workplace technology

(Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)

Workplace technology can propel employee mental health and resilience

Workplace technology is becoming increasingly important for organizations hoping to keep their employees happy with their work. Ever since the pandemic in 2020, organizations have had to have their employees experience new norms of working.

From remote work to hybrid work, the complexities caused by the pandemic seem likely to be dragged into 2022. For most organizations, having their employees work fully in the office may now seem disruptive as new variants from the pandemic can lead to lockdowns again. At the same time, having employees work entirely remotely at home is also causing issues, especially in the mental health of employees and confidence in employers.

According to reach by EngageRocket, there is a 17% decline in employees who are confident in their organization’s future between 2020 and 2021. Burnout also increased by 9% in 2021. This is why workplace technology such as collaboration and mental health tools are becoming increasingly adopted by organizations.

For Sonali Sharma, VP of People Science at EngageRocket, managers need to be empowered, enabled, and equipped with tools to help nurture teams at the ground level to support the relational needs of evolving organizations. She believes that HR can no longer do everything in a world that is hyperlocal and deeply diverse.

The HR 2022 Outlook report highlighted seven key trends that will affect business operations and employee experience in 2022. Highlights from the report include:

  • ‘New work’ will manifest in new and unexpected ways – Employees are already showing that purpose, fulfillment, and their wellbeing in their career are becoming more important. However, most organizations are yet to fully acknowledge and appreciate this approach.
  • The talent war is quickly becoming a zero-sum game – It’s no longer about loyalty to a company as employees will look to companies that give them better opportunities. Failure to invest in talents may only see employees moving to other companies.
  • Employee mental health and resilience will propel growth – Workplace technology in mental health and resilience will no longer be buzzwords only. Companies will be forced to invest real money in uplifting employee wellbeing and ensuring that they stay resilient and confident in the face of new challenges and opportunities. This is an especially important area of concern for HR as resilience is the no.1 predictor of an employee’s intent to stay but has seen the most drastic decline between 2020 and 2021.
  • HR will become decentralized, spurring new management skills – Companies have already been using ERPs and now will look to engage more technologies that can improve their HR. This includes the last-mile connectivity with every employee via the managers. This can apply to different elements of the HR function – from strategy and policy-making to events and engagement.
  • Diversity & Inclusion will be a major competitive differentiator – A trending topic even before the pandemic, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in leadership were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than their bottom-quartile counterparts. Unfortunately, many organizations are yet to fully invest in diversity & inclusion (D&I) as a key cultural as well as operational tenet.
  • People analytics will fuel buy-in for HR policies and change – Analytics, virtual working technology, and upgraded learning platforms are among the top priorities for HR. However, HR’s confidence in its ability to use data and analytics has actually declined by 3% since 2019.
  • New productivity KPIs will be needed to assess employee performance – In 2022, HR and business leaders need to consider productivity measures better suited to New Work and remote/hybrid working. Collaboration, communication, positive work-life behavior, and coaching mindset might be better indicators of performance.

 As such, with organizations also looking to increase their use of technology for boosting productivity such as automation tools and AI, they need to also consider the impact such a move can have on their current workforce. Technology can be both an enabler and a disabler in the workforce if not implemented properly.

For HR, their challenge would be how they can use technology best to keep both employees and employers satisfied. The use of proper workplace technology may just help solve this in the long run.