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Understanding trends can help you support staff

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Workplace buzzwords that are constantly popping up can often highlight issues that employees are having. By taking the time to understand these issues, you can look after the wellbeing of workers more easily.

Melissa Bowden, Workday APAC and Japan’s senior HR director, discussed how important it is to get a grasp of workplace trends and use them to your advantage.

One of the top workplace trends of 2022, quiet quitting saw employees burnt out and reflecting this in their work. By understanding this problem, employers can help reduce the complications.


“The quiet quitting that we’ve all heard about. And what it’s done, it’s really increased the awareness of our employee wellbeing, and that’s critically important. And so we know that if employees are feeling well, they’re going to perform well. It’s a direct correlation,” explained Ms Bowden.

According to Ms Bowden, the pandemic brought physical and mental health to the forefront of discussion.

“If I think back to pre-pandemic, it was the quietly not-so-spoken thing, mental health, whereas the pandemic has brought it to the forefront of conversation. And it’s one of those things that I’m really happy about in terms of it’s creating awareness and education,” she said.

“It’s enabling organisations to think about how they are providing services and support.”

Another increasingly trending topic is artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. The rise of ChatGPT and similar AI has been the centre of discussion lately and has the potential to negatively affect workers as anxiety about the longevity of their careers weighs in.

Ms Bowden commented: “We know that the simplification of processes, a reduction of manual work is then requiring us to think about how do we skill up our workforce to complement what’s happening there.”

According to Ms Bowden, it’s important for employers to reduce this worry and invest in their employees by upskilling and reskilling them.

“So yes, we’re taking away the manual tasks, but you’re now needing skills to be able to then think about, well, what is that information now giving us because we are reducing that time spent? So, there’s this reskilling component to it,” said Ms Bowden.

Importantly, Ms Bowden believes that listening to the concerns of employees is what will help them through difficult times. This can be achieved through the use of technology.

“An employee listening tool is critically important. And even more so if it’s live … Peakon is our employee listening tool; it’s real time. Every Friday, our workmates, globally 17,000, get about five questions to ask. And we know that it’s coming, so you just fill it in. And it ranges through a whole different diversity of questions that come through,” Ms Bowden said.

“It gives management and HR real-life data around sentiment, how people are feeling. We look at engagement score, we look at diversity and inclusion and belonging scores. We look at it against our values. We look at it against health and wellbeing. This data is critical for me to be able to plan and look at how do we best support our workmates.”

Keeping up with emerging trends and listening to the concerns of your workforce will help to provide the assistance needed for an organisation to thrive.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Melissa Bowden on 12 April is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.


Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.