The past year has been tough enough for business administration workers and professionals. The period ahead could be even more challenging, though it also opens up opportunities to forge a more motivated, productive, and satisfied workforce.
Our new Randstad Employer Brand Research business and administration professions report highlights both the possibilities ahead, and the uncertainty and insecurity felt by much of the workforce.
contrasting work-from-home experiences for business administration professionals
Work-life balance sits alongside salary and benefits as the most important employee value proposition (EVP) factors when choosing an ideal employer among business administrators.
Many people have found remote working liberating by giving them greater control over how they manage their time and do their work. However, others have struggled to balance personal and professional demands, especially if they are looking after children or older relatives at home. Many have also faced increased levels of stress, along with a growing sense of detachment from their organisations.
Taking the positives from the recent experience of remote working and flexible work options, while addressing the challenges, will be critical in making a success of the move to hybrid working.
increasing focus on job security
The third most important factor business administration professionals seek in an ideal organisation is job security. It is not uncommon for this EVP factor to increase in value in times of economic crisis.
But for business administration talent, there are additional concerns about the impact of automation and digitisation in the workforce transformation. While some jobs will disappear, there are also opportunities to create new work, eliminate the drudgery in administrative work, and allow people to pursue more fulfilling careers.
The importance of keeping pace with change is reflected in the high priority for career progression and training among business administrators. Indeed, there is research to suggest that they may be more adaptable and eager to retrain than managers often assume.
priorities for action to prepare business administrative professionals for the future
How then can your organisation best support your business and administration workforce, while preparing them for the future? From analysis of the findings and their implications, four priorities for action stand out.
1. tackle insecurity
The fear of losing jobs is not just bad for your employee’s well-being, it can also erode the confidence, adaptability, and willingness to innovate.
It’s hence important for the employer to make clear about what’s coming as a result of hybrid working and technological change, the implications for different employees, and how they can boost their employability through upskilling and re-skilling efforts.
A key part of this is promoting the benefits of technology more effectively. Use of the latest technology is near the bottom of what makes an employer attractive among the business administrative talent we surveyed. To change the mindset among them, employers need to step up to stress the positives such as taking care of routine work and enabling them to make more productive use of their time.
Further possibilities include raising the status of business administration and breaking down the barriers with client-facing teams. One way is to project and portray business administrators as high-value work enablers of the day-to-day functions of a business rather than just a series of support functions.
2. strengthen work-life balance
Work-life balance is more than just flexible working, as important as this can be. Bridget McEwan, Vice President at Randstad Enterprise Group, believes that work-life is now more of a blend than a balance, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The priority is blending all aspects of your life to ensure the right balance, both personally and professionally. This includes creating a strong sense of community and purpose within the organization to help bring greater meaning and enjoyment to people’s time at work,” McEwan said.
As a result, forward-looking businesses are giving staff greater autonomy over how they achieve their objectives. That builds trust on both sides – you can’t oversee your people in the way you did before, but as a manager, you can still guide, encourage, and support your team.
In a fast-paced work environment and ever-changing workplace, learning how to manage and motivate a more dispersed workforce is going to be one of the most important skills in this new world of hybrid work.
3. take your people with you
Engagement, dialogue, and caring for employees are more critical than ever. Our research highlights the extent to which allegiance to employers depends on how supported employees have felt during the upheaval of the past year. This isn’t just the technology needed to work well remotely, but also support for well-being and sustaining a sense of connection and belonging within your workforce.
Encouragingly, our research shows that most business administration managers have got this right. More than two-thirds of respondents working in these fields feel more loyal to their employers as a result of the support they’ve received during the pandemic.
The organisational commitment of the employees is an important component of workplace success. This level of care and support provides an authentic demonstration of your values, culture, and ability to look after your employees, which will directly impact your employer brand.
4. reinforce your purpose
‘Use of the latest technology’ and ‘giving back to society’ is near the bottom of the list of what makes an employer attractive to business administration talent. But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t important to talent management in the mid-to long term.
The business and administrative sector is currently low on the list of sectors that respondents in the Randstad Employer Brand Research want to work in. Offering greater meaning to the work would help to boost its attractiveness and build confidence in the industry.
HR leaders should take note of what their talent needs and understand the top priorities of their future workforce to strengthen their ability to attract and retain good talent.
download the global business and administration professionals 2021 employer brand report.
Our new Randstad Employer Brand Research administrative and support services professions report reveals how these experiences will shape talent sentiment for many years to come.
To find out more about what business & administration talent wants, download the latest Randstad Employer Brand Research global business & administration professions report.
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