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71% of HR Leaders Surveyed Globally Say 2020 Has Been the Most Stressful Year of their Career

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With 51% of Employees Looking to Move Jobs, Stress Will Likely Continue

New research released by global employee engagement company, Reward Gateway, has shed new light on the impact of COVID-19 on HR leaders. Feeling pressure to connect a remote workforce, HR leaders have felt more stressed in 2020 than ever before, tasked with making more of an impact with fewer resources, less time and less money.

The survey gathered responses from 751 HR leaders and 1,510 employees from companies across the UK, U.S. and Australia. HR leaders report that:

  • 2020 has been the most stressful year in their career (71%)
  • Connecting the workforce (69%) and keeping up workplace culture (71%) remotely, has been a big challenge
  • Doing more with less time, money and resources by streamlining/unifying HR technology has increased in importance since the pandemic (42%)

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 their reasons for departure. 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.

These data points show that recognition, support and communication have been key throughout the pandemic. In fact, employees who said their company has handled COVID-19 well indicated they believe this is a result of their employer having the right workplace tools and technologies in place (42%), maintaining regular communication (38%) and taking steps to ensure employee wellbeing (35%). Further, 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%).

As we approach 2021, HR leaders expect remote work to become standard (48%), will look to use technology to create an enhanced, streamlined employee experience (48%) and anticipate that HR teams will become more involved in company-wide digital transformations (45%). Additionally, they prioritize maintaining and/or increasing employee morale (34%), workplace wellbeing (34%) and increasing employee retention (28%) in the coming year.

"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," says Reward Gateway's Chief Operating Officer Rob Boland. "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."

To learn more about Reward Gateway's resources for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

The Reward Gateway survey gathered responses from 751 HR leaders and 1,510 employees at companies with greater than 10 employees from across the UK, U.S. and Australia.

About Reward Gateway

Reward Gateway helps more than 1,800 of the world's leading companies to attract, engage and retain their best people with an employee engagement platform that brings employee benefits, discounts and perks, reward and recognition, employee wellbeing, employee communications and employee feedback into one unified hub. Clients include American Express, Unilever, Samsung, IBM and McDonald's.

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