The pandemic caused numerous disruptions to businesses. Perhaps the most long-lasting is the change in how workers think about their jobs and their employers. These shifts may have seemed subtle or temporary at first, but it’s becoming clearer each week that they are fundamental adjustments in behaviours, priorities and expectations that businesses will be grappling with and adapting to long after the disruption of COVID-19 has abated.
Work-life balance is a higher priority for a far greater number of people today than pre-pandemic, for instance. We see this from the high number of requests for hybrid working that have continued even after lockdowns have ended and offices reopened. Workers are also more closely scrutinizing their employers’ ethical and sustainability programs, and are showing reduced patience if they believe these efforts to be superficial.
In today’s candidate-driven employment market, the end result is that workers are now more willing to walk away from companies that won’t support hybrid working and ESG goals, knowing that similar positions now exist in companies that do. This can be devastating to organizations that have invested heavily in employees through career development, dedicated support teams and bespoke technology.
But with each new challenge to managing a global workforce, there are also opportunities for the next generation of technology to help your organization to meet them.
Here we discuss three key areas in which worker expectations are changing – and how technology can play a role in helping your business to manage them and create a productive workforce in the coming year, and beyond.
Employee Health & Wellness – GET HUMAN
Health and wellbeing have become more critical than ever to maintaining a productive workforce. We saw during the pandemic how working from home can have negative physical and mental health consequences brought on by lack of exercise, isolation and stress for families with young children.
Going forward, improving worker wellbeing from a global mobility team’s point of view is likely to involve consolidating continuous communication and an uplift in the ‘human’ side of workforce management.
Technology can help here through providing better employee engagement apps and collaboration tools that connect workers. Dedicated global mobility solutions also reduce time spent on low value activities, giving teams more time to focus on human interaction to make sure workers are content with their working conditions – whether in the office, at home or hybrid.
AI and machine learning can build on this, helping teams gain more insights from employee data and to further automate assignment management processes so that a culture of continuous improvement is established and sustained.
Mobile Workforce & Operations – CLARITY AS STANDARD
Workers now require flexibility in their working schedules and locations. Global mobility teams need to be ready to adapt employee mobility policies to accommodate more working from home, as well as hybrid setups and flexible hours.
GM teams also have an increased duty of care towards their workers, with businesses becoming more accountable for some travel risks.
Collaboration and socialization tools are stepping up here to become more common features of working life. They’re changing ways of working, not just for individual employees, but also for mobility teams and for interactions with external providers.
Sustainability – THINK 'GREEN'
Technology, cost, climate change and COVID-19 are all prompting businesses to question the amount of travel they require of workers. And most are acutely aware that they must pursue a credible ESG agenda to attract and retain the talent they need to fulfil their own strategic objectives and future challenges.
There are many initiatives global mobility teams can adopt to support sustainability, from using digital tools that eliminate paper use, to reconsidering travel by monitoring and visualising your assignees’ and organization’s carbon footprint.
Technology also now enables companies to manage and monitor their suppliers and vendors with KPIs that actively promote ESG goals. This is a trend that will be standard practice before too long.
Plan for the future now
Have you noticed these shifts in your workforce? These are the most common ones, but whatever changes you’re seeing in your workforce, take time now to plan resources and budget for continuous improvement in 2022.
This can include analysing existing tools, identifying gaps and opportunities, creating a roadmap and building a business case to upgrade, or acquire, the technology you need to support your employees. A connected mobility platform with a robust ecosystem is an essential part of your business’s response to the new forces and demands that characterize the world of work today.