2020 ‘most stressful’ year of career, HR leaders report

HR leaders have felt more stressed in 2020 than ever before, according to new research from Reward Gateway, as professionals have been “tasked with making more of an impact with fewer resources, less time and less money”. 

Its latest survey gathered responses from 751 HR leaders and 1,510 employees from companies across the UK, U.S. and Australia. 

Some 71% reported that 2020 has been the “most stressful year in their career”.

In addition, connecting the workforce (69%) and keeping up workplace culture remotely (71%) were cited as the biggest challenges, while 42% said that doing more with less time, money and resources by streamlining/unifying HR technology has increased in importance since the pandemic.

Compounding the challenges reported by HR, 51% of employees said they are looking to move jobs, citing feelings of “underappreciation and a lack of recognition” (30%), a lack of support (26%) and insufficient connection to the company (23%), as reasons for their departure. 

According to Reward Gateway, this aligns with the viewpoint amongst HR leaders, who reported that they believe their workforce is more stressed (59%), less connected to colleagues (41%) and their organization (32%) and less engaged (34%) since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

When HR leaders were asked what is needed to better motivate and engage their workforce, they said employee reward and recognition technology (57%), employee wellbeing technology (50%) and employee communications technology (41%).

In addition, 48% of HR leaders expect remote work to become standard, while a further 48% will look to use technology to create an enhanced, streamlined employee experience.

Additionally, they prioritize maintaining and/or increasing employee morale (34%), workplace wellbeing (34%) and increasing employee retention (28%) in the coming year. 

Reward Gateway’s chief operating officer, Rob Boland, said: “As found in our various research around the impact of COVID-19, it’s clear that as HR leaders continue to be asked to do more with less to connect and engage the remote workforce during the pandemic and into FY21, communication, support and recognition initiatives remain at the core of a positive employee experience.

“By leveraging integrated HR technology platforms that can facilitate efficient communication and recognition and provide employees with support, appreciation and access to benefits, organizations can better navigate the challenges that have resulted from the crisis.”

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