Support employees to regain control of their future

Study shows that professional development is top of mind for employees.

Despite struggles over the last year, people around the world are eager to make changes in their personal and professional lives. Employers need to pay attention to employee needs more than ever, leverage technology to provide better support, and retain and grow top talent amid changing workplace dynamics.

These are key insights from a new study by Oracle and HR research and advisory firm Workplace Intelligence, which identifies workplace trends to help companies better understand areas of need to support their employees in regaining control of their futures.

“The workplace as we know it has changed: where we work, how we work, why we work, and who we work with. Organisations and employees have been forced to adapt to situations out of their control, finding strategies to stay afloat, retain jobs, and keep the loneliness of social distancing at bay,” says Ronnie Toerien, HCM product leader for Africa at Oracle.

Lockdown living and ongoing uncertainty has left employees in emotional turmoil and unsure of what the future holds for them, with the number of people who feel little to no control over their personal and professional lives doubling since the pandemic began.

A large percentage of respondents (80 percent) said their lives had been negatively impacted by the last year, with many struggling financially (29 percent), experiencing a mental health decline (28 percent), lacking career motivation (25 percent), and feeling disconnected (23 percent) and stuck (76 percent) in their personal lives. Anxiety about their future and being trapped in the same routine also featured as trigger points.

Going into 2022, professional development is top of mind with many willing to give up key benefits such as vacation time (52 percent); monetary bonuses (51 percent); and even part of their salary (43 percent) for more career opportunities.

The biggest hurdles of those who said they are ready to make a change include financial instability (22 percent), not knowing which career change makes sense for them (20 percent), not feeling confident enough to make a change (20 percent), and seeing no growth opportunities at their current company (20 percent).

Technology for professional development
The study reveals that employees worldwide are eager to learn new skills but are not satisfied with their employer’s support, and so 85 percent will turn to technology to help define their future.

Supporting career growth and skills development is a no-brainer for companies to retain top talent, with as many as 55 percent saying they are more likely to stay with a company that uses advanced technologies like AI to help do so.

However, employees still see a role for humans in this process of rebooting their careers, saying that people are vital to their professional development. They think humans are better at providing support by offering advice based on personal experience (46 percent), identifying strengths and weaknesses (44 percent), and looking beyond a resumé to recommend roles that fit personalities (41 percent).