Businesses are obsessing about their bottom line – this makes sense as 2023’s economic uncertainty is showing no signs of slowing down in 2024.
To achieve their desired financial outcomes businesses are prioritizing employee productivity and performance, but new data from Dayforce has found that this approach is actually having a detrimental impact.
It is triggering stress and burnout, driving down job satisfaction and motivation, and ultimately pushing employees to quit, despite the tricky job market.
Dayforce, the HR tech giant formerly known as Ceridian, surveyed almost 9,000 employees globally and found that 69% are a flight risk (this increases to 76% for Gen Z and 77% for millennials), and 23% are actively looking for a new job.
When subjected to more aggressive performance goals, 70% of employees said this increased their stress – and 43% said they lost motivation when they failed to reach goals.
This is all very worrying as 81% reported they were burnt out – and only four in ten said their employee had a good understanding of the symptoms of burnout.
Performance pressure wasn’t the only cause of this stress, increased employee monitoring pushed up stress levels for 61% of respondents.
Talking exclusively to UNLEASH, Katie Meyers, VP of global talent management and development at Dayforce, commented: “Businesses are looking to increase productivity during a time where year-over-year burnout numbers are over 80%. This number is not decreasing and should ring alarm bells for leaders and HR teams.
“A balance must be struck between business needs and employees’ wants” – the question that remains is where should organizations start?”
The winning trio of flexibility, empathy and AI
Dayforce’s report makes it very clear the right mix of structure and technology could really change the game, drive up employee experience (and reduce those attrition rates).
52% of the global employees surveyed by Dayforce said that flexibility was the job attribute they value the most, and 36% of those who were a flight risk said it was a key reason why they were looking for a new role.
But flexibility alone is not enough – employees need the right tools do their work properly.
The good news is that workers are on board with tech – they see it as a real productivity and performance driver (69%), as well as helpful to reduce stress (39%).
In fact, half of employees are excited about the potential of AI to make them more productive, and particularly the newest iteration, Generative AI.
80% are interested in how their employer will AI now and into the future at work – and top of mind is development and skills.
Dayforce’s Myers tells UNLEASH: “It’s great to see such levels of openness from employees to use AI technology for learning and development, as 80% of employees are open to using AI for their own skills development and internal career opportunities.
Leaders can utilize AI to improve workforce engagement, as it can supercharge the development of existing staff and create a culture of learning that threads throughout the organization.”
The final piece of the puzzle if employees want happy, productive employees (and therefore a healthy bottom line) is empathy.
Dayforce’s report found that trust is sorely lacking in workplaces across the world – only 55% of employees felt trusted by their employers – and a similar proportion (56%) say they trust their employer.
By leaning into empathetic leadership, organizations will really reap the rewards.
A whopping nine in ten of those surveyed by Dayforce said empathetic leadership made a positive difference – this rose to 96% of Gen Z workers.
You can’t argue with the data – HR, are you ready to make a change?
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