At the start of 2022, everyone expected the world of work to return to normalcy. Organisations made the dramatic shift to an everywhere workplace model with surprising success and even as many people moved closer to pre-pandemic working in 2022, it became much clearer that work and workplace as we knew it will never be the same again. As work-from-home (WFH) and hybrid working models became the new normal way of working, the year 2022 grappled with new challenges like Great Resignation, Great Reshuffle, Moonlighting, Quiet Quitting, and Quiet Firing.
For businesses that hoped to just go back to the way things were, there is no way to put this genie back in the bottle. Industry experts believe that there’s unlikely to be any letup this coming year. The tug-of-war between employers and employees for flexibility is still raging and competition for talent is bound to intensify.
For a better understanding of how the industry has changed in the past year and where it’s headed, we’ve compiled the most-read articles we published this year for our readers.
Moonlighting: Foul or Fair?
1. How ‘Moonlighting’ Has Split The Business of Managing People Right Down The Middle
Moonlighting became the most-talked-about trend this year. It is the practice of taking up a second job or multiple other work assignments, typically without the employer’s knowledge. A survey, conducted by Kotak Institutional Equities covering the IT and ITeS space, revealed that 65% of those surveyed knew of people pursuing part-time opportunities or ‘moonlighting’ while working from home. The gig economy only pushed the phenomena as young workers who work night shifts in the BPO industry suddenly figured they have a lot of time during the day, to deliver parcels for instance. Everybody loves the extra bucks!!
Business leaders of big companies seem to be divided about this practice. Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji called this practice cheating and other leaders like N Ganapathy Subramaniam, CEO, TCS, described it as an “ethical issue”. In September, Wipro sacked around 300 employees for ‘moonlighting’.
2. At Sabre Corporation, Employee Engagement Activities Solve Critical Business Problems
However, companies like Swiggy rolled out a ‘Moonlighting policy’ for its employees that allowed the employees to work other jobs outside office hours or on the weekend. Even Infosys has allowed its employees to take side jobs beyond their primary work with the prior consent of managers provided it does not pose a conflict of interest. In fact, Infosys too drafted a policy for the same albeit with many conditions.
Rency Mathew, People Leader, South Asia, Global Capability Center, Sabre Corporation believes moonlighting may become a common norm in the coming years, with corporates requesting the government to frame guidelines around dual employment and different employment contracts.
One of the major reasons for moonlighting is the shortage of skilled workforce in the country. According to PwC’s India Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022, “India is one of the countries with a huge perceived gap in skills, with 54 percent of employees strongly or moderately agreeing that India faces a shortage of their skill sets and 67 percent believing that their job requires specialist training. At present, employers are seen as addressing skill shortages through wage increases, recruitment and automation, with fewer using up-skilling as a strategic lever.” This has given people the opportunity to continue to seek side gigs amid the demand for tech skills.
The Value of DE&I in the Workplace
3. Marico’s Newly Founded Inclusion & Diversity Council to Increase Gender Diversity to 30 Percent
Promoting a culture of inclusion was nearly on every organisation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) agenda in 2022. Companies learned what younger generations want from their workplaces. Amit Prakash, CHRO, Marico Limited gave insights into the consumer goods giant’s efforts of becoming an employer of choice — from establishing an Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) council to making all the policies gender-neutral to extending same-sex partner benefits and offering a bouquet of reimbursement benefits for ‘new parents’ to revamping Talent Value Proposition — to further accelerate the company’s diversity agenda.
From “The Great Resignation” to “The Great Reshuffle” to “Great Return”: An Uphill Battle
4. The Great Resignation May Continue or Get Worse, but There is a Silver Lining: Puja Agarwal, Happiest Minds Technologies
The term “Great Resignation” was coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, US in 2021 when organisations started seeing a spike in resignations. For the most part, the pandemic was to blame – as people got a taste of flexible remote work, they realised they wanted more autonomy over their work life. Traditional companies paid the price for rejecting that notion with the “Great Resignation”.
As per the Everywhere Workplace Report released by Ivanti in March 2022, 42% of the respondents preferred a hybrid model of work and only 13% said that they wanted to work in the office full-time.
With the Great Resignation, companies faced the loss of many skilled workers as employees were leaving the organisation faster than they could be replaced. But as the year neared its end, many surveys showed that most of the workers who quit on impulse now regretted their decision and the “Great Resignation” started to spawn the “Great Regret”. Puja Rungta Agarwal, Associate Director – People Practice, Happiest Minds Technologies looked at this as an opportunity for employers to build a culture of empathy and strengthen their relationship with employees by fostering meaningful connections and converting “The Great Resignation” to “The Great Return”.
5. We Expect Even Better Offer-To-Joining Ratio with the New Boundaryless Workplace Model: Ashish Kumar Singh, Meesho
While talking to ATT Magazine, Ashish Kumar Singh, Chief Human Resources Officer, Meesho revealed how attracting talent through salary jumps only offers temporary gratification while real talent pull lies in the kind of experiences, autonomy, and opportunities being provided to the employees. The “Great Reshuffle” movement enabled people to shift their career path where they gradually discovered jobs that aligned more with their values and offered work arrangements and perks that suited their preferences.
6. How Coverfox’s Talent-first Strategy Helped It Come Out Of A Crisis
This ‘new reality’ post Great Resignation encouraged many organisations to navigate talent acquisition differently and focus on work-life balance and flexibility above everything else. For instance, Coverfox’s entire founding and leadership team, including the then CEO and CTO, walked out to join a competitor and employees resigned almost on a daily basis. However, the company was able to return the business to a sustainable growth trajectory and most of that success came from the company’s effective talent strategy.
“War for talent is ongoing. It always has been so. You cannot stop talent from joining competitors or anyone by pieces of legalities alone. It sounds cliched or probably theatrical but talent stays where it is valued, where it gets the opportunity to grow beyond boundaries and where it respects the leaders,” emphasised Sanjib Jha, CEO, Coverfox.
7. Assessment Tools Help When Organisations Need to Double Down During an Economic Crisis: Mayank Kumar, upGrad
“The Great Resignation” and “The Great Reshuffle” led to the realisation that employee turnover is costlier than you might think. A focus on continued learning and employee development became a priority.
In an interview with All Things Talent Mayank Kumar, Co-founder & MD, upGrad explained how “Assessments” play a crucial role in crafting employee experience and growth; and what it means to drive meaningful career outcomes and LifeLongLearning. “Assessment tools leading to efficient hiring do help when organisations need to double down during an economic crisis. The right person in the right job can make all the difference with the person contributing positively to the organisation in crisis,” opines Mayank Kumar.
Quiet Quitting Triggered Debate on Employee Engagement
8. EY GDS’ Assessment Strategy Goes Beyond Just Recruitment; Sreesukhi Sudarshan Explains How
“Quiet Quitting” became a buzzword in July 2022 when Zaid Khan, a twenty-something engineer, posted a TikTok of himself saying “I recently learned about this term called quiet quitting, where you’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond.” This trend of doing the bare minimum at work spread like a wildfire.
According to Gallup, “quiet quitters” account for at least 50% of the workforce in the US – probably more. It’s possible that the trend of “quiet quitting” where people just complete their assigned tasks without going above and beyond – could get worse.
Lack of engagement and not being heard and acknowledged are the key indicators of quiet quitting. “When it comes to understanding the pulse of the people within the organisation, assessment is the only way to find out how they feel about being a part of your organisation,” retorts Sreesukhi Sudarshan, EY GDS Global Leader Talent Attraction and Acquisition.
9. Publicis Sapient’ TA Head On Double-Digit Growth in India, Capitalising on Tech Talent in Tier II Cities
The concept of “Quiet or Silent Quitting” is not new, but the term gained new relevance in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. With a significant drop in employee engagement and employer satisfaction, the trend was an outcome of the great resignation. Only 21 percent of the workforce was actively engaged at work, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report.
As working from home and hybrid working became the new norm during the Covid-19 pandemic, Atul Sahgal – Head, Talent Acquisition, India & APAC, Publicis Sapient advised that companies needed to invest in having a rock-solid talent hiring, upskilling, and retaining strategy to engage high-calibre talent. Managers, among others, saw the biggest decline. It is evident that quiet quitting is a sign of ineffective management.
Industry experts believe that quiet quitting can in fact be even more detrimental than the Great Resignation, despite the fact that its impact on organisational operations may be less obvious.
10. 5G Adoption To Herald A High Tide Of Jobs In India
Last year, India wrapped up its biggest-ever auction of telecom spectrum after receiving a mammoth Rs 1.5 trillion, or around $19 billion, of bids. It goes without saying that this evolution of technology will also see a demand for a skilled workforce which is already being felt. As per an Indeed report, telecommunications and 5G tech jobs have increased by 33.7% between September 2021 and 2022. The article gives a quick look at what 5G searches on Naukri.com’s website yielded.
Quiet Firing: Who is at loss?
After the recent media uproar over the phenomenon of “silent resigning,” a new term has emerged: “quiet firing.” Instead of directly laying off employees, employers treat their staff in a way that pushes them to leave on their own. For instance, pay cuts, demotion, assigning unimportant tasks, forcing to relocate, ghosting, etc. Or, even worse, they are just “forgotten.”
In India, after a robust hiring spree in the last one-and-a-half years, the IT industry has started to reduce its headcount through silent firing. According to an Economic Times report, established players like Wipro, Infosys, and Tech Mahindra, reportedly revoked employment letters of students after postponing their joinings by nearly three-four months.
In the long term, practices like these can cause a ripple effect of hostility and have a major impact on a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent.
A lot has changed in two years and there is no going back. As we begin our fourth year of living with Covid-19, we have to get comfortable with the idea that work will continue to be uncomfortable in many ways. “A downturn does not last forever and organisations that maintain a positive employer brand enjoy a clear strategic advantage in attracting the best of talent when the economy picks up again,” explains Mayank Kumar, Co-founder & MD, upGrad.
Although the future is uncertain, what we know for sure is our workplaces will continue to evolve in 2023.