Organisations today risk losing their most talented employees as they face a potential employee exodus, dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’. The reality of the post-Covid world could still mean bare and empty offices if business leaders don’t let go of pre-Covid mindsets. How can MPS providers help their customers get ahead of the talent drain with technology to drive better employee experience, engagement and productivity across the hybrid work environment?
The power shift from employer to employee
Pandemic burnout is spurring the ‘Great Resignation’ as employees re-evaluate their working lives and seek jobs that offer greater flexibility, better work/life balance and where they feel more valued. According to a recent Microsoft study, 41% of the global workforce plan to leave their existing jobs this year, rising to 54% amongst Gen Z (aged 18 to 25) employees. Many businesses have been operating in crisis mode over the past 18 months. In many cases this has led to an employer/employee disconnect as employees became dissatisfied with how they were treated over the course of the pandemic. As organisations look to emerge stronger from the pandemic, they need to get ahead of the potential talent exodus and rethink how their employees work and collaborate. The cost of losing an employee includes loss in productivity, engagement and knowledge, not to mention the cost of hiring and onboarding new employees. Retaining current employees and attracting new talent means not only supporting a hybrid workforce but also recognising and responding to the broader shift to a stronger employee voice articulating how they want to work. The power has firmly shifted from the employer to the employee.
What is the Great Resignation?
Organisational psychologist and May Business School professor Anthony Klotz coined the term ‘the Great Resignation’, predicting that the experience of the pandemic would prompt a wave of resignations as employees re-assess their lives and relationship with work. In July 2021 almost 4 million Americans resigned from their jobs, the second-highest number on record after April according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the UK, 4.7% of workers have resigned, numbers that are at a five year high. As businesses switched to remote working, many formerly office-based workers realised the benefits of greater flexibility, whether through eliminating the time and cost of the daily commute, or the improved efficiency of virtual meetings and digital collaboration tools. At the same time, the human impacts of the pandemic – loss, anxiety and uncertainty – caused people to question their work-life balance and consider where their priorities and loyalties lay. Now, as constraints around the pandemic are gradually removed in some regions, businesses that attempt to dictate restrictive return to the office terms are seeing workers vote with their feet and switch to employers offering supportive flexible working contracts whose policies and values align more closely with their own priorities for work-life balance. Meanwhile, others are choosing to become self-employed to gain full control over their working conditions.
How technology can support the empowered workforce
So how can MPS providers support organisations navigate this shift and drive improved employee experience and engagement? As employees increasingly demand autonomy and choice over their working environment, organisations must create the ultimate hybrid workplace; an environment that offers the flexibility and support – both technologically and culturally – that will attract the talent they need. A contingent part of that is creating a seamless and secure hybrid infrastructure that delivers the flexibility and collaboration the workforce demands. To help organisations support changing workforce expectations, and mitigate the data loss risks of departing employees, MPS providers can provide support in several ways:
- Manage and secure home printing: Incorporate home printing within flexible cloud-based MPS contracts to help organisations get better visibility of printing across both home and printing environments. HP Flexworker is an example here along with its recently launched HP Work from Home service which includes PC and print hardware delivered to the home or office, automated supplies replenishment and proactive insights for remote monitoring. Another example is the Xerox Workplace Cloud Home Worker Print Tracker which provides central tracking for documents printed from a company PC in any location to any printer, whether it is company supplied or personally owned.
- Mitigate risks around employee-related data loss. In Quocirca’s Print Security Study, 64% indicated a data loss related to unsecure printing, with only 21% confident in their print security measures. With insider threats often the main cause of many data breaches, the increased rate of resignations combined with increased remote working raises the risk of data loss and IP theft. This heightens the need for broader security measures that conform to zero trust principles – a clear opportunity for MPS providers to help organisations mitigate risk around document security across both home and office devices.
- Drive workplace productivity through collaboration solutions: Workplace solutions that integrate paper and digital workflows are critical to ensuring that office workers and remote workers can collaborate effectively and seamlessly. One example is Xerox Workflow Central, a cloud-based platform that provides access to document workflow automation tools, accessible from home and office MFPs, smartphones or laptops.
- Offer solutions to build trust in a safe return to the office. Some employees will now have higher expectations of returning to a safe and healthy office environment. With smart building technology adoption on the rise, discussed in Quocirca’s Smart Building and IoT Trends 2021, MPS providers should consider adjacent offerings in this space. This includes IoT technology such as occupancy sensors, smart heating, HVAC and air quality sensors. Supporting office redesign strategies is another opportunity. For instance, Ricoh Spaces offers the management of flexible shared workspaces, with solutions such as digital signage, visitor management and desk and meeting room management.
- Help organisations create a sustainable workplace. Employees are increasingly looking for companies that align with their values, particularly around sustainability. Consequently, businesses are conscious that the new working environment they create must be consistent with their ambitions for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. MPS providers can offer guidance and support through environmental assessment services and solutions that minimise resource consumption and waste. Xerox, for instance, offers sustainability analytics that identify resource usage as well as reporting resources that have been saved through the use of print policies – for example to lower paper usage.
- Harness the power of analytics. MPS providers can leverage analytics capabilities to discover opportunities for workflow automation. For instance, workplace analytics can help organisations understand change in collaboration patterns, but also gain insight into employee productivity. Through better understanding of work activity and patterns, organisations can nurture employee well-being, potentially reduce employee burnout, and improve employee engagement.
Ultimately the Great Resignation is an opportunity for organisations to embrace an effective hybrid work environment that retains and attracts talent to the workforce. Building the right technology infrastructure to support hybrid working is vital. While MPS providers can add value by enhancing existing propositions tied to printing, there are also opportunities to diversify beyond traditional office technology with products and services that improve the digital employee experience and drive better workplace productivity.
For more information about Quocirca visit www.quocirca.com
Quocirca’s “In the Spotlight” podcast discusses the opportunities around print and digital convergence in the new hybrid working era. Watch at https://www.youtube.com/quocirca