HR in the News | February 2022

Katie Ash

Feb 7, 2022

Here is a round-up of the top HR new stories, updates and insights from the past month in Singapore:

🔸 The three biggest questions HR leaders will face in 2022

HR leaders have dealt with many unprecedented challenges over the past year, and as we head into 2022, fast-evolving developments in the people and talent arena continue to redefine what it means both to be an employer and an employee in a post-pandemic world.

These include the continued shift towards remote and hybrid working models, “The Great Resignation”, and a stronger focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) at the workplace, among others.

We are all aware of these trends, and many HR leaders have contributed their views and perspectives on them over the past few months. However, in my recent conversations with business leaders over the holidays, three big questions around employee engagement and retention continue to stand out.

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🔸 Hybrid work will be the key disruption for 2022 — Here’s what leaders can do to ride this wave

The data is clear: extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic workplace.

Starting back in the late spring, employers across industries began reporting record numbers of people leaving their jobs – and were struggling to replace them. Two in five (41%) of respondents to a Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index survey reported that they are planning on quitting their jobs within the next year. Such a high indication for quitting is also known as 'The Great Resignation' by organisational psychologist Dr. Anthony Klotz.

As the buzz around Great Resignation grows, leaders find themselves at a pivotal crossroads between employee retention and business results. How can executives balance their strategic and operational goals with shifting employee expectations?

Laura Quigley, SVP APAC, Integral Ad Science makes five affirmative suggestions for leaders to stay ahead of the curve.

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🔸 56% of employees surveyed in Singapore said they lacked strong support from employers during the pandemic

The pandemic has added to workplace stress and burnout for many employees in Singapore, with more than half (55%) citing everyday stress, compared to 51% in Asia.

In times as challenging as a pandemic, employers and organisations have a crucial part to play in supporting employees' needs. Yet, in a recent survey by Mercer Marsh Benefits, 56% of employees in Singapore reported that they did not receive strong support from their employers. Compared to the 51% of workers globally and 46% in Asia who indicated the same, Singapore fared below global benchmarks in lending support to employees during the pandemic.

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🔸 Companies have much to gain from workplace diversity, hiring those with special needs

One way for companies to practise corporate social responsibility is to embrace diversity in the working environment.

A diverse workplace can encourage creativity and innovation, which will boost productivity in the long run.

Individuals with special needs have different perceptions and perspectives due to the variety of challenges they face either physically or socially in life. These increase their ability to handle stress and be more resilient.

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🔸 'Great Resignation' in Singapore: MOM clarifies resignation rates remain below pre-COVID levels

With high resignation rates across the United States and Europe, looming concerns about the 'Great Resignation' wave have extended to Singapore.

The Ministry of Manpower has addressed this phenomenon in a recent Facebook post.

Citing its statistics, resignation rates in Singapore have remained consistently low throughout the pandemic, at 1.6% for the third quarter of 2021. This number remains below pre-COVID levels, similar to the quarterly average in 2018 – 2019 was 1.8%. As such, MOM statistics show that the pandemic has not led to a significant increase in resignations.

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🔸 Commentary: Colleagues who resign create an emotional hole in the teams they leave behind

As workers find opportunities in other places or throw in the towel to find a better balance in life, companies will focus on finding replacements. As organisations scramble to replace their employees, it is also important to recognise the impact a colleague's resignation has on their team and their well-being.

While it may seem somewhat dramatic, a colleague's resignation often affects others around them and can lead to feelings of uncertainty, loss, and even grief.

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🔸 Decoding the DNA of progressive employers: How to value employee voice

Leaders who use a ground-up approach that is both consultative and supportive will play a part in promoting psychological safety at work and a positive team climate.

Everyone wants to be heard, whether in a personal or professional setting. At work, when employees feel that their views count, they will feel more engaged and connected to the organisation.

This is why cultivating a strong employee voice at the workplace is critical, and identified as one of the building blocks to develop the DNA of a progressive employer.

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🔸 Remote working gives S'pore edge in attracting talent, but could worsen inequality

In a world where working remotely has become more commonplace, making it easier for people to relocate, cities like Singapore, which offer not just a good business environment but also quality of life, will have a competitive edge in attracting global talent.

But while the mobility of the global workforce allows Singapore to compete for talent in a way that was not possible before, this could also worsen inequality, said panellists at the Singapore Perspectives conference.

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🔸 Ushering in the new era of the hybrid workforce

With 2022 likely to be the year of hybrid work, organisations need to develop and introduce effective hybrid work strategies and policies.

For some employees, 2022 represents a welcome return to the comforts of the physical office space. Others, however, will continue to embrace the remote work experience, which has largely been in place since 2020 because of the pandemic.

How then, can organisations begin to develop successful hybrid work strategies that can manage both organisational requirements and employee expectations?

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