Empower employees, set expectations, and uncomplicate processes and procedures.
Energized employees are more resilient, readier to reskill, and more likely to stay—that's a central message of the 2022 Global Talent Trends Study: The Rise of the Relatable Organization report from asset management firm Mercer. Drawing on insights from nearly 11,000 C-suite executives, HR leaders, and employees, the report reveals that energized workers are three times more supportive of leadership and two times less likely to leave their companies.
There's no question that the transformation organizations have experienced the past two-plus years—including the accelerated adoption of remote work, emerging technologies, and new business models—has taken a toll on workers.
According to the report, the percentage of employees who said they feel energized has dropped from 74 percent in 2019 to 63 percent in 2022, the lowest level in this study's seven-year history. And HR leaders in the study are predicting low energy reserves to continue this year. Forty-five percent expect that their organization's workforce will have just enough energy for their work but not to go above and beyond, and one-quarter forecast even less energy across the board.
That's a problem, Mercer predicts. The study reveals that nearly all companies are planning enterprise-wide transformation this year, but C-suite executives acknowledge that employee exhaustion is a top barrier to driving those changes.
"With energy levels at critically low levels, there is a collective fatigue that is impacting productivity," says Kate Bravery, report author and global leader of advisory solutions and insights for Mercer. "This requires a rescripting of the work experience."
Employees in the study cite organizational complexity as a key barrier to transforming and business growth. Mercer points out that as businesses pursue changes, they need to rethink the employee experience with an eye toward energy. And Mercer's analysis confirms that bureaucracy, inefficient technology, siloed working, and teams cut too lean to keep up with demand sap employee energy.
To replenish employees' energy, Mercer advises organizations to empower employees and have leaders share some of the control, reduce complexity of processes and procedures, clarify expectations, and be honest about workload.