Slightly more than one third (36 per cent) of U.S. employers said they’re giving employees a choice about coming into the office, up from 15 per cent at the end of 2020, according to an annual year-end survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
The survey, which polled 182 human resources executives across the U.S., found just 26 per cent have already brought all employees back to the office, while 13 per cent are making other arrangements, such as hybrid options or location-based decisions.
“Employers are very concerned about an exodus of talent and ability to hire,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice-president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a press release. “Many are modifying roles and auditing positions to eliminate roadblocks that may cause hiring managers to miss talent. This includes allowing flexible schedules and remote work.”
The survey also found 68 per cent of respondents are planning to hire in 2022, up significantly from 28 per cent in 2021. Additionally, 12 per cent said they’re experiencing a skills shortage, double the six per cent that said the same at the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, employers looking to reward current employees with a year-end party are taking a mixed approach during the second holiday season since the coronavirus pandemic was first declared. Just five per cent of respondents said they’ll hold holiday parties in-person without any precautions, up from just over one per cent in 2020. Another seven per cent said they’ll hold virtual events this year, down from 17 per cent that reported the same in 2020.
Eight per cent said they’re having in-person parties but modifying them due to the ongoing pandemic, up from four per cent last year. However, among employers that are modifying their events, 62 per cent said they’re unsure about the modifications. Overall, about 35 per cent of respondents said they won’t hold a holiday party this year, down from the 55 per cent that said they weren’t holding any kind of event, even virtual, in 2020.
“There appears to be even more uncertainty surrounding company parties this year than last,” said Challenger. “Most companies simply cancelled the event in 2020, likely hoping it would be a one-year issue. Now that we’re entering the second pandemic holiday season, companies want to celebrate and connect their teams, but are not quite sure how to do it.”