HR leaders call for more tech to help solve talent challenges

HR leaders are struggling to keep up with changing employee expectations and this can have dire consequences for businesses, according to a new study by Oracle.

Oracle's survey of 1,000 employees and HR leaders across the United Kingdom found that despite current economic uncertainty, worker expectations are higher than ever, and HR leaders need help to get the employee experience right or risk losing profits and market share.The survey is released as the latest Labour Market Tracker from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows increased job postings, but softening in key areas, including London, and in IT and legal.

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UK employee expectations rise

Oracle’s survey finds that employee expectations for pay, flexibility, and training continue to increase against a background of economic uncertainty.  Over eight in ten (82%) of employees say it’s more difficult to be successful at work today than it was three years ago, with a similar number (85%) saying they are worried about the impact of the current economy.Wellbeing also continues to weigh heavily on employees’ list of concerns. Employees are worried about job stability (50%) and burnout (46%) and are afraid they will have to reduce their standard of living (61%), take on a second job to make ends meet (33%), and lack of career growth (33%).Despite these fears, 57% of employees have higher expectations than they did three years ago. Employees want pay raises to meet inflation (65%). Yet there is also strong employee demand for flexible work options (40%) and more learning and development opportunities (34%), which could ease the cost pressure around pay rises on employers.Indeed, 87% of employees believe businesses can do more to improve the employee experience. Over half (55%) are more worried about having the right job than the right salary, and 89% would walk away from a job that doesn’t meet their expectations, even during a recession.

UK HR leaders struggle to balance employee and business needs

HR leaders agree their organisations need to do more to support employees. However, they report they are facing major challenges and do not believe they are equipped to navigate a constantly changing workplace, says Oracle of its findings.   Seven in ten HR leaders agree their organisations can do more to improve the employee experience, but 90% of HR leaders admit it’s increasingly difficult to navigate the constant change of today’s workplace.HR leaders are also struggling to attract and retain top talent (37%), meet new business demands (36%), reskill their workforce (34%) and keep up with high employee expectations (31%).Fully 90% believe they do not have the right tools to support constantly evolving business and employee demands and 69% admit they need to rethink their people strategy to succeed in today’s economy.Almost all (90%) of HR leaders believe the right technology can help them enhance the employee experience. They want technology to help them gain a better understanding of their workforce (44%), offer guided career mobility (39%), and support a hybrid workforce (48%).

Prioritise top talent or risk competitiveness

Organisations that don’t get the employee experience right risk reduced productivity, brand damage and increased turnover. In an age of purpose and values-led employment, 85% of employees still feel like they are just a cog in the wheel of their organisation and 43% have no idea how their performance contributes to business success.To mitigate this and feel like a valued part of their organisation, employees want an experience where their voices are heard (56%), they have clearly defined goals (49%), and they receive support in growing their careers (52%).Eight in ten (83%) of employees believe that if things do not change – and organisations don’t start listening to their voice or opinions (43%), prioritising profits over people (36%), and providing clear communication about their value to the business (25%) – their organisations will not be set up for success.Almost all (91%) of HR leaders agree and know a poor employee experience can have serious business consequences. HR leaders know that failing to deliver the right employee experience will lower productivity (41%), damage the brand (39%), and increase turnover (36%).HR leaders are particularly worried about top performers, with 71% believing that if they don’t start prioritising their top performers, they will leave and that will result in lost profits (85%) and market share (84%).Seven in ten (69%) say technology is the key to finding the right balance between employee and business needs and 73% believe having the right technology partner is the first step to creating that balance.Siobhan Wilson, UK country leader at Oracle, comments: “Concerns around the cost of living in the UK have added to the daily pressure we face in our personal and working lives. It’s a balancing act of supporting ourselves today while preparing for the future – ultimately making sure we’re happy and fulfilled along the way.“HR leaders are a huge support when making these decisions, for employees and businesses alike, but they need help too. That’s where I see technology making the most difference, for example, taking away repetitive admin and giving personalised recommendations for career growth, so that HR teams can spend their time focused on what matters most.”

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