Discontent employees listening to a presentation.
Image: Andrey Popov/Adobe Stock

Business leaders have been warned of a potential exodus of talent in 2023, with a new report finding that more than eight in 10 employees are planning to find a new job this year .

A global survey of 750 professionals by HR software company Leapsome found that 82% of full-time employees plan to change jobs in the next 12 months, with nearly half (46%) planning to do so within the next six months. Of those employees planning to quit, 77% cited their company’s performance review process as a major contributing factor, with compensation and benefits (76%) and work-life balance (74%) also ranking highly.

Leapsome’s 2023 State of People Enablement Survey Report included responses from 375 HR leaders and 375 full-time employees at companies in the U.S., Germany and throughout Europe. It found that ongoing economic uncertainties and job market turbulence were having little effect on employees’ determination to seek out more rewarding roles that offer better pay, more flexibility and the opportunity to develop their skills.

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A stark disconnect between HR and employee perspectives

The report identified a problematic disconnect between HR and employee perspectives in regards to job engagement: While 95% of HR leaders surveyed believed that workers were at least somewhat engaged, almost two-thirds (64%) of employees reported being somewhat disengaged with their work. In fact, just 36% of employees said they were engaged at work — presenting a significant retention challenge for HR and business leaders in the year ahead.

SEE: LinkedIn: How to retain employees as hiring rates dip (TechRepublic)

Transparency seems particularly problematic at a time when a number of high-profile companies have axed large swathes of their workforces as part of cost-saving efforts .

Leapsome identified a significant gap in perception when it quizzed survey participants about layoffs at their respective companies: 45% of HR leaders claimed there were no plans for layoffs at their company in the coming months, compared to just 19% of employees that believed this.

“A worrying sign for many decision makers”

Despite the fact that both HR leaders (91%) and employees (71%) felt their companies were well-positioned to weather the macroeconomic storm, Kajetan Armansperg, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Leapsome, said the high levels of disengagement and disconnect reported by employees posed “a worrying sign for many decision makers” in 2023.

“After years of abundance, the current phase of change is a new challenge for business leaders,” Armansperg said. “Managing that change is difficult: It requires a careful balance of renewed focus on productivity, performance and resilience while fostering engagement at times of uncertainty.”

According to Leapsome, companies that actively seek feedback from employees and act on it are more likely to uncover disengagement early and be able to address its causes. People enablement software can play a critical role in employee engagement by making internal processes more transparent and providing regular learning, development and feedback opportunities, noted Leapsome.

SEE: TechnologyAdvice Buyer’s Guide to Employee Engagement Solutions

What is people enablement software?

People enablement software — sometimes referred to as employee enablement, employee experience or people experience software — are platforms that combine or streamline various HR and business administration functions such as onboarding, learning and development, performance reviews, goal-setting, compensation and promotion frameworks. Leapsome offers people enablement software, but other common employee experience and enablement platforms include the likes of Workday, Qualtrics, Huler, 15Five and Zavvy.

SEE: Oracle vs Workday: A comparison of HR software (TechRepublic)

The software is designed to create a more inclusive overview of a company’s processes and promote a culture of feedback, learning and goal-setting, which helps employees feel more engaged, more productive and less likely to leave their jobs; however, when employees were asked to rate current people enablement processes such as goal-setting, performance reviews, onboarding and feedback within their company, not a single one was rated “good” by the majority of employees — leaving significant room for improvement.

Software alone is not a panacea to employee retention

Leapsome noted that software alone was “not a panacea,” and that software had to be “underpinned by a strong culture and well-designed internal processes” in order to be effective.

“We believe companies that value their employees and do prioritize these topics will be the most resilient and best suited to outperform the competition in an economic downturn,” Armansperg said.

For employees, the factors most likely to keep them in their job include a better work-life balance (66%), a culture that encourages feedback, goal-setting and learning (52%), compensation and benefits (48%), and flexibility (48%).

HR and business leaders unable to offer salary raises should consider what other benefits could improve employee work-life balance, the report concluded.

Read next: 10 highest-rated U.S. companies for work-life balance (TechRepublic)