In the current highly volatile and uncertain environment, every business is facing an increasing number of organisational shifts. These shifts can transform businesses – sometimes at a rapid pace.

According to McKinsey’s recent research, The State of Organisations 2023 (authored by Dr. Patrick Guggenberger, Dana Maor, Michael Park and Dr. Patrick Simon) there are ten critical shifts that are impacting businesses with implications for structures, processes, and many revolving around people talent leadership and the workplace.

At ENGAGE, we believe that using evidence-led approaches in HR is the only feasible way to stay on top of these issues, especially given the pace at which they’re changing.

Here we share our advice on the three shifts we are seeing challenging our clients most commonly:

  1.       The new balance of in-person and remote work

Many organisations are trying to balance the expectations of employees (who want to keep hybrid and remote models of working, along with the benefits to work-life balance) and the concerns of business leaders (who are uneasy about productivity, workplace connection, collaboration, and the development of younger employees and new hires).

The only way to understand what an optimal balance looks like is by using data-driven insights. This helps organisations understand working patterns for specific employee segments more deeply.

Regularly listening to employee feedback will be critical to having the right data and insights to make smarter decisions – helping you get the right balance of in-person and remote work for both employers and employees.

This is something we implemented for one of our clients in the insurance industry. After working collaboratively with leaders, we established regular fortnightly pulses to assess how hybrid working is benefitting their people. The data collected is used as a continuous learning loop to keep improving the balance between in-person and remote work.

  1.       The new rules of attraction, retention and attrition

Lots of employees say they have high levels of intent to quit their organisations. However, many private clients are reporting that actual attrition rates don’t match those reported intentions to quit. And it’s also worth noting that attrition rates are varying widely by industries and sectors, as well as by age group and other employee demographics.

Combining soft (opinion-based/experiential) data and hard data (such as actual attrition rates and performance data) will be critical for organisations to optimise the attraction and retention of top talent. And a fintech market leader asked ENGAGE to help with just that.

We brought together data on the employee experience and intent to stay from their regular engagements surveys, and combined this with hard attrition data. We were then able to identify critical patterns on the reasons why they were losing top talent, which roles employees were quitting, and the factors that would help boost retention.

  1.       Leadership that is self-aware and inspiring

Expectations of leaders have changed. Employees are looking for engaged, passionate and inspiring leaders, but still want them to demonstrate vision and strategic acumen, as well as the ability to drive growth to provide a secure future.

In current times, nearly all organisations are struggling to find that balance in their leaders. But data-driven leadership insights can help, as they provide objectivity about leadership strengths and development areas.

We’re currently using this approach with one of our media clients, who has asked us to assess how well its senior leadership team is doing in applying its new ‘guiding principles’. A combination of psychometric, 360 leadership and interview data is helping the leadership team focus on both their strengths and improvement areas, as well as their ability to engage employees.

It’s all about the numbers…

Evidence-based HR is going to be critical to ensuring organisations can respond effectively to these transformational shifts. 

While smart data can provide smart insights, and these smart insights can lead to smarter decisions around your people, there needs to be more purpose.

If evidence-based HR is going to work, it has to be intentional. 

You’ll need to identify the questions you are trying to answer, plan the types of data required, and apply the best analytical tools. Only then can you begin to find the right resolution.

If you’d like some help with this, get in touch with the ENGAGE team.