Could internal relationship management be the key to vocational equilibrium? There’s more instability in the workplace than ever before. And the past year was a good example: the rise of new COVID variants, an escalating war for talent, quit rates at an all-time high, and the highest inflation rate in decades.
This instability will only increase in the future. Hybrid work will create unequal workloads based on where, when, and how many different employees are working. Many employees will feel the effects of inflation on their annual compensation, and their purchasing power will be reduced. These elements of instability will be layered on top of long-term trends in the workplace such as the continued emphasis on DE&I, and escalating political disruption and uncertainty.
Here are three underlying forces that will shape workplace instability over the coming year, and require companies to pay more attention to internal relationship management:
The rise of remote and decentralized workforces
The sweeping transition from centralized offices to remote work hardly seemed likely when technology companies first started to experiment with the concept of working from home. But now the remote working trend is growing exponentially; 16% of companies globally are fully-remote, and 62% of workers aged 22 to 65 work remotely at least some of the time, according to a study by Owl Labs.
Upwork cites statistics that indicate 73% of all teams will include remote employees by 2028. In May 2021, a Mercer study found that 70% of companies said they were planning to adopt the hybrid model. And many companies have already made the switch, including prominent brands such as Adobe, Salesforce, Spotify, and Twitter. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index (published in March 2021) found that 66% of employers around the world are redesigning their workplaces to accommodate hybrid work arrangements.
This rapid transition to hybrid or fully remote work has come with rising concern about the challenges it may present. We know that internal connectedness is critical to an organization’s success, and many organizations want to understand how their employees are adapting to this shift. Companies are questioning: How has the transition to remote work impacted the connectedness and collaboration amongst and between teams? Are some teams better able to adapt to a remote environment than others?
The Great Resignation
With flexibility around how, where, and when people work becoming a requirement, not a differentiator, employees now expect flexibility within their job as much as they expect a flexible retirement plan. Employers that don’t offer flexibility will see increased turnover as employees move to roles that offer workplace satisfaction that is in alignment with their desires.
Employees that work hybrid or remotely also have fewer friends at work and thus weaker social and emotional connections with their coworkers. These weaker connections make it easier for employees to quit their job by reducing the social pressure and sense of community or belonging that can encourage employees to stay longer.
The “Great Resignation” as it has become known, consists of a mass reshuffle in the global workforce over the past year. The US Department of Labor & Statistics reported that 4.5 million workers left their jobs in November 2021 alone. This mass reshuffle of employees has led companies to turn to internal relationship management in order to better identify and avoid employee turnover in the first place, and to mitigate the risk associated with turnover when it does occur.
DEI and employee wellbeing
The urgency with which companies are addressing workplace inequities is on the rise and has become one of the chief priorities for HR executives going forward. Companies are starting to put DEI policies and practices in place that drive impact. For example, NASDAQ now requires companies to have at least two diverse board members or to explain the company’s reasons for not meeting this diversity objective.
Internal relationship management data could be used to inform these programs by identifying employees who are distancing themselves or at risk of being overworked, or to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace by objectively promoting employees based on interconnectedness.
With the rise of remote work, the great resignation, and the increasing focus on DEI & wellbeing, a business’s ability to keep a pulse on the depth and breadth of workplace collaboration has become increasingly important. Fortunately, the shift to remote has resulted in the bulk of internal communication moving to online channels. As employees communicate through email and conduct virtual meetings, each of these digital interactions leave a trail of “digital exhaust” that can be captured and analyzed.
This results in the ability to develop an objective understanding of the depth and breadth of a company’s internal connectedness. This represents a completely new dataset and capability for organizations to take a data driven approach to improving the collaboration and connectivity of their workforce. This new capability is revealing game-changing insights, from the level of cross-practice collaboration and the cohesion of teams, to the wellbeing and inclusion of employees with the organization.
Internal relationship management is more important, and more possible than ever before and Introhive is a big believer in this innovative practice and the impact it can have on your organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Book a demo with a relationship management expert to learn more about how Introhive’s Customer Intelligence platform can help you make the most of your important relationships.