While much of the commentary around the coronavirus and other disaster planning has focused on business continuity, protecting employees’ health and supporting remote working, it is now time for HR leaders to shift their attention to managing the employee experience, Gartner has said.
This, according to the global firm, means providing the flexibility and support employees need.
“As quarantines increase, and schools and businesses close, more employees will be forced to take time off. For most Australian employees, this means eating into leave entitlements and exacerbating already heightened anxiety about the economy and their own financial situation,” said Aaron McEwan, vice-president in the Gartner HR practice.
“HR will need to look beyond legal obligations and carefully consider their ethical position on paid leave. In an age of radical transparency, how organisations respond to their employees’ needs during this crisis could have enormous implications for their corporate reputation, employer brand and their ability to attract and retain talent.”
Data from the most recent Gartner Global Talent Monitor report revealed that amid a slow economy combined with the burden of the bushfire crisis, Aussie workers are uncertain about employment prospects and less confident in current and future business conditions.
According to its findings, there was a 4.4 per cent decline in employee business confidence in the last quarter of 2019, which followed an 8 per cent decline in the previous quarter.
While workers are increasingly planning to sit tight in their current roles, Gartner found that employees’ willingness to go above and beyond at work is trending downwards (-1.9 per cent).
“For many workers, the start of the new year has been a glum affair,” Mr McEwan said.
“A stilted economic outlook means flat wage growth and fewer opportunities for advancement, while many workers are questioning their personal priorities in the wake of Australia’s ecological disasters and ongoing conversations about the impact of COVID-19.
“Workers want to see employers acknowledge their mental outlook and to know that there are systems and processes in place to support their personal wellbeing as well as their ability to do their job well.”
Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that is made up of more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries, including 1,880 in Australia quartering Q4 2019.