Culture concerns over hybrid

Dissatisfaction with company culture is employers’ most significant retention concern, and it's an issue that employers are saying is exacerbated by remote working.

According to the Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide, three in four (76%) employers are worried about the impact remote working is having on staff loyalty and corporate culture.  This comes at a time when the majority (89%) of business leaders are wary about their company’s ability to retain valued employees, maintaining corporate culture is crucial.

Business leaders said that remote working has led to fewer integration activities at work (34%), less teamwork (34%), and a growing distance between colleagues (31%) – all impacting on their company culture.  With over 40% of the UK’s workforce agreeing that flexible working should be offered as standard, employers are now faced with striking a delicate balance to maintain loyalty.

Nearly half (45%) of employers have added remote working to their benefits packages in the last year, and now business leaders must make a choice between permanently revising contracts to offer hybrid perks or reducing flexibility to encourage a return to the office.

“Candidates are demanding flexible working conditions and businesses are delivering, but concerns are starting to emerge about the impact of home-working on corporate culture, leaving businesses between a rock and a hard place,” says Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half.  “We’re already seeing a tsunami of turnover as employees shift their priorities and expectations in the wake of the pandemic, so business leaders need to listen carefully to strike the right balance and prevent their best talent from jumping ship.”

For younger people the impact on company culture could be more detrimental. “For those later in their career, remote working may fit with their lifestyles and expectations, but for those just starting out, being away from the office can impact their progression, ability to meet, learn from and gain support from colleagues and ultimately their loyalty to an employer,” says Weston.

As we exceed 18 months working from home, nearly half of employers are bracing themselves for widespread employee burnout in 2022, says the report.  Employers are turning their focus to flexibility and wellbeing to reduce risk, with over half (54%) planning to allow greater scheduling flexibility to alleviate this.

Concerns raised during the pandemic have caused 41% of employers to offer more support for working parents and caregivers.  More than half (51%) now offer a 24/7 mental health hotline, and a third (32%) are looking to make existing benefits even more accessible to employees.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that employees often work harder when they work remotely, as it’s harder to draw a line between work-life and home-life, which can lead to burnout,” says Weston.  “Employers are mindful of this, which is why the majority expect to see more cases of overworked employees next year and are working hard to put preventative measures in place.  However, firms should be mindful that all employees are different and supporting them with as much flexibility as they need will benefit both parties in the long run.”