New Paychex Research Shows Growing Importance of Technology and Training To Support Remote and Hybrid Workers
By Samantha Jean
Annual Paychex Pulse of HR Report reveals challenges and opportunities for HR leaders and their companies as they navigate today’s business and hiring environment
The 2022 Paychex Pulse of HR Report provides a comprehensive, in-depth look at how HR leaders are adapting to support their employees in a new era of work. The sixth annual report from Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management software solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services, shows that only 15% of companies have staff working exclusively on-site, reflecting the growing emphasis on remote and hybrid work.
The survey of 1,000 HR leaders across the U.S. reveals that as more teams are dispersed and adopt flexible schedules, HR professionals believe tools and more opportunities for training and career development are essential to supporting remote/hybrid employees and managers, including:
- Technology to support communication around goal setting, career advancement, and development between employees and managers (45%)
- Employee training/skill building (41%)
- Training for managers to support employee career advancement/development (35%)
“The current environment has redefined the priorities of an HR professional, forcing them to adapt at lightning speed,” said Alison Stevens, director of HR Services, Paychex. “With the right tools and peer insights, HR professionals can respond to what matters most to their workforce, deliver on what they need to be happy and engaged, and create a workplace – no matter where they’re working from – that benefits their employees and their business.”
Saving Time with HR Technology
HR technology tools have helped HR professionals streamline tasks and manage new and ongoing responsibilities more efficiently, helping to alleviate some of this burden of managing remote work. The research shows:
- Half of all HR professionals surveyed said that HR software/technology has helped boost their company efficiency
- Close to 40% of HR leaders say HR software/technology has made it easier to manage payroll and benefits administration
Tracking staff hours worked is now the most time-consuming task for HR professionals and their teams. That activity was cited by 25% of respondents and ranked just ahead of compliance and data management, which have topped the list of most time-consuming tasks in previous years.
Finding, Onboarding, and Retaining Talent
Despite their importance, hiring, onboarding, and retention were identified by half of respondents as the least effective HR activities in their organizations. When asked to share the tactics that are currently working best to increase the number of job applicants, using third-party job sites (33%), employee referrals (33%), hiring remote workers (31%), and emphasizing diversity (31%) topped the list.
The most effective ways to encourage candidates to accept job offers according to the survey included the following:
- Offering higher pay (36%)
- Providing remote and flexible work (34%)
- Emphasizing company culture (30%)
- Making offers quickly (29%)
The top strategies for retaining employees are similar to the ones used to encourage candidates to accept offers: offering flexible hours and remote work (41%) and increasing compensation (36%). Other ways to increase employee retention include focusing on employee engagement, stated by 35% of respondents, demonstrating a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at 31%, and providing pay transparency and holding “stay” interviews to learn about employees’ needs and aspirations, both cited by 27% of all respondents.
Making Hybrid and Remote Plans Work
Four in ten HR leaders see the benefit of remote work saying that it improves employee emotional, physical, and financial well-being, boosts retention, enhances quality of work, and increases productivity.
Steps and approaches to support remote or hybrid employees include:
- Implementing a system to plan and track scheduled manager/employee meetings to ensure consistency among remote and on-site employees (41%)
- Using technology to optimize remote employee productivity (39%)
- Providing a secure method for employees to receive confidential answers to HR questions (37%)
Supporting Employee Well-being and Increasing Concern About Burnout
Sixty percent of HR leaders are concerned about employee burnout, up 18% from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Strategies for supporting employee well-being and alleviating employee burnout include providing flexible work schedules (41%), emphasizing work/life balance as part of company culture (31%), and encouraging managers to create clear job descriptions and expectations to make work feel manageable (29%).
HR Leaders Are Focusing on Employee Engagement
To successfully engage their employees, HR professionals need to track what’s most important to their workforce and work to continuously address their needs. Regularly surveying employees about job satisfaction serves as the top strategy for fostering engagement at 41%. Offering job and leadership skills training, and encouraging more communication between employees and managers represent the next two most effective approaches for cultivating employee engagement at 37% and 36%, respectively.
Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Four in ten HR leaders are incorporating DEI into employee hiring and management; the same number are committed to pay equity through more compensation transparency. Seventy-one percent of HR professionals are taking at least one of the following approaches: offering bias and other DEI-related training (33%), ensuring that vendors and partners have a proven commitment to DEI (33%), making DEI guidelines and documents easily accessible to employees (30%), and getting help from an HR or DEI consultant to create a plan (28%).
For more insights, please view the full research report. To learn more about the report’s findings, stop by the Paychex booth (#2850) at the 2022 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition, June 12-15, in New Orleans.
The 2022 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey was conducted via an online survey from April 15 - May 6, 2022, among 1,000 HR decision-makers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. It is the sixth in an annual series of benchmark surveys investigating HR leaders’ challenges, priorities, and use of technology.
 Among respondents with 50-500 employees.
Paychex, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management software solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by 50 years of industry expertise, Paychex served more than 710,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2021 in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting paychex.com and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.