The Great Resignation and tech industry layoffs have shaken up the world of work, leaving businesses scrambling to adapt. To stay competitive in this rapidly changing landscape, employers must embrace new-age talent strategies that leverage technologies like automation. But it's not just about bringing in new hires—investing in current employees through training programmes and flexible work arrangements (and maybe even a pay bump) is key to retaining top talent, said Brigette McInnis-Day, in an exclusive interview with us.
Brigette McInnis-Day is an HR professional with over 20 years of experience under her belt. Currently the Chief People Officer at UiPath, Brigette has also served as the leader of Google Cloud's HR department and the Chief Operating Officer of SAP SuccessFactors.
Here are the excerpts from the interview.
The impact of the Great Resignation is still being felt alongside the rise in layoffs. What are the implications of all these changes and shifts for an employer's talent strategies?
The world of work has changed, and retaining and attracting workers with the help of emerging technologies has become a business imperative. Over the last three years, organisations across sectors have been compelled to pivot toward a tech-enabled business continuity plan.
According to the UiPath 2022 Office Worker Survey, most global office workers are feeling increased pressure at work due to colleagues resigning in the past year. As a result, 48% say they would consider resigning from their jobs in the next six months.
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The Great Resignation coupled with a wave of reductions in the workforce across the tech industry has forced companies to adopt new-age strategies. What this means for employers is that they need to develop and implement new-age talent strategies that leverage technologies such as automation. Managing through the Great Migration will require employers to invest in their current workforce. In addition to flexible work arrangements or increased compensation, workers need tools like automation to make their current roles more satisfying. Organisations will also need to provide training programmes for their existing workforce to equip them with the necessary skills to manage these software robots.
One of the most pressing problems that businesses are currently dealing with is the retention of top talent. What pointers would you give managers on how to bring in and retain the best talent?
As more and more companies revisit their return-to-office plans, it is becoming increasingly clear that offering flexibility and choice in how and where work is done is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. By working closely with their teams to identify which roles are best suited to an office environment and what types of work are conducive to such an environment, leaders can support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and foster a culture of trust, transparency, and flexibility. This, in turn, will allow employees to work in ways that suit their individual needs and preferences, ultimately leading to greater productivity and engagement.
How are organisations leveraging next-gen technologies to tackle some of the top challenges including balancing employee happiness and teamwork?
The Great Resignation brought Automation and AI to centre stage while making it clear to the C-Suite that employees seek enhanced work-life balance. The same observation was also reflected in the survey, as 73 per cent of global respondents agreed that incorporating automation, including training on automation, could help attract new and retain existing talent across industries. Organisations across industries have already recognised that next-gen technologies like automation can prove to be an effective business tool for critical areas of business excellence, customer experience, and competitive success within the next three years.
What have some of the biggest challenges been, and how are you overcoming them, as the head of people?
One of the biggest challenges is maintaining the employees’ well-being. At UiPath, one of my focus areas has been offering mental health-related courses and sessions to employees. I believe that by allowing flexibility to work remotely, employees get the freedom to achieve not only their career goals but also their personal goals, which play a vital role in the holistic growth and health of an individual. We encourage employees to take time off by offering unlimited personal time off (PTO) and in turn, we promote work-life balance.
What do you anticipate to be the biggest workplace challenge in the future?
One of the biggest workplace struggles going into the future will be addressing the skilled labour shortage caused by The Great Resignation and restructuring measures undertaken by organisations based on the macro environment. As organisations operate with limited bandwidth, process inefficiencies mean employers must consider either making changes or risk losing talent. World over, office workers are feeling heightened pressure at work because their co-workers are quitting or their company’s decision to downsize.
Labour shortages and mundane work are causing people to quit or quietly quit. Organisations need to urgently identify strategies to reduce the effects of the labour shortage and future-proof their business as it emerges as one of the most important concerns facing our workplaces today.
Many governments and companies in the Asia Pacific (APAC) are already investing in automation solutions and consider it a high priority. For example, Singapore has earmarked $600 million in its Budget 2022 to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) boost their productivity by digitalising and automating their business processes. Finally, the best way forward is going to be continued investments in skills and leadership development to ensure a happy, successful, and skilled workforce that can weather any storm.