TrustRadius Industry Report: HR Pros See Permanent Changes in the U.S. Labor Market, Increase Tech Investment to Attract and Retain Empowered Workforce

Almost two-thirds of HR professionals find remote work improves employee well-being, more than half cite increased HR tech spend as workers call the shots in ongoing Great Resignation

TrustRadius, the company delivering the most trusted research and review platform for business technology, today announced new data from its HR Industry Trends Report. The report drew from polling 764 human resources professionals from the associate level to C-suite across industries in the U.S., found that 76% think change in the labor market accompanying the Great Resignation is permanent—with 43% considering the attrition movement itself a significant permanent change and 34% saying it will create some small but permanent changes.

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In the wake of 2021’s labor market upheaval, the report also revealed that HR professionals are generally embracing a more remote, diverse and empowered workforce. As the pandemic has continued, 55% said their companies are spending more on HR technology right now, a move that may help them stay competitive amid new realities.

HR Hones in on Great Resignation Causes and Its DEI Outcomes

The report results bolster the idea that the Great Resignation, or more accurately the Great Attrition or Big Switch, will likely have long-lasting impacts on the U.S. labor market. During the pandemic, a combination of generational retirement, talent shortages, changing employee priorities and a job-switching revolution has concerned businesses. With complex factors in play, HR professionals honed in further on company- and employee-specific causes of the Great Resignation.

For company-related causes, 31% pointed to stressful working conditions as the single biggest cause, followed by 16% citing low pay, 15% a lack of flexibility, and 13% company failure to address work/life balance. For employee-related causes of the Great Resignation, top observations from HR professionals were as follows:

  • 30% said workers have gained perspective on what’s important in their lives
  • 18% said workers are reflecting on what they want from their career
  • 14% said workers are taking advantage of the pandemic to make demands
  • 14% said workers are looking for better paying opportunities

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“Employees will no longer tolerate being overworked, underpaid and unsupported,” said Jamy Conrad, senior director of people at TrustRadius. “This empowered workforce is challenging companies to support them with better onboarding, benefits and overall flexibility. However, the vast majority of HR professionals are feeling challenged and exhausted by the pandemic. And they’re facing even bigger hurdles with the Great Resignation and the need to rapidly improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.”

The research revealed that 71% of HR professionals think that the Great Resignation will impact their DEI efforts. That group was able to offer more than one response on the nature of the impact:

  • 41% said the Great Resignation offers an opportunity to increase diversity
  • 44% said it will require a complete rethinking of company DEI efforts
  • 21% said it will derail company DEI efforts

HR professionals also offered more than one response in evaluating their company’s current state of DEI:

  • 60% said their company is diverse
  • 44% said their company is equitable
  • 43% said their company is inclusive

Software May Reduce Hiring Bias and Mobility May Improve Productivity

With respect to DEI, the research found that almost half (49%) of HR professionals thought that their HR software helps prevent bias in hiring. But that perception differed significantly by gender, with 62% of men thinking this, but only 43% of women.

“Companies are looking for new technologies to streamline their processes when it comes to talent retention and to systematically improve diversity, inclusion and belonging,” said Megan Headley, vice president of research at TrustRadius. “This report looks at the state of the HR industry and learnings from 2021, so that we can make better decisions going into the new year. When most offices were planning to reopen this year, the pandemic continued and HR professionals had to go back to the drawing board once again. Worker mobility is becoming a permanent feature of the enterprise and SMB landscape and investing in the tech solutions that support employee needs is critical for business survival.”

The research offered insights on worker mobility. Nearly half of HR professionals (48%) said that remote work increases productivity. The figure jumped to 59% among those in fully remote environments, while 42% at office-only companies said remote work decreases productivity. Additionally, a clear majority of HR professionals, 65%, said that remote work increases well-being. Just 18% stated it has a negative effect. Millennial HR professionals had the most favorable opinion of remote work, with 58% finding that it increases employee productivity and 72% saying the same for well-being.

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