This year and what it will bring is now in everybody’s minds. Key players and thought leaders in the HR and workplace wellness community already agree that many of the innovations and trends we've seen over the past 12 months will continue to consolidate. More people will increasingly work from home, and there has also been a lasting change in people's general consciousness about their work. Many people are no longer willing to continue working in a system that makes people sick and gives them few opportunities to develop (keyword "Great Resignation"). Buzzwords like "New Work" and "New Normal" are appearing more and more frequently and companies have to look at what they can do to keep up with this development and the increasing demands from their employees. The year 2021 clearly showed that companies will have to focus much more on the well-being of their employees in the future in order to remain competitive in the "War of Talent" in the long term.
In this context, the company qualtricsXM conducted a large survey in August and September 2021 to provide decision makers with important insights. In total, nearly 14,000 full-time employees from 27 countries were surveyed to understand how the employee experience regarding their employment has changed in 2021 and what conclusions can be drawn for the coming year 2022, and beyond.
Overall, six key areas were identified that employers can focus on in 2022 to make a positive impact on their employees: (1) Engagement, (2) Intent to stay, (3) Growth and development, (4) Manager effectiveness/trust in leadership, (5) Employee well-being and (6) Corporate social responsibility.
Furthermore, four major trends can be predicted for 2022: Not only is an exodus of leaders expected, but also that employees will demand better physical and digital workspaces and that there will no longer be any acceptance if inclusion and diversity concerns are not adequately addressed. A key trend, according to the authors, will be that a lack of employee well-being will have a major negative impact if companies do not proactively and sustainably promote the physical and emotional health of their employees in the future.
"Lack of well-being is a countdown to disaster"
Particularly during the critical phases of the pandemic, many leaders have been stretched to their limits, having to take on additional responsibilities and deal with areas of assignment, some of which they were not adequately trained for. Over time, this has often led to exhaustion and burnout, and led many executives to plan to either leave their jobs soon or have already done so.
But it's not just senior executives who are affected. For the past year and a half, many people have been working steadily from their home offices or in hybrid mode, and it has been shown that people in home offices work an average longer per day. The boundaries between leisure and work are becoming increasingly blurred, and employees often find it difficult to draw a clear line between their private and work lives. Employees therefore suffer more from stress, take less important time off and risk ending up in burnout.
In addition, people also suffer from a workplace culture that does not actively promote, support or effectively restore employee well-being after emotional challenges. For example, the survey shows that 29% of respondents would not always call in sick when they actually should, and of those 29%, 61% in turn give their workload as the reason. 20% of the sample also say they often worry about problems at work.
What can employers do?
It is now a truism that the physical, social and emotional well-being of employees has a significant impact on how engaged and productive they are. Unfortunately, according to the qualtricsXM report, too few companies still choose to get to the root of the problem and rather keep a toxic culture alive that rewards workplace martyrdom over self-care and healthy routines. In that regard, companies should consider a few points when it comes to ensuring employee well-being.
Change needs to be top-down: Leaders should also take time for themselves, treat their mental and physical health as a priority, and encourage their employees to do the same.
Respondents also reported, in many cases, that the main reason holding them back from taking care of their mental health is that leaders don't talk enough about the relevance of mental health in the workplace, and the topic continues to be considered a taboo. Talk to your employees and eliminate the stigma!
Ultimately, it is also the responsibility of employees to clearly communicate their own boundaries, talk to their leaders about their workload and ultimately take responsibility for themselves outside of work hours, and to develop and maintain healthy routines.
Collaboratively fostering a culture of well-being should become the central goal for every modern organization. Work with your employees to create an environment where a culture of well-being and appreciation can emerge by providing the structure as an employer for how, where and when work gets done, how to take time off and how to focus on well-being by taking regular breaks and practicing active self-care during working hours and beyond.
More information on the full report and additional insights can be found here: https://www.qualtrics.com/ebooks-guides/employee-experience-trends-2022/
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