COVID-19 has transformed the relationship between employers and employees. Today’s new employment deal centers on positively impacting employees’ lives while improving talent outcomes for employers. Organizations are providing employees more flexibility than ever before, creating a shared purpose and building deeper connections with employees.
“The employers that get this right will have a more engaged workforce, greater employee retention and better ability to attract top talent,” said Brian Kropp, Distinguished VP,. Research, Gartner, at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, taking place virtually in the Americas and EMEA.
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3 key elements of the new employment deal
HR leaders at progressive organizations are evolving their employment deals in three ways that improve employee engagement yet encourage productivity.
No. 1: Driving performance via flexibility
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, nearly every employer shut down their workplace, and employees began working remotely full time. Some employees are now back in the office, but many continue to work remotely. Progressive organizations have embraced radical flexibility, giving employees control over where, when, and how much they work in this hybrid model.
“ Where employees have some choice over where, when and how much they work, 55% are high performers”
The Gartner 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey reveals that at typical organizations where employees work a standard schedule of 40 hours per week in the office, 36% of employees are high performers. When organizations shift from this environment to one of radical flexibility where employees have some choice over where, when and how much they work, 55% of employees are high performers.
No. 2: Creating a shared sense of purpose
Organizations must go beyond corporate messages to real behaviors, and leaders must actively get involved with the societal and cultural debates of the day. A 2018 Gartner survey found that three-quarters of employees expect their employer to take a stance on current societal or cultural issues, even if those issues have nothing to do with their employer. Those demands have only become more urgent during recent protests demanding social equity and justice.
“ The number of highly engaged employees increases to 60% when the organization acts on the social issues of today”
CEOs commonly get involved in current societal or cultural events by issuing a corporate statement, believing that by making a statement they will meet employees’ desires for the organization to get involved. However, Gartner research found that only issuing a corporate statement degrades employee engagement versus the status quo of doing nothing at all. When organizations put actions behind their words — by reallocating resources, changing suppliers, giving employees time off to volunteer, etc. — the number of highly engaged employees increases significantly.
The Gartner 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey found that while 40% of respondents are considered highly engaged employees, this number increases to 60% when the organization acts on the social issues of today.