The pandemic-era phenomenon known as the Great Resignation shows no signs of slowing with senior executives – including those in Singapore – planning to leave their organisations in the next two years, according to a new report released by KellyOCG, the outsourcing and consulting business of Kelly.
The 2022 KellyOCG Global Workforce Report – Re:work uncovers the disconnect between evolving employee expectations and the support firms provide. It also spotlights the actions an elite group of companies, the Vanguards, are taking to attract and retain the talent they need to grow their business.
The report, a follow-up to the 2021 report, Next-level Agility: The Four Dynamics of a Resilient Workforce, identifies the greatest talent challenges and risks facing organisations as they emerge from the pandemic. It also explores how companies are transforming across four critical dynamics of success: workforce agility; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); employee experience; and adoption of tools and technologies.
“Our research signals there is significant talent demand for a life-work shift. Even senior leaders are experiencing it and acknowledge that employers could be doing more,” said Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG. “A shift in workplace culture is needed and organisations must evolve to remain competitive, profitable, and attractive to top talent. Organisations that aren’t taking action across the four dynamics will continue to see employees at all levels walk out the door.”
“The survey among Asia’s senior leaders track fairly similar findings across the globe, but it especially needs to up its game when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, besides supporting Mental Health policies for staff,” said Peter Hamilton, vice president & managing director, APAC, KellyOCG.
Key findings include:
- Many senior executives are dissatisfied in their role and lack confidence in their employer. In Singapore, 81% of the 67 senior managers surveyed in the report say they are looking to move in two years. One gripe they have is work-life balance, with only 28% indicating they have good work-life balance, against 40% globally, and 49% in Asia. These findings indicate that the full force of the Great Resignation has yet to be felt – and this widespread “boss loss” will have significant implications for companies and the global economy.
- Leaders believe that hybrid working has positively impacted the working culture. In Singapore, 69% of firms believe that hybrid working (i.e. a blend of remote and in-office working) has improved the experience of most of the employees within their organisations, with more than two-thirds saying their firms are redefining their culture to fit a hybrid working world. About 58% of them are also regularly benchmarking their compensation and benefits package against firms that are competing for similar skills-sets or roles as their organisations.
- Hiring contingent talent is one of the biggest talent barriers firms face today. In Singapore, a quarter of senior management of companies here plan to increase their use of contingent or freelance talent by at least 25% in the next five years. However, only 33% of the companies have developed a clear and articulated strategy for its use of contingent talent, and even fewer, 19%, use data analytics to predict future talent, as opposed to 28% of global respondents.
- Singapore firms, like their global counterparts in general, are not going far enough or fast enough to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion and support employees’ mental health. About 54% of respondents say that their DEI strategies only pay lip service to supporting talent from underrepresented groups, and do not provide any helpful support in practice. Only 18% confirm that they have a clear route to report discrimination at work, against the global rate of 25% and Asian rate of 27%. However, the silver lining for Singapore is that 52% of respondents say that companies no longer require a college or university degree for entry or mid-level roles – meaning that academic qualifications are no longer a barrier to getting a foot in the door. Singapore’s senior management also cite the need for programmes to remove barriers that prevent underrepresented talent from accessing rewarding work – with only 19% reporting that they had such programmes in place – compared to 24% globally and 27% in the region.
- Singapore’s mental health policies at the workplace could be better improved. Even though 21% report an increase in employee absences due to poor mental health, 76% do not have a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to disclose mental health challenges as a reason for taking time off. Just under half, or 40%, do offer adequate resources to help employees take care of their mental health (such as access to counselling services, mental health first aiders, and education sessions to increase awareness of common mental health issues). However, only 28% noted that if their organisation was graded on how effectively it supports employees with mental health challenges, it would receive a high (positive) grade.
- Firms are lagging when it comes to adopting the right tools and technologies required to develop their workforce. Just under half (43%) of Singapore respondents have implemented data analytics tools that enable them to capture trends around employee retention and productivity – yet 75% of firms who have adopted such technologies say they have been positively received by employees. And only 40% report implementation of knowledge-sharing tools that foster stronger collaboration among hybrid, remote, and in-office employees.
The Re:work report provides a blueprint for firms interested in following the lead of the “Vanguards” – a group of thriving organisations that report an increase in employee wellbeing, productivity, and revenue growth in the last year. In Singapore, 12% of the companies surveyed are Vanguards. The Vanguards represent 15% of global survey respondents, and they share four key dynamics driving their approach to culture, technology, and talent experience and management.
- Vanguards are strengthening workforce agility. These leading organisations are 15% more likely to use contingent talent to improve workforce agility (41% vs. 26%), suggesting a link between the use of contingent talent and higher employee productivity and wellbeing.
- Vanguards are reinventing the employee experience. Senior executives at Vanguard organisations are 24% more likely to say they have a good work-life balance, and 23% more likely to say they are happy in their current role. They also say that their organisation is more respectful of employees as whole person and is reinventing work in partnership with them. Vanguards are also implementing strategies to assess employee sentiment and engagement and report C-suite accountability for improving the employee experience (57% vs. 29%).
- Vanguards are taking concrete action on DEI. Senior leaders at these firms are more likely to engage with workers across the organisation around DEI (82% vs. 60%) and are more likely to implement innovative initiatives to improve their DEI performance – but there is much more progress to be made to create an inclusive workplace environment.
- Vanguards are adopting the right tools and technologies to empower today’s workforce. They are implementing knowledge-sharing tools that enable collaboration among in-office, hybrid, and remote workers (46% vs. 34%) and utilise platforms that allow a clear view of the mix of permanent and contingent talent across their business (42% vs. 32%).
When these four dynamics are embraced together, businesses across industries can better attract, retain, and motivate talent to meet their business goals, the Re:work report finds. Independent experts cited throughout the report provide further insights and testimonials on how their organisations are navigating the life-work shift.
Read the full report and additional insights here.