We wrote about the Labor market trends across the Globe and emphasized why the Recruitment layer needs to be strengthened (both in people needs and in the aspect of Digital tools need). The journey that companies will undertake from here on will be essentially dual. Companies will be pushing the innovation boundaries, and on the other side, the job roles associated with front-line work (Store clerks, bank tellers, delivery drivers) also become extremely important.
To my knowledge, the labor market has never faced this duality at the same time. It was always believed that innovation would invariably disrupt routine roles. The Covid disruption has created a bit of an imbalance in this. As a result, companies will need to adapt to the dual nature of the requirements while accelerating innovation through AI and Automation. While Enterprises are looking at solving their routine job needs, Governments across the world are trying to dominate the innovation quarters. In 2013, America’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) awarded the then small firm called Moderna a 25 million dollar contract. We all know how well that paid off for the world. Germany, The UK, Japan, and many countries across the Globe are mimicking this model in a big way.
Understanding Employee Sentiment is at the root of getting successful results from this complex labor market. This aspect has often not been that critical from a labor market perspective, but the importance has dramatically increased in the last eight months. Last week, Tim Cook from Apple suggested that employees should plan to return to work three days a week from September. Apple’s internal slack channel has been very active since then.
Here is the summary of what Apple Employees wrote in the slack channel addressed to Tim Cook – CEO of Apple
- We are formally requesting that Apple considers remote and location-flexible work decisions to be as autonomous for a team to decide as are hiring decisions.
- We are formally requesting a question about employee churn due to remote work be added to exit interviews.
- We are formally requesting a transparent, clear plan of action to accommodate disabilities via onsite, offsite, remote, hybrid, or otherwise location-flexible work.
- We are formally requesting insight into the environmental impact of returning to onsite in-person work and how permanent remote-and-location-flexibility could offset that impact.
Tim Cook’s statement communicated that innovation is at its best when working from a campus. This is an area where many leaders across the Globe are struggling. Theoretically speaking, as the work hours expand and especially work is in your mind (we could be taking a break, but I am sure some part of the brain is occupied with work). So, where are the boundaries of work?
We looked into some of the existing studies around Remote work. A dissertation completed by Kristian Wøien Stø and Andreas Vestre at the Norwegian School of Business summarized the following.
Bloom et al. (2015) performed the first randomized experiment on working from home and, as such, provided evidence to supplement prior case studies and surveys. It involved a controlled experiment within a large Chinese firm where volunteer call center employees were randomly assigned to work in the office or from home for nine months. The employees working from home significantly increased their performance. This was mainly due to working more minutes per shift (an increase of 9.2%) and making more calls per minute (an increase of 3.3%), the former being attributed to fewer breaks and sick days and the latter to a quieter working environment. The employees working from home also reported improved job satisfaction, and their job attrition rates fell drastically. A meta-analysis by Gajendran and Harrison also suggests that working from home positively correlates with performance, both when objectively measured and supervisor-rated. Surprisingly, they could not find a significant correlation between actual and self-rated performance when working from home. The analysis also found that home office is positively associated with job satisfaction.
Whether employees work from home or from an office space, the key takeaway is understanding and respecting employee sentiments. It may be wise to dedicate a section of the HR practice to model and project employee sentiments (internal and external). This analysis will evolve more into science as more startups build solutions around this. At Draup, we conducted a prototype of analyzing employee sentiments across the big tech companies’ hiring process. Employee sentiment analysis can be conducted across several flavors. From a Recruitment perspective, the following type of analysis with peers will be useful
Candidate sentiment is a complex entity by itself. Look at the table below; Google has a long turnaround time and still has high candidate interview experience. I was shocked a bit to see this. When we conducted some primary interviews around this, the quality of the interactions seems to be very high in Google. The interviewing Engineers truly gave time to the candidates. We plan to conduct more research on this but tables de-constructing the hiring process will be very useful.