May 26, 2021
Building Healthy Workplaces
by RJ Frasca
Emerging HR technologies can attract and retain motivated talent, bolster culture, decrease spending and improve business operations.
One of the most important business lessons we’re learning throughout this pandemic is that nearly every job carries risk. Medical workers and first responders put their lives on the line. Essential workers report to duty even with high infection rates. Even corporate employees working from home endure increased mental and emotional stress. The result of this tenuous working environment is millions of employees ready to jump ship, and employers at risk of disrupting operational flow, revenue and employee retention.
Remote employees are said to be working three more hours per day and increasing productivity levels. This is happening in addition to other home life responsibilities they are managing. Some employees are experiencing burnout and depression but trying to stick it out, while others are seeking to jump ship. A recent survey shows 52% of employees plan to job hunt this year, up from 35% in 2020. Other Management reveals 46% of employees now feel less connected to their current employer, and 42% say company culture has dwindled during the pandemic.
Ensuring employee safety, which in turn mitigates corporate risk, is quickly becoming a priority for businesses if they want to thrive throughout this turnover tsunami. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation reported in 2015 that the average cost of influenza for businesses averaged $87 billion annually. Now add a potentially annual seasonal outbreak of COVID-19 to that number, and you are looking at a very real, very large and very expensive problem.
However, much of what we’re learning about pandemic risk mitigation can be applied indefinitely to ensure healthier, more cost-effective operations, and better overall employee experience and retention. Considering that 50% of respondents to the 2020 HR Sentiment Survey by Future Workplace ranked employee experience as their top initiative, this shows a direct link between emerging workplace technologies, the employee experience, and operational success. If organizations can better shape the employee experience by capitalizing on emerging tech, they will create a pipeline to attract and retain motivated talent, bolster culture, decrease budgetary spending and improve business operations.
Here are some of the workplace technologies that can help organizations reduce risk during the turnover tsunami:
1. Safety Solutions: Investing in an end-to-end health and safety solution that accounts for virus protection now and provides tools to keep employees safe in the future demonstrates the value your organization places on employee wellness. It’s a way to rebuild connections with existing employees, retain your corporate culture and recruit new talent.
2. Pre-Employment Screenings: Hiring and onboarding quickly and safely during a turnover tsunami is critical to an organization’s success. Partnering with an internationally accredited screening firm ensures new hires are vetted completely before joining the staff. A screening firm will run checks on criminal records and social media use and verify references and credentials. Many businesses are adding COVID-19 testing to their pre-employment screening packages to help reduce health risks.
See also: 3 Silver Linings From COVID-19
3. Drug Testing: Studies show substance abuse increases dramatically during a national crisis and remains elevated for months afterward. Since the pandemic began, more employers have started using oral fluid (saliva) drug testing. These tests are accurate and easy to use and can be taken from the comfort of an employees’ own home while under constant supervision. Oral fluid drug testing can be collected virtually, using remote video observation, ensuring the validity and integrity of the sample and protecting the safety of the donor and collector from any COVID-19 exposure.
4. Learning Management Systems: Part of a successful employee experience is providing opportunities for growth. An internal learning academy, like one you could build out with an LMS, meets employees where they are. Classes can address employee needs like wellness, upskilling and remote team management. The result is a strong workforce and a subtle way to rebuild your culture.
5. Artificial Intelligence: AI is imperative in your recruiting process as it facilitates work and transforms behaviors using real data. Screening capabilities allow you to customize questions to attract the right talent. Automated tools can aggregate and score applicants. Chatbots can schedule interviews, answer questions and even deliver videos.
Employees and job hunters alike are expecting and searching for employers who work to protect their workforce and improve workflow. Technologies to improve the employee experience and protect new hires are more than just incentives to boost confidence and safety. They help organizations position themselves to attract skilled talent and futureproof operational excellence.