A new poll from West Monroe also reports that 66% plan to track employee vaccinations, but have no idea how to do it.
Hiring, hybrid, gender, reopenings and requirements were the focus of the fourth iteration of West Monroe’s quarterly survey of 150 C-suite executives from companies with revenues of $250 million, conducted March 22-25. The good news for job seekers–and those looking to transition–is 60% expect to hire more staff for Q2. Meanwhile, 33% see little to no change, and only 7% expect to lay off staff.
COVID-19 continues to play a critical role in the potential return to the office, because even though 32% of respondents have no idea how they’ll execute it, 66% plan to track employees’ vaccinations. Thirty-four percent said they’re not tracking which employees have been vaccinated and have no plans to do so; 14% said they’ll wait for a “more specific contract tracing or re-entry tech or system.
SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)
The biggest challenges respondents see are building and keeping a company culture, managing employee expectations prior to making a final decision and deciding when to start phasing into the model of hybrid work.
Priorities are employee wants and needs, customer/client wants and needs and leadership’s wants and needs.
They’re also not entirely prepared (only 19% are) to fully implement hybrid work models, but just less than half (48%) assure they’ll do so by summer. One-in-five said implementation of hybrid models are already in the works.
Yet employees are impatient: 68% of C-suite respondents said the top request they’re getting from their employees right now is more clarity and “certainty on timing” regarding what will happen when the pandemic ends.
A quarter of the execs said they’ll use the employee vaccine percentage to determine when the offices will reopen and return to on-site work.
Protocols may be distracting C-suite execs from reckoning with the nearly 3 million who left the enterprise in 2020 due to COVID-19: 23% said they’re not taking action at their organization on the pandemic-caused exodus of women from the workforce. Yet, 64% said they’ll provide more flexible work arrangements, 25% will adjust hiring practices, 23% said they’ll form employee resource groups and 17% said they’ll increase their childcare benefits.
Meanwhile, employees have their own demands, with 73% of respondents saying employees are requesting permanent WFH/remote arrangements and 49% are asking for additional equipment for the home office, 21% said they want compensation adjustments, promotion and bonuses.
They are likely to be heard, as nearly three-in-four execs said they are dealing with permanent remote work requests.
When asked about the most important metric in the return to the office, 26% said it was their employees willingness to return to on-site, 25% base it on the vaccination percentages among staff and 17% said they want to wait until social distancing requirements are lifted.
Employee productivity and retention are viewed by 28% as the biggest threat to the company, while another 28% cited government-imposed lockdowns. Eleven percent said that potential tax increases and the very general, yet unexplained 11% “other” are big threats.
Customer experience has unquestionably changed in the time of the coronavirus and the C-suite execs said their response has included, (in order):
Retaining and attracting the right talent while managing employee performance are the top talent challenges respondents said. For new hires, 41% said there will be no changes in the types of employees they are hiring, 36% will hire more full remote workers, 16% will hire more independent contractors, 12% will hire more part-time workers, 12% will hire more staff augmentation firms than usual and 3% said they’ll hire more overseas workers.