Humanity in the Workforce: The Impact on Hybrid Work, Mental Health and Childcare

The events of the past two years have reshaped the future of work and the relationship between the employer and employee. According to new research that we are publishing next week, companies have responded to today’s reality by increasing their focus on employee experience. One in three companies have increased their spend on the employee experience and 47% of companies are investing in new solutions to support these objectives. Companies across all industries are looking for an immediate solution to solve retention and improve performance.

Unfortunately, despite this increased investment, most companies are falling short. They are taking a one-size-fits-all approach and treating employees like transactions instead of humans. Companies today must rethink their approach to talent and humanize work. They must focus on the individual, build more meaningful relationships, and provide an experience that is rooted in inclusivity, humanity, dignity, and trust.

Several factors are influencing human-centered work, including remote and hybrid work models, mental health, and new responsibilities of caregivers.

Hybrid work models  

Not every company is clear on their future workforce model, and the next year will likely bring more change and uncertainty. Companies that listen to their employees, adjust to the unknown, and provide transparency will build better relationships with talent. Aptitude Research found a mix of work models that are impacting organizations and the future of work Whether working from home or adjusting to new office rules, employees often feel lost and isolated in these models. 52% of companies have a hybrid model. Companies must provide a different level of care and compassion to remote or hybrid models.

Mental Health

On average, companies in this study stated that 36% of their workforce faces mental health challenges. Although companies have responded to the topic of mental health in the workforce by providing days and weeks off, collectively, it is not enough. Only 24% of companies have asked employees if they need support in the past six months and only 36% of companies provide mental health benefits. Organizations need to change the stigma and ideas around mental health. Employees are asking for more support and organizations need to provide a more human response.


The role of caretakers evolved during the pandemic as more employees were faced with having to care for children, elders, and other family members themselves while balancing a new work dynamic. Every employee is impacted by care, yet employers do not typically address childcare issues and most employees do not feel safe talking about their needs with their managers. In today’s environment, companies must think about how care impacts the employee experience. Currently, one in three employees do not feel comfortable talking about childcare and only 11% of employers are asking employees how to support their caregiving needs.

According to this study, companies are not taking active steps to acknowledge these new responsibilities of their workforce or to provide the support that employees need during these times. The most common action that employers take is providing leave to care for family members (paid and unpaid). Only 30% of companies offer clear career advancement opportunities for caregivers and only 36% of companies offer three or more months of parental leave. The pressure that employees feel in their personal lives is impacting their decisions to stay with an employer and in some cases, possibly leave the workforce.

I am excited to share our latest report on humanity in the workforce next week!

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency.

Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).