MindEdge and HRCI Study More Flexibility and Higher Pay Are the “New Normal” for the American Workplace

Third annual study finds organizations must cope with high turnover and increasing employee burnout

Post-pandemic American workplaces are still returning to the “new normal.” Organizations must cope with higher-than-average turnover and high levels of employee burnout, according to the latest collaborative survey from MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

The online survey, HR and the Changing Workplace, received responses from more than 1,000 HRCI-certified Human Resources professionals. Two-of-three (67%) respondents indicated their workplaces are at least “mostly back to normal” – with those who work in Manufacturing (80%) and Education (76%) most likely to say that normalcy has returned.

The survey results also clearly indicated that for most organizations, “normal” does not necessarily mean “the same.” Only 22% of respondents said that “almost everything is like it was before the pandemic,” while 33% reported that conditions at their organizations are fairly different or extremely different from the pre-pandemic norm.

For many organizations, this “new normal” entails a hybrid work schedule: 78% of respondents said their organization allows employees to work remotely at least part of the time. And a majority (52%) of these HR professionals indicated their organization is conducting HR functions remotely all or most of the time.

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Respondents seem fairly happy with their post-pandemic work arrangements. Two-of-five (42%) shared that conditions at their organization are better than they were before the pandemic, while only 20% noted that conditions are worse. Another 38% said that conditions are basically the same as they were before the pandemic.

The perception that conditions are better than before is much higher among those who work remotely at least some of the time (49%) than among those who do not work remotely (24%).

Employee turnover remains high

What is not back to normal is employee retention. Fully 67% of these HR professionals noted that turnover at their organization is higher than before the pandemic, including 25% who indicated that turnover rates are much higher. In the 2021 MindEdge/HRCI survey, 54% of respondents reported that turnover was higher than before the pandemic.

Turnover is particularly high in the Education (76%) and Healthcare (74%) sectors.

Coping with this turnover is not an easy task: fully 82% of HR professionals shared that finding replacements for departing workers is difficult, including 26% who said that finding new workers is very difficult.

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High turnover is being driven primarily by the large number of employees who are accepting better offers from other organizations: 68% of respondents identify the stiff competition for talent as a serious problem for their organization. Other significant problems contributing to high turnover include employee burnout (48%) and the departure of younger workers who are dissatisfied with traditional work arrangements (41%).

Competition from other organizations is a particular problem in the Technology sector (76%). Burnout is an especially acute problem in the Retail (71%) and Healthcare (70%) sectors.

Overall, more than four-of-five (82%) respondents indicated they have seen an increase in employee burnout at their organization, including 28% who reported a major increase. These figures are consistent with the results of our 2021 survey, which found 80% of respondents reporting an increase in employee burnout.

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