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Despite the Great Resignation, only 39% of HR leaders say improving retention is a top objective, according to a new Time Is Ltd. report

Evan James
4
minutes
March 17, 2022
Facing competing priorities and a rapidly changing workplace, HR leaders across industries report widespread challenges and dire issues with meetings, employee engagement, productivity, and digital tool overload

17 March 2022 (New York, NY) Time Is Ltd., the world’s leading employee engagement and experience platform, announces the results of The Evolving Workforce and HR’s Identity Crisis, a new 24-page research report detailing top HR leaders’ priorities for employee engagement, retention, and workplace collaboration amidst the workforce issues that have arisen during the pandemic. 

In December 2021, Time Is Ltd. conducted a survey of 255 human resources professionals with leadership roles at U.S. companies with 500+ employees, and representing organizations across a variety of industries, with remote workforces, and with on-site workforces. 

At a time when the country experiences historic labor issues, the research shows a fundamental disconnect between what HR leaders say they're prioritizing and the realities of a workforce that has radically changed over the past two years. The results suggest an identity crisis over the role of HR in business and illustrate the many challenges HR leaders are facing amidst shifting employee expectations, changing workplace cultures, and evolving workforce technologies. Nearly all HR leaders (93%) report that insights around collaboration and communication would help managers at their organizations improve productivity of their workforce, which suggests that access to data will be pivotal in addressing these issues. 

“How we meet, how we collaborate, and how we stay engaged have all been rapidly altered as we increasingly turn to tools like Slack, Google Workspace, and Zoom, and with these monumental changes come critical challenges for businesses,” says Jan Rezab, CEO and Founder of Time Is Ltd. “There's an enormous gap between the data HR leaders have and the data they need to be effective in addressing these changes in the workforce — and they've been filling that gap with assumptions and traditional approaches, which no longer apply.”

Key takeaways from the research include:

Even as the Great Resignation persists, many companies aren’t prioritizing retention

  • 76% of HR leaders reported higher employee turnover in the past year
  • But the majority (61%) do not consider “improving retention” among even their top three objectives
  • At the same time, only 1 in 3 (32%) list improving onboarding processes and recruitment — factors known to have long term impacts on retention — among their top objectives 
  • Looking forward, 61% believe retention of employees hired during the pandemic will be lower than retention of employees hired pre-pandemic — spelling trouble ahead
  • The takeaway: HR leaders by and large identify attrition as an issue, but they’re not measuring the KPIs and factors that contribute to it, like poor onboarding or sources of employee disengagement

Meetings are spinning out of control

  • 41% of HR leaders believe meeting culture — defined by aspects like their frequency, length, and focus — is a top challenge in the workplace, and this has worsened significantly as the pandemic progressed
  • But 38% struggle with measuring meeting efficiency
  • That said, 2 out of 3 HR professionals (67%) believe allowing employees to choose whether or not to attend meetings would improve productivity
  • The takeaway: HR leaders have the opportunity to immediately improve employee experience and productivity by empowering employees to say no to meetings and by measuring data that illustrates meeting effectiveness

Digital tools are crucial, but their implementation is a serious, ongoing challenge

  • Collaboration technology is one of the greatest workplace challenges, according to half of HR professionals (53%). It became a bigger challenge as the pandemic progressed
  • HR leaders report that their use increased during the pandemic, with an increase in email use reported by 84%, instant messaging increase reported by 80%, file sharing increase reported by 77%, and video communication increase reported by 83%
  • But 95% state the pandemic made such tools, which support communication and productivity, more essential to the organization’s overall success
  • The takeaway: Digital tools are vital, but measuring, evaluating, and managing their implementation is critical for productivity, collaboration, and employee experience

Remote companies face different challenges than on-site companies

  • 30% of companies report being mostly to entirely remote, 34% report being equally remote and on-site, and 36% report being mostly to fully on-site
  • 37% of remote majority companies have low turnover rates (i.e. under 10%), compared to 29% of those with an equal number of (or more) on-site employees
  • Remote majority organizations are significantly less likely to feel their current workplace dynamics are sustainable for the next three to five years 
  • 60% of on-site majority companies are extremely confident in management’s ability to influence change on their team, compared to just 43% of those working for remote majority companies
  • The takeaway: Remote, hybrid, and on-site setups each face unique challenges, so it’s critical HR leaders turn to data and not take a one-size-fits-all approach

HR has little infrastructure in place to understand their workforce and act on insights

  • 93% of HR executives believe that providing data-backed insights on employee communication and collaboration would help managers improve productivity
  • 45% report employee satisfaction is one of the most difficult areas to measure, while 41% report the same about employee productivity and 37% about employee engagement
  • The takeaway: HR faces a serious measurement problem, and it’s exacerbating our catastrophic labor issues

The survey was conducted in collaboration with Ascend2, a B2B market research firm with a specialty in human resources, sales, marketing, and technology.

Todd Lebo, CEO and Executive Partner at Ascend2, says: “This research study comes at a critical time for organizations, as they seek data to guide their strategy to adapt to fundamental changes in the employee experience and its impact on retention, productivity, and culture. Our analysts uncovered surprising findings in the data sets that compare early and mid-pandemic, the five-year view on remote, hybrid, and in-person offices, and the executives' perspective on topics such as meeting efficiency and how to improve retention.” 

To access the full report, visit http://www.timeisltd.com/resources/the-evolving-workforce-hrs-identity-crisis.

About Time Is Ltd.

Founded in 2016, Time Is Ltd. empowers companies to drive an engaged, focused, and thriving workforce, powered by the use of collaboration data and insights. As the world’s leading employee experience and engagement SaaS platform, Time Is Ltd. offers an interactive interface that enables companies and teams to analyze collaboration, meetings, instant messaging, emails, focus time, and more — enabling companies to create ideal working environments for teams and employees.

Media Contact

Contact Time Is Ltd. at press@timeisltd.com 

Evan James

The Evolving Workforce & HR's Identity Crisis

The last two pandemic-filled years have changed the nature of work, and HR leaders are struggling to adapt. That's the main takeaway from our new survey of 255 HR professionals. We went to HR leaders directly to discover the challenges they face with employee engagement, retention, onboarding, and more, and the results paint a picture of HR leaders being at a crossroads. 

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Want to learn more about how to create  highly collaborative and engaged teams? Check out our blog for key insights and best practices.
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