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Remote work declining, hybrid work is on the rise: HRPA survey

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February 28, 2022
By Talent Canada

A woman working at home with her dog. Photo: Chaay_tee/Adobe Stock

Employers are struggling to find and retain staff, but offering flexibility might be the secret recipe to success, according to new data released by the Toronto-based Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA).

Nearly nine out of 10 organizations (87 per cent) struggled to recruit workers and 70 per cent experienced issues with retention in 2021. Voluntary turnover rates increased by 3.1 percentage points to 12.3 per cent.

Jobs where work is done onsite – including construction, health and social services, and manufacturing – had the hardest time recruiting staff, according to HRPA 2021 HR Trends Survey.

Tactics to improve retention

Flexible work was the most popular tactic to improve retention – with 54 per cent of 723 respondents adopting that strategy. Other tactics included:

  • Onboarding and orientation programs (47 per cent)
  • Learning and development opportunities (44 per cent)
  • Re-evaluating employee compensation (43 per cent)

Recruitment challenges

Most employers (83 per cent) reported a lack of applicants as the biggest challenge. But lack of necessary experience (63 per cent) and missing necessary hard skills (50 per cent) also frustrated hiring managers.

Organizations that experienced issues with recruitment were “three times more likely to not offer any flex work options compared to those that didn’t struggle,” according to the HRPA.

Remote work declining, hybrid being embraced

Remote work exploded in the first year of the pandemic —90 per cent of employers surveyed offer the option to staff in 2020.

But in 2021, only one-half (50 per cent) said their workplace offered a remote work option.

“Hybrid work was the most popular flex work option, offered by two-thirds (67 per cent) of organizations,” HRPA said in the report. “Hybrid work will likely continue to be a trend as employers learn to adopt to changing employee expectations around flexibility.”

Permanent workplace changes

What is clear from the data is that many of the flexible options offered by employers during the pandemic are here to stay.

Survey respondents expect flexible work arrangements to continue after the pandemic is over:

  • Hybrid working – 89 per cent
  • Remote working – 81 per cent
  • Job sharing – 93 per cent
  • Flexible start/end times – 92 per cent
  • Compressed work week – 95 per cent

Paid sick time increasing

The number of paid sick days increase 14 per cent from 2020, according to HRPA — rising from 6.9 days in 2020 to 7.9 days in 2021.

And paid sick days helped attract staff – organizations that said they weren’t struggling with recruitment offered an average of 9.6 days, compared to 7.7 for those struggling.



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