Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

62 INTERVIEW The truth behind employee expectations Using AI in HR practices can significantly improve employee engagement and meet evolving workplace expectations, says isolved’s Opal Wagnac Business leaders are worried about the widening gap between employer and employee expectations, exemplified by the number of workers planning to quit their job within 12 months having increased by 19 per cent in PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2023. However, Opal Wagnac, senior vice president of market and product strategy at isolved, asserts that while it may seem like employee expectations – such as views on flexible working hours or remote work opportunities – are spiralling, the reality is quite different. “It may appear that employee expectations are out of control, but our recent human resources (HR) leaders report showed this isn’t the case,” she says. “We surveyed over 1,000 HR decision makers and 76 per cent say that employee expectations are not out of control because they think employees deserve a good experience at work.” According to Wagnac, to deliver a good work experience, organisations must focus on improving employee engagement. “For a long time, people talked about employee engagement as something companies do but they haven’t measured the impact it has on other areas of the business,” she says. “A good work experience shows up in business outcomes like improved profitability, productivity and innovation. However, if people are tired and frustrated, these outcomes will take a hit.” Wagnac explains that employees now want their work experiences to reflect their personal experiences. “As consumers, we interact with technology all the time outside of work, and we expect to do the same as employees too,” she says. “We live like the Jetsons, but we work like the Flintstones. If you’re used to a world where technology can provide you with answers quickly but you have to find them yourself at work, it’s bound to cause you some unhappiness in your job.” isolved’s fourth annual HR Leaders Report, Champions of Change, supports this with 90 per cent of employees saying that the experience they have at work will directly impact how they choose to work. One way organisations can improve employee experience is by encouraging professional development. “From the onboarding process, employees should be presented with a curriculum of training materials,” says Wagnac. “Our report found that 58 per cent of employees look for a new role within a year, so retaining talent is a top priority for many businesses. Often, people assume that someone wants to be in their manager’s shoes but that’s not always the case. Artificial intelligencepowered tools can help managers to understand employee intent and cultivate the skills they need for their dream BY ALICE CHAMBERS “ We live like the Jetsons, but we work like the Flintstones”