The Great Resignation in 2021 brought a tight labor market with over 11 million job openings waiting to be filled. Employees now have the upper hand in picking roles they want. In order for companies to attract and retain great talent, they have to rethink their strategies and make sure they accommodate what employees want in the workplace.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, the majority of workers cited low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected at work (57%) as top reasons they quit their jobs. There is an urgent need for organizations to address job dissatisfaction issues if they want to turn things around and put an end to this labor crisis.
With companies struggling to fill in jobs, prioritizing what employees want is not just a strategy, but a necessity.
Here are the top 3 things employees want that every business leader should know:
- A Good Manager
In Gallup’s State of the American Workplace study, CEO Jim Clifton stated that the single biggest decision any company makes is who to name as manager. This is because when you name the wrong person manager, nothing can fix that decision. Bad management is often the reason why a company has a high employee turnover, and having a boss who negatively impacts an employee’s mental health and productivity is not good for employees’ wellbeing or the business as a whole.
On the other hand, a good manager can have a significant positive effect on the productivity of a typical employee. The effects of good managers are much more substantial than the effects of good peers in the workplace. A good manager can improve their employees’ performance and can decrease turnover rate.
Although traits that employees want in a boss vary, there are universal traits that good managers share: Good bosses coach, teach and provide insight into the company’s strategy and the employee’s career goals in terms of that strategy. They see the bigger picture and involve each employee, opening their eyes to their larger role and the impact they make as an individual toward the company’s goals.
- Flexible Work Arrangements
Hybrid work is not going anywhere. Outside of standard benefits and monetary incentives to motivate employees, a flexible work arrangement is considered the top benefit employers can provide to their employees.
New behaviors and lifestyles that emerged from the work-from-home setup during the pandemic lockdowns are now a norm. We see stories on LinkedIn all the time about how people save so much time without a commute and are able to use that time to do things they love and feel less stressed.
Since most individuals experienced some type of WFH model at some point during the pandemic, people are yearning for more flexibility. This doesn’t necessarily mean working from home 100% of the time; however, if there are strict corporate offices who want employees to come to work from 9-5 from Monday through Friday, they might want to consider being more flexible (for example, offering WFH one day a week).
- A Sense of Safety and Belonging
Beyond physical safety, employees want to feel psychologically safe. They want to feel safe in expressing their thoughts and in bringing their whole selves to work. As a leader, ask yourself questions such as:
- Can my employees openly provide feedback without fear of retaliation?
- Is our working environment failure-tolerant?
Creating and nurturing a safe work environment encourages innovation, creativity and enhances performance. It also increases job satisfaction.
Employees want a deep sense of belonging in the roles at work. Each year, businesses spend almost $8 billion on diversity and inclusion training that miss the mark because they overlook people feeling included. According to research from Betterup, if workers feel like they belong, companies will experience substantial long-term benefits such as fewer sick days, better job performance and lower turnover risk.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has changed drastically and so have people’s expectations of work. What people want may vary and change but ultimately, creating a caring culture in the workplace will always work to attract top talent and make employees want to stay.
In love and respect,