Though the workforce upheaval sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and other global factors has begun to subside somewhat, employers will surely continue to feel tremors in 2023 and likely beyond. Seismic business, social and political shifts are still shaking organizational foundations. The ongoing war for talent means staffing problems for employers and resulting employee burnout. Consequently, forward-thinking organizations are rethinking some of their employment models and strategies to support their workers and maintain productivity.
The experienced are exiting
In 2021, 48 million people left their jobs in the U.S. alone. In 2022, an additional estimated 20% did the same — and many aren’t returning. In some industries, such as construction and retail, periodic job losses are expected; but this specific job exodus is predominantly among skilled workers, especially in the service industries (financial activities and business and professional services being the two categories with the highest talent shortages, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce).
Notably, attitudes about work are evolving. The pandemic and its related physical and mental health issues finally pushed legions of employees to reprioritize their approach to work and to rethink work-life balance. While protecting workers from overwhelming job demands, it has carried a cost for employers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity fell during the first two quarters of 2022. Many analysts believe that disengagement, fueled by various factors, was a pivotal contributor to the decline.
Another issue impacting employers’ productivity and operations is employee stress claims arising at an all-time high. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report, 44% of U.S. employees experienced “a lot of daily stress” the previous day — a stat that represents one reason why mental health claims are increasing globally.
A fresh approach to talent management
Whatever the impetus, employers are seeking a path to solid ground for both their organizations and their employees — and they must in order to remain competitive. Gallup’s study also reports that well-being has become the new workplace imperative to fight descending recruitment and retention trends.
One innovative strategy for tackling challenges — from productivity to engagement to mental health — is adopting resource or staffing management solutions, which are designed to support organizations through workload peaks and employee absences/leaves. Many employers in the insurance industry already consider resource solutions during catastrophes or surges, such as when claim volumes increase exponentially after a natural disaster occurs.
But just as an organization might deploy resource solutions during a catastrophe, it’s time to make that option the norm in managing employee burnout and improve engagement and productivity. A smart workforce management strategy can fill gaps, offset demands, minimize the burdens pressuring existing employees and counter emerging challenges. It can provide more bandwidth to support targeted initiatives such as business transformations and mergers and acquisitions.
Resource solutions offer an array of opportunities
A resource solutions program assures a ready pool of experienced and vetted workers, ensuring that a skilled team can step in quickly to perform tasks or even help train existing employees. These colleagues can fill any role an employer may need — for as little or as long as needed — from payroll, auditing and adjusting, to customer service, clerical and other vital functions.
Whether it’s an insurer that needs loss adjusters following a natural disaster in Australia, or an administrator that needs a forensic accountant to serve a fraud prevention program in Florida, employers no longer need to burden their at-capacity workforce with more stress. Instead, a resource management partner can rapidly fill those positions and assume those responsibilities.
With some professionals opting out of traditional jobs and leaning into the gig economy, shortages of available talent interested in full-time work are making it difficult to find new hires. Resource solution programs can help with this, too: Strong partners can help employers look at these challenges through a fresh lens, act as a resource for training and development, and support employees in managing the pressures of modern work. The result is innovative talent solutions that enable organizations to meet their goals, while protecting their most valuable asset: their people.
2023 won’t be business as usual
While much uncertainty remains regarding the global marketplace and workforce challenges, we can make a few predictions: The employment market will remain tight, employees will continue to experience stress and anxiety, and productivity and engagement strategies will be vital to employers’ success.
To help manage the uncertainty of today’s market, one strategy is to establish strong partnerships with solution providers who function as much more than staffing agencies; they become an extension of their clients’ operations. Strategic partnerships enable companies to augment their offerings, fill in gaps in expertise and infrastructure, and leverage talent in ways that yield a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
> Learn more — check out an expanded version of this article in Sedgwick’s digital magazine, edge, issue 20, or contact Joanne Sloper, head of recruitment and resource solutions, at [email protected], for details on Sedgwick’s resource solution offerings