers feel about life and business, and how businesses and their people affect one another can help cultivate working environments that attract, retain and motivate the best employees. Effective focus on employees’ life-work journeys is key to competitive edge, innovation, resilience, revenues and profit.

Life-Work Technology

At UKG we see again and again that organisations which genuinely, proactively and practically support, empower, value and listen to their workers not only secure and retain the best staff, but also gain optimal benefits from the workforce management, HR and HR Service Delivery solutions they deploy. We have therefore made our principal mission the creation and delivery of solutions in service of people, not processes. We call this Life-work TechnologyTM.

Traditionally, systems have aimed to help businesses improve performance in areas such as productivity, cost control and compliance. Such improvements are essential, but they have often come without reference to, or even in detriment to the issues that matter to the workers.

Life-work Technology delivers an employee experience that improves workers’ lives, not just business performance. It enables organisations to address the challenges we’ve discussed, successfully recruiting, retaining and developing the best workers.

Specifically, Life-work Technology enables organisations to:

  • Build a culture of belonging, making people feel valued and important
  • Improve agility and resilience, helping them address future challenges and opportunities
  • Guide their people and offer them greater autonomy

These capabilities will be key to overcoming challenges and thriving in the New Future of Work.

Resources

Watch our on-demand webinar The Future of Work and Life-work Technology to discover more about Life-work Technology and how it can help your business build a powerhouse workforce, boost innovation, and drive enhanced revenues and profits.

Delivered in conjunction with Forrester Research, the webinar explores the challenges faced by organisations in the New Future of Work, why they must become life-aware to improve their employee experience and business performance, and how Life-work Technology can be a powerful tool, helping them do so.

Read our white paper, What’s Next: Life-work Technology to learn how organisations can become 'life-aware' and consider our life-work journeys to drive success.

To discover more about UKG’s solutions and services, and how we can help your people and business thrive, visit  the UKG website

 

Published: Friday, 5 November 2021