Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at research into Gen Z work engagement, what is causing high levels of ‘collaboration drag’, and the issues of a return-to-office mandate on employee retention.

Key news

  • A recent study by London Office Space has unveiled the most popular careers in 2024 in the UK so far, shedding light on the toughest sectors to break into. Leading the list with an average of 5,145.83 Google searches made each month, Data Analyst positions continue to be in high demand due to their critical role in interpreting complex data that drives business decisions across all industries. The list of top 10 job titles also included business analyst, copywriter, and web developer.
  • Meta announced the discontinuation of Workplace, its employee engagement platform. In a strategic move, Meta has named Workvivo by Zoom as its sole preferred migration partner.
  • Apple has announced new accessibility features coming later this year for the iPhone and iPad. The tech giant will add eye-tracking technology to both to help people with physical disabilities, with users able to control their devices by looking at the screen’s front-facing camera and selecting an option by lingering on it.

Commentary news: bettering customer service wait times

A National Audit Office (NAO) report has found that average call waiting times at HMRC have rocketed by more than 350% in five years, with callers on hold for the equivalent of almost 800 years. This significantly delays taxpayers from getting through to advisors to support their important financial queries.

“Embracing digital channels to help customers resolve queries quickly and efficiently online is always a positive development. However, this report demonstrates why it’s crucial not to neglect other channels in the process. HMRC is unique in how it interacts with customers compared to private organisations, and so it is even more important that taxpayers can quickly and easily resolve what are often stressful issues. HMRC must take this report seriously and dramatically change the way taxpayers communicate and interact with the service.”

“HMRC should place equal weight on digitising its communication platforms and supporting more traditional communication methods like call centres. The direct assistance and support call centres can provide, alongside personalised help for customers with complex inquiries, is vital when dealing with personal finances. By doing so, HMRC can ensure that every piece of communication and support on offer strengthens the relationship with its customers, rather than damaging it.”

Andrew Stevens, Principal at Quadient

Despite Low Retention Scores, Gen Z Are Engaged at Work

Contrary to popular belief, Gen Z workers are willing to work hard and are engaged at work – they’re just the most likely to leave as well, according to a new analysis of Qualtrics research.

Three-quarters (74%) of Gen Z workers (up to 27 years old) are engaged at work, and along with millennials are the most motivated to contribute more than is required at work (72%). Most (74%) Gen Z workers will even recommend their company as a great place to work. Yet despite being engaged and motivated, only 40% of Gen Z workers plan to stay with their current company for three or more years. That’s at least 20 points lower than any other generation in the United States.

Older workers are less engaged, with Baby Boomers being the least engaged generation of employees. In fact, despite the recent trend of “quiet quitting,” Gen Z employees are much more likely to be motivated to go above and beyond than Baby Boomers.

With Gen Z predicted to outnumber Baby Boomers in the workplace this year, leaders have to navigate creating an employee experience that understands and addresses a very diverse set of needs and expectations. Organisations able to understand the needs of each generation will have an advantage in attracting talent and retaining high-performing teams.

Despite their desire for work-life balance, young workers are least likely to say that they have the flexibility to meet both work and personal needs. They also report lower levels of well-being, especially when it comes to feeling energised or positive about themselves at work.

84% of Marketers Report Experiencing High ‘Collaboration Drag’ From Cross-Functional Work

Eighty-four percent of marketing leaders and employees report experiencing high levels of ‘collaboration drag’ when working with other functions, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. Collaboration drag occurs when marketing teams experience too many meetings, too much feedback from colleagues and unclear decision-making authority when working cross-functionally.

A Gartner survey of 329 marketing leaders and 78 leaders from other functions between July and August of 2023 also found that organisations with high levels of collaboration drag are 37% less likely to achieve their revenue goals. 

Enterprise Alignment is Insufficient, CMOs Must Invest in Talent

Marketing employees who experience high collaboration drag are 15 times more likely to feel burned out and nine times more likely to plan to leave the company in the next year.

By investing in and developing marketing talent, CMOs can reduce collaboration drag by 23%. CMOs should prioritise developing their teams’ interpersonal influence, critical thinking, technical skills, and using on-the-job learning programs to unlock practical mastery.

Drive Intentional Culture Change to Reduce ‘Nice-To-Have’ Collaboration

CMOs should improve marketing workflows and change management to ease the burden on their teams. Marketing leaders should clarify where the team’s responsibilities for certain projects start and end, empower their team to say “no” to low-priority collaborative work and prioritise their team’s participation in areas where marketing can drive the greatest impact.

One-Third of Executives Given a Return-to-Office Mandate Plan to Leave Their Employer

One in three executives presented with a return-to-office (RTO) obligation reported that they will leave their current employer for that reason, according to Gartner, Inc.

The same Gartner survey of more than 3,500 employees from November 2023 revealed that 19% of non-executives said they would leave their organisation due to an RTO mandate.

A September 2023 Gartner survey of 170 HR leaders found that organisations are increasing on-site requirements:

  • Sixty three percent of respondents reported an increased expectation around employees spending days in the office.
  • Thirty-four percent said a mandated return has already been implemented.
  • Thirteen percent said the consequences for employees not meeting on-site requirements have intensified.

Stemming Employee Attrition

Gartner has identified four best practices for HR leaders seeking to formalise in-office requirements for remote-capable workers while retaining employees and maximising talent and business outcomes: 

  1. Motivate rather than mandate employees back to the office by making them feel capable, autonomous, and connected via their office space and hybrid policy.
  1. Consider focusing employees’ on-site attendance around specific regular activities (e.g., brainstorming) and occasional events (e.g., offsites).
  1. Enable employees to shape their RTO requirements; employees who feel that their needs are considered exhibit higher engagement and work performance.
  1. Provide a clear reason behind requirements for working on-site; employees who understand why their employer wants them to come into the office show greater engagement, discretionary effort and retention.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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