It almost seems cliché to say that our workplaces will never be the same. The fact is what employees want from their employers is an ongoing process. Employees’ mindsets evolve with time. Every new generation has shifting priorities. As a result, their expectations from their work environment also changes.
In 2022, figuring out what employees want from their working environment boils down to understanding your business and team. This article will explore five things employees want from their employers and their working environment.
1. Flexibility, and lots of it
The thought of a 9-to-5 routine seems to be a thing of the past. Increasingly, countries and companies have switched to a four-day workweek and ultra-flexible schedules. The four-day workweek has become the norm in countries like Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Iceland, and Scotland.
The aim is to increase work-life balance. In Scotland, the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) reported that 83% of people surveyed wanted to work fewer days. Moreover, Iceland shortened its workweek from the standard 40 hours to a 35 to 36-hour workweek. More than 80% of Iceland residents jumped at the chance to work fewer days.
Also, Japan’s efforts to improve work-life balance come in the wake of its culture’s “karoshi” or “death by work.” Interestingly enough, experiments with a reduced workweek have led to an approximate 40% boost in productivity.
Indeed, employees want more flexibility in their job to improve work-life balance. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid believing people don’t want to work. They just want to have more time to enjoy life with friends and family.
Additionally, the COVID19 pandemic showed us that flexibility and productivity could co-exist. Nevertheless, it’s important to set clear ground rules and expectations. In doing so, your employees can get the flexibility they want while your company continues to grow.
2. Reimagining productivity
Employees want their employers to rethink how they measure productivity. Therefore, it’s crucial to figure out how your business views productivity. For instance, measuring productivity by the number of hours sitting at a desk doesn’t cut it anymore.
The current pandemic has shown that employees don’t necessarily need to be at their desks to get the job done. So, what metrics can we use to measure productivity? The simple answer is to view employees’ productivity based on the value they deliver and not their time at work.
A recent Forbes article cited research indicating that, on average, 54% of employees felt their productivity improved during lockdown conditions. As such, employees want you to measure them by value delivered, the output produced, and results, not by the number of hours at the office or their tardiness to work.
Additionally, productivity ties in with flexibility. As long as employees show they can be productive within their flexible arrangements, measuring productivity allows employees to unlock their potential in unconventional ways.
3. Becoming part of a diverse workforce
More than ever, diversity plays a vital role in the workplace. Employees want more diversity. In other words, a stale environment doesn’t make sense anymore. Diversity is another way companies can boost productivity. Moreover, diversity implies ensuring that talented individuals get an equal opportunity to contribute.
When companies reimagine productivity, “traditional” roles and job descriptions begin to fade. For example, companies must reevaluate conventional positions for males and females. As a result, prioritizing skills over traditional roles allows talented individuals to contribute in the right places.
A recent workforce survey showed that almost 80% of participants want to be part of a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Moreover, 60% of respondents indicated they approve of business leaders being public about social and political matters. This survey highlights how your business needs to focus on providing an inclusive workplace, one that is representative of all social sectors.
4. Learning and development opportunities
In the past, business executives prioritized employees who were already knowledgeable. However, employees want their employers to prioritize learning and development opportunities. After all, times change. Therefore, employees know that they must keep up with the times to continue being productive.
A 2019 LinkedIn survey shed light on employees’ desire to learn and grow. The survey revealed that 94% of respondents would leave their job and move to another company if it meant increased learning and development opportunities. Furthermore, over a quarter of respondents indicated that they would leave their current position due to a lack of learning opportunities.
Undoubtedly, this survey shows that there are more important things than money. Naturally, a good salary is important. Nevertheless, having the opportunity to grow personally and professionally outweighs the money.
Employees want their employers to help them upskill. When employees upskill, they can earn more. Yes, it’s always a risk for companies to train and lose employees. However, companies benefit far more from training employees than letting them walk away for nothing.
5. Take the road less traveled
In essence, employees want their employers to be creative. Creativity means allowing employees to take the road less traveled. For example, Google is famous for allowing employees time to explore personal projects.
Often, employees want the opportunity to use their imagination in solving problems. All you need to do is allow them to do so. A Harvard Business Review article underscores the need for creativity in the workplace. In particular, creativity should focus on “liberating” employees from the burden of packed schedules and tight deadlines.
Of course, discipline and structure are fundamental business practices. Nevertheless, reducing employee performance to rote processes stifles creative solutions. Otherwise, breeding innovation may become an extremely complex thing to achieve.
Creative companies allow their employees to translate hobbies and personal projects into potential money-making opportunities. As a result, you must consider allowing your employees more creative freedom. Everyone is capable of having inspirational moments. All they need is the chance to let their imagination unleash its power.
Employees want their companies to get with the times. As such, your company must consider finding alternative ways of doing what it always does: deliver value on time and at the least possible cost. To do so, your company needs to explore new ways of getting the job done.
Specifically, employees want more flexibility and freedom to unleash their creative powers. The days of the “rat race” seem to be quickly fading. Thus, we must now concentrate on measuring our employees’ impact based on the value they deliver, not just the time spent at their desks.
Ultimately, successful companies need to provide their employees with growth opportunities within a diverse environment. The time has come to explore a road less traveled on the way to personal and professional improvement.
This post is made available for informational purposes only to provide a general understanding of the topics discussed herein. It is not intended to provide specific business, legal, or professional advice, and should not be relied on as such. TalentZök is not liable or responsible for any damage or loss arising from any reliance placed on such materials.