Achieving Flow with Process Intelligence to Beat the Great Resignation

Insights | 16.02.2022 | By: Sarah Burnett

Flow* is the nirvana state of work, when the experience is the right mix of interesting, challenging and enjoyable. If you get the balance of these factors right you will have more engaged and motivated personnel resulting in improved productivity. With flow comes increased motivation and job satisfaction and therefore reduced rates of staff attrition. This is particularly important in the age of the great resignation, that is compounding the global skills shortage. The question is can you take the guesswork out of the equation with a data-driven approach to achieving flow at work?

The great resignation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the great resignation continued apace in December 2021, with another of 4.3 million Americans quitting their jobs. It is not just America that is affected; There’s a similar picture in other countries as well. HFS Research reports that the average global attrition rate for the third quarter of 2021 was 20.4% for announced results in the IT and business process services industry. It anecdotally estimates the rate for India to be much higher, anywhere between 30% to 50%.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the great resignation continued apace in December 2021, with another of 4.3 million Americans quitting their jobs.

It is against this backdrop that organisations are turning to data and process intelligence to understand the drivers behind employee attrition. Process intelligence can find opportunities for improving work by identifying what hampers performance, e.g. slow systems with poorly designed user interfaces that put employees off work, flaws in shift patterns, inadequate work allocations, or too much mundane repetitive work that should be automated.

With our customers have discovered some staggering facts about the state of work in their organisations. Examples include:

  • Over-burdened high performers: 30% of staff doing more than 70 % of the work
  • Too much mundane work: Highly skilled employees spending more than 30% of their time cutting and pasting data
  • Low adoption of a new system: 90% of staff not using a new system, because its web-based user interface is three times slower than the old fashioned green-screen terminals it replaced

The challenge with passive time

Another measure of how work is being done in an office-based environment is passive time, that is the percentage of time when employees are not working on their computers. As opposed to meetings or calls that can well be considered as productive, the level of a well-earned break defines where your employees may be on the passive time. Figure 1 shows the ideal level of passive time that is 20%. If it drops to below 10%, your staff will be getting increasingly stressed and that in itself can lead to poor performance and attrition. Above 40% can indicate other issues e.g. serious levels of boredom, lack of job satisfaction and absenteeism.

Figure 1

It is by identifying and addressing these kinds of issues that you can make flow possible for your employees and consequently buck the great resignation trend. You can do this by making sure that you provide work that is interesting and challenging enough to keep the workforce engaged and giving them the tools that they need to do it well.

The great resignation phenomenon is growing – it may have started in the pandemic when people reflected on the meaning of life, what they want to get out of it and doing jobs that better satisfy their ambitions and life goals. Today the resulting talent shortage is boosting the trend, making it something of a self-fulfilling cycle. Take the guess work out of the equation with a data-driven approach to countering the trend and achieving flow at work for your employees!

* Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, published by Harper and Law, 1990. is named a Leader for 2024 Industrial Automation. Discover the Intelligent Zinnov report and learn how to automate complex tasks, embrace autonomous workflows and boost efficiency.