New Technologies Address Evolving Workforce Trends
By Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product & Technology, ADP
Today’s workplace stands changed from that of nearly two years ago. Companies are now navigating hybrid models, evolving compliance considerations, and changing workforce priorities amid labor market shifts. Yet the challenges presented by the global pandemic have, in many ways, accelerated a future of work that was in the making. One common thread we’ve only seen grow stronger is that people power performance. As the needs of the global workforce evolve, technology is evolving in tandem, and the result is transformational.
Leading trends driving the workforce – from data-informed decision making to compliance agility and adaptable technology – have only become more pervasive. Whereas businesses saw a need pre-pandemic to break down silos and create a culture of connectivity, that need only intensified when the workforce became remote and engagement became both more difficult and more critical. Likewise, while businesses may have been prioritizing people analytics to find talent, now they’re leveraging that data to create more personalized and equitable workplaces where everyone can thrive.
The commonalities are an important reminder of the omnipresence of innovation. Innovation grows from data, agility, and a mind for reimagining functionality. Many technologies evolve as circumstances do, offering new features and enhanced capabilities to meet the needs of the moment – and those on the horizon. Many human capital management (HCM) technologies are doing just that, as they leverage timely workforce data to help streamline workflow challenges, engage and support talent, and optimize operations. Through ADP’s vast workforce data, these are the biggest drivers we are seeing behind work’s evolution in 2022:
Employee Visibility Will Be Redefined
The full and swift transition to remote work has permanently shifted perceptions around how and where people work. A study by ADP Research Institute found that, within a year, COVID-19 significantly impacted workers’ locations. In fact, three quarters (75%) of the global workforce made changes or plan to change how or where they live, with that percentage even greater (85%) among Generation Z. Additionally, ADP surveyed small and midsized U.S. employers and found 66 percent have a hybrid work model in place.
Companies now have the technology to reinvent their workplace model, whether it’s a return to the workplace, fully remote, or hybrid. As employers explore flexibility in their workplace models, the next big focus will be around elevating employee visibility. No longer is being visible limited to seeing people working in the physical sense. Employers now must find ways to better understand and engage off-site workers. To build that connection, people data will shed insight into the ebbs and flows of engagement and performance, helping managers pull the right levers to support a high-performing remote or hybrid team.
People & Purpose Will Drive Workplace Culture
This focus on understanding and connecting with employees will transform workplace culture. ADP Research Institute found that U.S. workers who feel they are Strongly Connected to their employer are 75 times more likely to be Fully Engaged than those who do not feel connected. Research has shown time and again how critical engagement is to productivity, performance, and retention. In a tight labor market where talent is reassessing priorities, a people-first mindset will be essential.
To bridge any gaps created from on-site, remote and hybrid models, employers will heighten their focus on inclusion. From tailored benefit offerings to flexible working arrangements and additional people-centered initiatives, employers will need to build a foundation from which all employees can be successful. Visibility will continue to be critical, as employers turn to people analytics to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an indication, ADP data shows more than 50 percent of companies that leveraged ADP DataCloud's DEI analytics capabilities have taken action and realized positive impact on their DEI measures.
Reliable Data & Expertise Will Power Resiliency
Data has served as a true north for companies during times of rapid regulatory change – and its value will only strengthen as the compliance landscape continues to evolve. An ADP survey found nearly 20 percent of U.S. companies with 25 to 99 employees admit they are currently facing challenges with compliance and regulatory issues. As companies navigate the return to the workplace or permanent remote or hybrid models, that need for reliable, real time data will only increase.
Data can help provide the confidence employers need to act, particularly when facing decisions that can impact workers’ health and safety. For example, as employers manage policies related to vaccination tracking and testing, ADP’s Return to Workplace mobile solution has helped employers gauge employee sentiment; ask employees for their availability; and provide vaccine status surveys, weekly COVID testing surveys, health attestation and contact tracing capabilities. Since the tool’s launch, workers have completed more than three million health status surveys. Turning to timely data can give employers the insight they need to act, assess, and adjust course as circumstances change.
Greater Innovation Will Accelerate Growth
The circumstances of the pandemic forced many businesses to reimagine their operating models, uncovering efficiencies and opportunities in the process. Accelerated digitalization has helped businesses expand their capabilities by eliminating task work and refocusing efforts on strategic growth initiatives. Self-service tools, such as mobile access to pay and benefits, have helped remove administrative tasks from HR practitioners’ plates, helping them refocus on supporting employees. In fact, according to ADP data, monthly users of the ADP Mobile Solutions app increased over 25 percent from last year, as workers leveraged self-service tools. These technologies have benefited employees in tandem, empowering them with greater flexibility and control in their employee experience.
This evolution is also leading to a surge in skills-based hiring. ADP Research Institute's "People at Work: A Global Workforce View" study found more than one-in-four workers (28%) report having taken on a new role or changing role due to pandemic labor market shifts. The number increases to 36% for Generation Z workers. Those employees who may have re-tooled during the pandemic are continuing to prioritize their skills and pursue opportunities that cater to their unique strengths. To accelerate performance, employers will need to foster those individual strengths and provide employees with tailored opportunities for growth. When recruiting new talent, employers will likewise need to focus on skills. Helpful technologies like machine learning can identify workers with the right skills in unique places, such as former applicants who previously applied for other roles.
The Path Forward is Not Linear
Recent events have only proven that the future is unpredictable. But through the unpredictability, people continue to power the world of work. As the workforce emerges from the past two years with shifted priorities and expectations, leaning into data to better understand their needs will help employers navigate forward with confidence. Such insight will point the way forward, even if the path may not always be straight.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.