Does the new generation of workers expect the same from their company as Baby Boomers? Not really. The pandemic has changed people’s relationships with their careers and has reshuffled the way we work.
Do you really understand the requirements your workforce has? If not, this article should help you to figure it out. Because yes, employee expectations are evolving and it is essential for businesses to be aware of those changes. While salary is still important, flexibility and remote opportunities are also among the top criteria in job research, for example.
To overcome the Great Resignation and attract talent, knowing what your workers want from the company, their manager and HR is a must. So, why is this so vital and what are your employees’ needs? Here is a complete overview for every organization that is ready to embrace the future of work.
Why is knowing your employees’ needs so important for your company?
The big reshuffle: key shifts are currently happening in the workplace
The world of work is rapidly evolving in many respects. First, the pandemic shifted our perception of work, creating a desire for greater work-life balance and flexibility. Second, we are currently experiencing a phenomenon that has never happened to this extent before: the management of a multigenerational workforce. Third, automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are revolutionizing the way we work by bringing more technology into the workplace. All of these transformations have modified our workplace expectations. Here are the two main reasons why it is essential for companies to consider employee expectations thoughtfully.
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Great Resignation: workers are not afraid to leave their jobs
As we explained in an article about the current Employee Exodus, workers are not scared to quit their jobs. They know what they need and what they want. If the company is not matching their values and expectations, they simply leave, sometimes even without having found another position yet. This has been exacerbated by remote work as it allows for a wider range of career opportunities worldwide. With hybrid work and flexitime, there is no more limit on location or timezone. Everybody can work from anywhere at (almost) anytime. Therefore, knowing and meeting your employee’s needs is more crucial than ever for increasing workforce retention. Don’t let talent slip out of your fingers because your company is lacking a people-centric approach.
Happy and engaged employees: the key to success
Your workers are your best asset. Therefore, it is essential to have an employee-first strategy. The biggest companies, like Google, for example, have made the well-being of their staff a priority for years because they are aware that happy employees lead to happy clients. A workforce that feels understood, recognized, and valued is a lot more engaged and productive than workers that are not. Closing the gap between what your employees expect and what you offer them is the key to a successful business.
What are employee expectations from a manager?
Trust and recognition
There are two behaviors that can break down somebody’s motivation and confidence: a lack of recognition and micromanagement. It does not matter if you work with your team on-site or online, employees are looking for a management model that is trusting and gives them autonomy. Providing greater flexibility is a core solution to this, but it can also result in the opposite effect if leaders check every task when they can’t see their team working. Trust and recognition are therefore very important for employee experience.
Good communication and transparency
Poor communication seriously affects employees’ performance and motivation. Setting up a strong internal communication strategy is important to fulfill your employees’ expectations as 97% of them consider that this is deeply affecting their daily tasks (source: Expert Market). Not only does this mean sharing information clearly, but it also includes listening and being available for your team when needed.
Support and accountability
People feel more confident and motivated when they are supported and trusted. They need to know that you have their backs and you take responsibility when the team is both succeeding and facing challenges. Developing a trusting relationship with your employees enhances engagement, creativity, innovation, productivity, and positive work culture.
The best employees are constantly looking to improve. Giving them meaningful feedback and opportunities to grow should be part of your management strategy. Constructive feedback will help them upskill while positive feedback is a way for managers to show recognition for the work that has been done. Also, discussing how you feel about the work of your team members presents a great opportunity to ask them how they feel about your work. This way, you get to learn about their expectations for you.
This is a no-brainer. Employees that are good at their jobs and are constantly willing to get better also expect to climb the career ladder at some point. If you can’t give them this opportunity, your workforce retention rate will be impacted as they will simply look somewhere else. As we highlighted in our article about the multigenerational workforce, people don’t stay at the same job or in the same company all their lives. They expect to grow personally and in their careers.
According to a study from SHRM, 90% of employees make the decision to leave or remain within the organization in the first six months of their contract. After the recruitment stage, the onboarding process is the second most important phase to convince your new recruits that they made the right choice. Therefore, this step must reflect the way your organization works and its values. If you promote your business as a modern company, your new employees are probably expecting a people-focused and technology-based onboarding process, for example.
Compensation, benefits, and salary raises
Are your company’s benefits meeting your employees’ expectations? Are their salaries reflecting their abilities, work, and engagement with your business? Everybody pays a close look at how much salary, compensation, and benefits an organization can offer. However, these advantages vary from one place to another. A business that offers paid leave to its employees definitely has an advantage over one that doesn’t. Also, keep in mind that the rise of remote work opens career opportunities worldwide. This means that some employees won’t hesitate to apply abroad if working conditions and benefits are better than the ones you have to offer.
Employee experience and work-life balance are among the top priorities for employees. Human Resources can help team members reach this goal in a number of ways:
fostering a people-centric approach;
setting up a hybrid work model;
organizing physical activities;
giving access to mental health and wellness apps;
Two key methods to meet your employees’ well-being expectations are to conduct surveys and to analyze workplace analytics to define what they truly need.
DEI: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
As the Employee Expectation Report from People Management shows, DEI topics are among the top priorities for employees. In 2019, the number of comments from the workers that participated in the surveys increased by 19%. Already in 2019, the number of comments about this DEI increased by 19% among the participants of this survey. Promoting diversity, equity and inclusivity is a topic that should be reflected in the workplace. It is important for organizations to reduce discrimination at work. Obviously, the wish to create an equal and diverse workforce must be genuine and part of your organizational culture strategy.
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What do workers expect from the company?
Post-covid and remote work expectations
Employees’ needs are highly shaped by the impact that the pandemic has had on our lives. As we said, people don’t have the same relationship with the workplace. While they value working from home, they also appreciate being able to go to the office and enjoy social interactions. Employees are also looking for better work-life balance in order to take care of themselves, enjoy their hobbies and spend time with family and friends. For businesses to meet these post-covid and remote work expectations they must offer the flexibility of hybrid work .
Technology, automation, and AI
With the rise of digitalization in every aspect of our lives, the use of automation and AI at work is expected. This is not only because it supports them in performing better and focusing on meaningful tasks, but also because workplace apps can help create a better work-life balance (desk booking software, wellness apps, week planning system, etc.).
ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices
An increasing number of workers value organizations that are actively involved in reducing ESG issues. According to a World Economic Forum article about how human capital is the key to a successful ESG strategy, 58% of employees consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. For Millennials and Gen Z workers, having a positive impact on environmental and social issues is very important. As these two generations of workers will represent 72% of the whole workforce in 2029, this topic is crucial for companies that focus on their employees’ needs.
Positive organizational culture
Last but not least, what does your company culture look like? Do you work on it and make efforts to create a positive organizational culture? A toxic atmosphere in the workplace can seriously weaken a business. Culture also has a strong impact on talent attraction and worker retention. As a consequence, building and maintaining a positive work environment is a must for all companies that wish to meet their employees’ expectations.
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Employees’ needs have deeply evolved since the Covid-19 crisis. The access to more flexibility led to a better work-life balance and this has certainly impacted our relationship to work. But people also pay more attention to the way businesses are dealing with ESG and DEI topics.
You now have multiple examples of employee expectations and a clear view of what workers need from management and HR.
For those of you who are looking for ways to enhance employee experience, start a free trial with the deskbird app!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.