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Employee Empowerment Reconsidered

One transformative aspect of everyday life that has come out from the pandemic is the advent of the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.

One transformative aspect of everyday life that has come out from the pandemic is the advent of the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.

With remote working becoming an indispensable way of life for the majority, employees around the world were forced almost overnight to adapt and cope with the sudden intertwining of their professional and personal lives.

Amid the challenge of striking a new work-life balance, this unprecedented crisis has prompted many to rethink what is truly important in their lives. Coupled with the gradual reopening of economies and a recovering job market underway, more employees are proactively seeking out new opportunities for something that better complements their new lifestyle.

In the United States, a phenomenon termed as “The Great Resignation” has emerged—a record 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, in search of something better as the threat of pandemic-related woes started to subside.

There are indications that this wave of resignations is creeping across countries worldwide. Globally, voluntary attrition started to steadily climb in April 2021 (increasing from 14 percent to 15 percent annual turnover globally) to a high of 17 percent in July 2021, according to a recent report by Workday Peakon Employee Voice.

Underlying this challenge to retain and replace talent is a fundamental issue that organizations today need to address; that is, the critical need to build a resilient, adaptable and engaged workforce with the skills necessary in the changing world of work.

There is a myriad of reasons why employees are considering leaving their jobs today, but most point to the renewed focus on personal goals and development following their pandemic epiphany. It also stems from a growing realization among employees about their own limits of working and meeting the demands in a fast-changing world that they believe requires them to run even faster to keep up with the pace of change.

This in turn sparks the desire to look for companies that truly care and are focused on their employees’ well-being. Clearly, in a post-pandemic world, beyond job satisfaction, having a healthy work-life balance supported by empathetic leaders is highly desirable to employees.

With the rise of an always-on work culture that has had wide-reaching implications on the mental and emotional well-being of employees, how business leaders connect with their employees and cultivate a positive organizational culture will be key in getting them to stay.

Faced with this disconcerting phenomenon, how can organizations attract and retain talent in a fast-evolving world of work? Fortunately, there is a window of opportunity for companies to act now. To turn the tide, it is imperative that leaders really listen to their employees and understand what they want.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the workplace today looks very different than it did two years ago. During this time, companies worldwide have transformed their business operations and adapted in ways previously unimaginable. As we edge tentatively closer to a post-pandemic world, companies need to continue to adapt to meet these changing trends and employee expectations.

Moving forward, organizations need to ensure that they are investing in the right tools, talents, and processes to build a stronger, happier, and more resilient workforce, especially as the war for talent intensifies.

In today’s digital era, technology undeniably plays a key role in helping business leaders understand how employee expectations are changing in real-time, as they strive to enhance the overall employee experience.

Markedly, the use of annual workplace pulse surveys and purely intuition-based actions are no longer sufficient to capture the full realities of today’s workforce. In a fast-paced digital world, having access to real-time data and insights has proven to be a game changer in employee empowerment and engagement. With data analytics, companies can harness the full power of data to uncover deeper, actionable truths, enabling a truly agile and resilient organizational culture.

To that end, a culture strongly rooted in technology will be a fundamental element in the high-metabolic, forward-looking organizations of tomorrow. In other words, digital is no longer an optional strategy to thrive in a fast-evolving business landscape; rather, it is an integral part of managing the post-pandemic workforce, allowing organizations to better empower employees so they can flourish in their roles.