- Only 1 in 10 tech employees filed a complaint with HR in the last 6 months, yet 63% say they can comfortably confide in their company’s HR.
- The most common HR complaints in the last 6 months are burnout due to increased workload (31%) and late or incorrect paychecks (20%).
- Nearly 1 in 10 tech employees describe their company culture as toxic.
- The most important expectations tech employees have for HR when handling layoffs are transparency about workplace changes (57%), fair and unbiased treatment (47%), and monthly updates surrounding layoff plans (27%).
- Over half of HR employees working in tech have used ChatGPT, saving an average of 70 minutes per week.
- Over 1 in 10 HR employees at tech companies are using ChatGPT to craft employee terminations.
The Human Touch in Tech HR
The tech industry is known for number-crunching and high-level computing, but human resources departments (HR) are supposed to place emphasis on the human aspects of the workplace. Does HR feel human enough in the tech industry?
To understand the current relationship between tech employees and their HR departments, we asked 213 HR professionals working in tech and 792 tech employees for their thoughts. We also examined how HR workflows can improve through employee feedback and tools like artificial intelligence.
How Employees View HR
It’s important for employees to feel like they can talk to HR. Let’s take a look at common complaints employees have made, how they feel about their work culture, and what they would change about the HR department if they were calling the shots.
HR departments in tech seem to be doing a fair job, as 63% of tech employees surveyed said they felt comfortable talking to their company’s HR department. That said, only 1 in 10 had made a complaint in the past six months. The most common complaints tech employees brought to HR were concerns over burnout from heavier than usual workloads (31%) and late or incorrect paychecks (20%). Employees were also concerned about loss of institutional knowledge due to layoffs; 28% of employees at medium-sized companies were worried about such loss, compared to 18% of large-company employees.
Other common issues for tech employees addressed the workplace gender divide. Despite being co-workers, men and women have different workplace experiences. Of those we surveyed, women were 24% more likely than men to report workplace harassment or discrimination, while men were 77% more likely to make HR complaints about co-worker productivity.
Other than fixing their complaints, there were quite a few changes tech employees would make to HR if they were in charge. The most common change desired, 51% would improve transparency in the workplace. Another 37% would implement policies to promote better work-life balance (37%), which is especially important for maintaining a positive workplace.
As for how positively tech employees view their workplaces now, they most often described their workplaces as respectful (32%), collaborative (30%), and flexible (29%). However, nearly 1 in 10 respondents described their company culture as toxic. Stress was also common, with 24% of employees mentioning stress, much of which was caused by layoffs. Employees at companies that had conducted layoffs in the past six months were 78% more likely to describe their workplace as stressful than those who hadn’t faced cutbacks.
Employee Experiences With HR During Layoffs
Layoffs aren’t an enjoyable experience for anyone, but they’re an unavoidable part of business. Unfortunately, the burden of conducting layoffs usually falls on HR. When layoffs hit, how do tech employees expect HR to handle them?
Considering that layoffs have spiked almost fivefold in 2023, especially in the tech industry, they are of real concern for employees and HR. The good news is 61% of the tech employees we surveyed felt their company’s HR handled layoffs well. Additionally, 67% said HR gave employees resources and support to help them cope with job loss.
Over half of the surveyed tech employees felt HR communicated clearly and transparently throughout the layoff process. That’s especially important since 57% of tech employees thought transparency about workplace changes was the biggest consideration for HR during layoffs. Employees also expected fair and unbiased treatment (47%) and monthly updates about layoff plans (27%).
When layoffs occur, tech employees at companies who conducted layoffs in the last six months were 31% more likely to expect HR to mitigate retention rates. Thankfully, plenty of tools are available to help HR avoid additional turnover and respond to employee needs.
Using AI to Support HR
With clear employee expectations for tech company HR departments, let’s explore how HR can address these considerations and improve HR processes using artificial intelligence (AI).
With over one-third of HR representatives expecting more layoffs in the next six months, addressing employee concerns is crucial. This can be difficult for HR, as 3 in 5 reps felt employees held back their true sentiments at work, and it’s hard for reps to fix problems they don’t know about.
The problems HR reps do know about can be handled and supported with the use of AI, including ChatGPT. Over half of HR employees working in tech have used this helpful tool to increase workplace productivity and improve interactions with employees. Over 1 in 10 have even used it to craft employee terminations. Whatever problems they used it to solve, ChatGPT saved HR reps an average of 70 minutes each week — enough time for an extra lunch break.
When it comes to general HR resources, nearly 70% of HR tech employees said their company provides the necessary funds and tools to enact positive changes. Another 73% said they’re prepared to handle potential turnover. AI software for HR, such as BambooHR and Gusto, can further support HR employees as they tackle daily tasks, turnover, and layoffs.Aside from AI, the most useful tech tools for HR in tech included payroll software (54%), background check software (42%), HR analytics and reporting (41%), and time and attendance systems (40%).
The Reality of Tech HR
As the tech industry faces more complex problems and employees face increasingly demanding work, the role of HR is vital in supporting employees so they feel safe and confident doing their jobs. Employees need HR departments to be transparent, communicate clearly, and prioritize work-life balance. As HR departments embrace employee feedback and utilize AI technologies to improve procedures and communication, they can create a strong company culture built on respect.
To explore HR issues in the tech industry, we surveyed 213 HR professionals working in tech and 792 tech employees.
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