Hybrid working is new norm but culture concerns build

Three in four (76%) employers are worried about the impact remote working is having on staff loyalty and corporate culture, according to Robert Half's 2022 Salary Guide.

  • Three in four (76%) businesses are concerned about the impact of hybrid working on company culture and loyalty 
  • Dissatisfaction with company culture is employers’ most significant retention concern – an issue exacerbated by remote working  
  • However, 20% of employees will leave their role if they are not offered their ideal working environment – putting businesses between a rock and a hard place 

[LONDON, 3 October 2021] Three in four (76%) employers are worried about the impact remote working is having on staff loyalty and corporate culture, according to a new report by specialist recruiter Robert Half.

At a time when the majority (89%) of business leaders are wary about their company’s ability to retain valued employees, maintaining corporate culture is crucial, yet according to Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide - an annual report for projected salary ranges, benefits and hiring trends across several sectors – it is now the most significant retention concern.

Three in 10 (29%) senior leaders say that their largest concern about staff retention is dissatisfaction with corporate culture, an issue exacerbated by the challenges of managing a remote or hybrid team. Business leaders said that remote working has led to fewer integration activities at work (34%), less teamwork (34%), and a growing distance between colleagues (31%) – all impacting on their company culture.

With more than two in five (41%) of the UK’s workforce agreeing that flexible working should be offered as standard, employers are now faced with striking a delicate balance to maintain loyalty.

Nearly half (45%) of employers have added remote working to their benefits packages in the last year, and now business leaders must make a choice between permanently revising contracts to offer hybrid perks or reducing flexibility to encourage a return to the office. Robert Half’s report found that 57 per cent of employers think that remote working helps improve attraction of new employees and, in fact, one in five (20%) employees say they will consider changing roles if they are not offered their ideal working environment.

Matt Weston, Robert Half’s UK Managing Director, said: “Candidates are demanding flexible working conditions and businesses are delivering, but concerns are starting to emerge about the impact of home-working on corporate culture, leaving businesses between a rock and a hard place. It is crucial that business leaders find a way to balance flexibility with the culture and communication required to create a loyal and cohesive team.

“We’re already seeing a tsunami of turnover as employees shift their priorities and expectations in the wake of the pandemic, so business leaders need to listen carefully to strike the right balance and prevent their best talent from jumping ship.”

Weston also said that for younger people the impact on company culture could be more detrimental. “For those later in their career, remote working may fit with their lifestyles and expectations, but for those just starting out being away from the office can impact their progression, ability to meet, learn from and gain support from colleagues and ultimately their loyalty to an employer.”

As we exceed 18 months working from home, nearly half of employers are bracing themselves for widespread employee burnout in 2022. Employers are turning their focus to flexibility and wellbeing to reduce risk, with over half (54%) planning to allow greater scheduling flexibility to alleviate this.

Robert Half’s report says concerns raised during the pandemic have caused 41 per cent of employers to offer more support for working parents and caregivers. More than half (51%) now offer a 24/7 mental health hotline, and a third (32%) are looking to make existing benefits even more accessible to employees.

Matt Weston added: “We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that employees often work harder when they work remotely, as it’s harder to draw a line between work-life and home-life, which can lead to burnout. Employers are mindful of this, which is why the majority expect to see more cases of overworked employees next year and are working hard to put preventative measures in place. However, firms should be mindful that all employees are different and supporting them with as much flexibility as they need will benefit both parties in the long run.”

Along with insights on employer expectations for 2022, Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide also includes salary data for a large range of roles, allowing businesses to find out how much they should pay and candidates to find out the going rate.

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