Employees’ Needs Are Changing: What Does That Mean For HR

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Amid all of the uncertainty of the last year-and-a-half, the only thing that has remained constant is change. The pandemic has continued to evolve and, with it, has brought new challenges, new innovations and new ways of looking at the world around us. In keeping with that shift, the world of business has also seen a major transformation in what employees expect from their employers—on a number of fronts.

Remote work is a new necessity

Before COVID-19, only about 7% of Americans enjoyed the ability to work from home, according to the Pew Research Center. At that time, a remote option was considered a perk, one that HR leaders could tout as a unique innovation to attract top talent. Once the crisis hit, however, up to three-quarters of the national workforce switched to remote settings—which have persisted for many and are expected to permanently reshape how we work. In fact, according to a recent Upwork study, more than 36 million Americans are predicted to work remotely by 2025, a full 87% increase from before the pandemic.

Working from home is no longer considered a luxury but rather a necessity for many. Until the pandemic is truly in the rearview mirror, many employees aren’t comfortable with working in in-person settings, especially those who may be or live with those who are high-risk. Meanwhile, as COVID continues, working parents may be juggling the hybrid school schedules of their kids or childcare in the event they’re home for COVID quarantines. And, as employees have been able to spend more time balancing work and life in the last year, the value of such an approach has become integral to what many are looking for in an employer—meaning organizations are realizing they have to offer flexible options for the long-term if they want to stay competitive.

Managing modern realities

With all of that change comes new expectations for HR.

While remote work has largely been met with support by both employees and employers, there are new considerations HR has to navigate. Without an in-person setting, HR leaders are newly tasked with building culture and connections across geographic barriers. This means more frequent check-ins with leaders and managers to gauge where potential pain points are, as well as more strategic approaches to boosting employee engagement.

Support is also needed in the area of mental health. The recent Mental Health Index from Total Brain found that the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder among employees is up 83% compared to pre-pandemic levels, while employers are also managing record rates of anxiety, depression and burnout. And as we increasingly find ourselves in a candidates’ market, applicants and employees are more intentional about looking for employers that are willing to offer the level of support they’re looking for.

Working with a partner like Integrity Staffing Solutions, you can find and retain top talent all while remaining confident that, with the benefits and resources provided to associates by Integrity, their needs are being met in a way that will allow them to help your company reach its goals all while striving to meet their own potential.

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