January 18, 2022

beware of “exhausted human capital” in business!

By Philippe Guerrier | the | Motivation & engagement

According to an OpinionWay / Microsoft France study, 49% of employees have “less qualms about applying elsewhere”. Companies must think about retention levers, according to Nadine Yahchouchi, Director of the Microsoft 365 entity at Microsoft France.

Covid-19 crisis: work in hybrid mode, a key issue for companies according to Microsoft – © DR

Corporate loyalty is being severely tested with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Talent retention becomes complicated while upstream, the recruitment process is tense. A OpinionWay study for Microsoft France evokes a “running out of capital”.

Nadine Yahchouchi, Director of the Microsoft 365 entity at Microsoft France - © DR
Nadine Yahchouchi, Director of the Microsoft 365 entity at Microsoft France – © DR

“There are a lot of challenges in business around the retention and recruitment of talent. With this study, we sought to determine why assets leave their company, but especially the levers that encourage employees to stay ”, evokes Nadine Yahchouchi, director of the Microsoft 365 entity at Microsoft France.

Among the solutions considered to retain the most competent employees, the publisher of productivity and collaborative software (known for its range of solutions in the cloud such as Office 365 or Microsoft Teams) believes that companies must play on three sources: flexibility, social bond and strong values.

Among the main lessons of the study, several indicators should be monitored on opinion on work since the health crisis:

  • 56% of employees surveyed admit “being afraid to leave their business”,
  • 49 % of them admit that they would have “less qualms about applying elsewhere”,
  • 45 % of respondents consider that they have “fewer reasons to want to stay in the current company”,
  • 44 % consider that they “like their work less”.
OpinionWay / Microsoft France study: opinion on work since the health crisis (November 2021) - © DR
OpinionWay / Microsoft France study: opinion on work since the health crisis (November 2021) – © DR

The desire for other horizons is even stronger among those under 35: 55% plan to send their CV to other companies since the health crisis.

Enough to give grain to grind to the praise of “The Great Resignation” (The Great Resignation) in connection with a resounding article published in October 2021 in the American magazine The Atlantic. He evokes a great temptation to leave his post, to change companies or even to change his life as a side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the labor market.

“Real capital which has run out between French workers and companies”

Is this trend materializing on the side of France? For businesses, the stakes are high.

“I think there is real capital that has run out between French workers and companies. There is a difference between companies which have been able to be proactive in their transformation, and in particular in supporting hybrid work and the way of recreating social ties between employees, and those which have difficulty embracing this digital transformation ”, comments Nadine Yahchouchi, director of the Microsoft 365 entity at Microsoft France.

It is necessary to go back to the source of the motivations which aroused the desire to join a company beyond the criterion of the proposed level of remuneration which remains a (or the) key decision driver.

OpinionWay / Microsoft France study: the reasons for joining a company (November 2021) - © DR
OpinionWay / Microsoft France study: the reasons for joining a company (November 2021) – © DR
  • 74 % of respondents indicate having joined a company because of the position offered and first of all put forward job security with a permanent contract,
  • 47 % consider that the work environment is important, in particular the atmosphere that reigns there,
  • 44 % mentions that they have joined a company taking into account its image (reputation, development prospects, financial health, value, etc.),
  • 13 % admit that employee benefits were important criteria (meal vouchers, possibility of travel, etc.).

“The employer brand is the value of a company in retaining the employee, apart from the salary”

Nadine Yahchouchi lists the different issues exposed through this study:

  • “Have companies been able to provide their employees with digital tools that promote remote collaboration and to what extent have they been able to support them in this trend towards hybrid work? “
  • “How to promote the social bond between collaborators in this new hybrid work configuration?” The fact of going to the office should serve to develop their intellectual capacities on an individual basis but to improve the quality of the links and the exchanges between the collaborators. In a hybrid work configuration, the provision of digital tools promotes the setting up of highly operational remote meetings. “
  • “There is also an aspirational dimension: how to give back meaning to work, for example by removing the arduousness of certain recurrent or low value-added tasks, and determine the place of work in life? “
OpinionWay / Microsoft France study: attachment to corporate culture (November 2021) - © DR
OpinionWay / Microsoft France study: attachment to corporate culture (November 2021) – © DR

In the OpinionWay study for Microsoft France, the degree of employee attachment was assessed:

  • 85 % believe that the values ​​of the company (social, political, environmental, etc.) are important,
  • 83 % emphasize the atmosphere in the workplace, – 80% highlight the company’s brand in the labor market.

“The employer brand is the value of a company in retaining the employee, apart from the salary. It is difficult to generate loyalty from the sole criterion of remuneration. Post-crisis, the salary is necessary but more sufficient to attract and retain talent. Today, the values ​​of the company, the working atmosphere and the ability to offer flexibility of place or working hours are becoming critical in the professional choice of the French ”, according to the director of the Microsoft 365 entity of Microsoft France.

The retention battle is not lost if businesses “scale”

Faced with these existential doubts, Microsoft considers that the development of hybrid work and the spring of innovation can be used to retain talent.

“The corporate culture is not called into question but it must be reinvented in a volatile and changing world”, considers Nadine Yahchouchi.

“It’s about seeing how she can express herself differently and how to capitalize on it. How to design innovation to engage employees more? It can serve as a lever for continuing education or skills development for the professions of tomorrow and also as a channel for the rapid dissemination of information. This is for example the vocation of our Viva Connection module on Microsoft Teams so that information is shared as quickly as possible within companies. “

The OpinionWay study for Microsoft France also shows that the retention battle is not lost if companies “evolve” in a post-pandemic period to meet “new expectations”.

OpinionWay / Microsoft France study (November 2021): wish for the professional future - © DR
OpinionWay / Microsoft France study (November 2021): wish for the professional future – © DR

83% of respondents consider that they would be inclined to pursue their professional career in the companies which employ them. But, in this block it is necessary to qualify the expectations:

  • 40 % of respondents are ready to stay in this configuration without compensation,
  • 43 % expect change to better meet their expectations,

In parallel, 16 % clearly express their desire to resign.

This table to analyze the level of motivation should arouse the interest of decision-makers. Especially since the study was carried out just before the epidemic resumption of December 2021. The worsening of the health situation marks the spirits and further undermines morale.

Here again, Microsoft considers that the transformation of the organization, which involves flexibility and working methods in hybrid mode, should mobilize up to the level of top management.

“I think that the recruitment and retention of talent have become issues for the executive committees, and no longer just for HRDs,” comments Nadine Yahchouchi.

“The agility that companies face is the product of their talents, their managerial strength and their ability to train. This is the promise of HR tech, and it will only be delivered through close collaboration between all executive members, as well as strong change management. “

Methodology: main benchmarks

• The study was conducted by the Opinion Way institute for Microsoft France with a sample of 1045 private sector employees representative of the active French population.
• The sample was drawn up according to the quota method, with regard to criteria of sex, age, socio-professional category, region of residence, sector of activity and size of company.
• The interviews were carried out from November 17 to 24, 2021.