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A new survey from Adobe backs up the latest U.S. jobs report from the federal government: companies still have lots of open positions and employees are still leaving for new jobs. In February, there were 11.3 million open jobs and 4.4 million people quit their jobs with both stats basically unchanged since January.

The Future of Time report from Adobe found that 40% of enterprise managers and 25% of SMB leaders saw increased resignations over the last six months. Workers at small and midsize companies were more likely to apply for a new job than people working at big companies. The survey found that people who left their jobs were most likely to switch to a new industry, start their own business or become a freelancer. More than half of the SMB leaders left to start their own businesses. The survey included 1,400 people from large and small companies as well as managers and workers.

There is still a desire for change among people who didn’t leave their jobs in the last six months. The survey found that one in three managers and workers in this group are thinking about looking for something new in the next year. Half of all Gen Z respondents are considering this with 25% planning to make a move in the next six months.

SEE: Retention woes for cybersecurity professionals at the highest in years

One reason people are unhappy, according to the survey, is the time spent troubleshooting technology. Managers spend about seven hours per week on this task while workers spend five hours.

Todd Gerber, vice president of Adobe Document Cloud, said the hard part is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for companies deciding their path forward for in-person and remote work.

“In our research, nearly 70% of employees cited technology as one of the biggest challenges transiting to hybrid work, including issues like spotty in-office or home WiFi and even setting up programs in general,” he said.

Enterprise and SMB companies should focus on selecting tools that are easy to use and to integrate with their current infrastructure, Gerber said.

“Understanding the most time-consuming manual tasks for employees can help companies adopt the right tools to meet their needs,” he said.

Managers need training on digital tools too

The Adobe survey also asked participants how a manager’s tech-savviness impacted their work day-to-day. Half of all employees at large and small companies said their managers were only somewhat tech savvy, which hurts productivity. One third of employees said they were slowed down by managers not knowing how to use or using outdated hardware and software and not knowing how to edit or collaborate with a file.

SEE: SaaS startup aims to eliminate digital friction and reduce tool overload

Those were the top two problems but a third of respondents also listed these tech challenges that some managers face:

  • Not using or understanding cloud computing software
  • Not knowing how to facilitate or join a virtual meeting
  • Using outdated language to describe hardware and software

The survey also asked about the impact of a tech savvy manager. Gerber said the results to this question were somewhat surprising.

“Employees with tech-savvy managers indicated that they had a harder time focusing while working from home, which may be due to more frequent interactions with their managers through communications platforms,” he said. “It’s clear that there’s still work to be done to optimize how technology and collaboration tools are used so that everyone can thrive in their work environment.”

Return to office is another pain point

There’s also the familiar split on attitudes about returning to the office: 30% of managers are excited about this prospect but only 15% of employees feel that way. The survey also asked about how time is spent during in-person working hours. The results did not make a great case for requiring people to return to the office:

  • 66% of managers spent in-person hours working alone or independently
  • 55% of workers spent in-person hours working alone or independently
  • 31% of managers spent in-person time collaborating with colleagues, clients or partners
  • 42% of workers spent in-person socializing or collaborating with colleagued

The two groups did agree on what would solve some of the current problems with digital tools and workplace frustrations:

  • Flexible work hours
  • Flexible PTO and sick days
  • Upgrading existing technologies

How to understand and cultivate corporate culture

Just as hybrid work strategies require regular assessment and adjustment, building corporate culture requires the same ongoing effort. Deloitte recently published a report about corporate transformation to understand what it takes to design transformation programs effectively. The survey found that 38% of executives cited that a straightforward, compelling “north star” narrative is critical to success. At the same time, half of the survey respondents indicated that their organizations invest between 1% and 5% of annual revenue on transformation programs such as building corporate culture and adapting to change.

Alyson Daichendt, a managing director in the human capital consulting practice, organization transformation at Deloitte, said culture is a shared set of values, principles, assumptions, mental models, decision making and behaviors that show how work gets done in an organization. This means corporate culture is specific to each company.

“Deloitte’s point of view is that when organizational culture is aligned with business strategy, the workforce will act and behave in ways that support the achievement of business goals,” she said.

SEE: Report: Executive buy-in and financial investment are core to successful digital transformations

Daichendt said that company leaders have to understand the base culture of the organization which includes who they are, what they stand for and what the employees feel about the organization that drives the specific culture. That baseline can guide culture building efforts over time. Executives and managers should do this through meetings, sentiment surveys and focus groups.

“A good way to accomplish this is to measure baseline culture with a diagnostic or product that accurately captures [the] sentiment of the current state,” she said. “With these learnings, managers can define ways to support the culture they are looking to achieve and work actively on potential culture derailers.”

Building and maintaining the desired corporate culture is an ongoing task that requires regular care and feeding, Daichendt said.

“When we see mistakes being made in culture efforts, it typically comes from not understanding the organizational feedback and/or putting in place culture ‘interventions’ that might not be working,” she said.

SEE: Study: Women of color are ready for tech work, busting the “pipeline myth”

Senior leaders are collectively responsible for building culture and should regularly share with employees how culture efforts are progressing, what matters for the organization, and what people in the organization must do to own the culture, she said.

“Companies should not attempt to ‘boil an ocean’ with culture transformation efforts, as myriad culture interventions can confuse an organization and lack in truly transforming what is mission critical,” she said.

Edelman Data & Intelligence conducted a 20-minute survey among managers and employees at large companies and small- to medium-size businesses from December 2021 through early January 2022. The survey included 200 managers from both types of businesses and 500 employees from both groups, for a total of 1,400 people.

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