We often speak of employee requirements such as a proper dress code or being on time, but what about the expectations for employers? In a rapidly evolving work environment where being people-centric matters more than ever, trying to meet workers’ needs is no longer an option. Ignoring this crucial aspect leads to many critical consequences. Unhappy and unsatisfied staff show less engagement, motivation, productivity, loyalty, and creativity. In the long run, this psychological state can lead to more absenteeism and burnout. As there is a correlation between your workforce’s experience and your company’s success, this isn’t a criterion that can be overlooked. So what are the most common employee expectations examples? From communication to recognition, here are 14 important attributes that people want from their company.
1. Communication: smooth, effective, and inclusive
Poor communication decreases the level of productivity of a team, but more critically, creates frustration and tension. What’s more irritating than redoing a task or losing time because of miscommunication? With all the communication tools available today, employees expect to be able to efficiently interact with their manager and their peers. Obviously, workers should enjoy the same level of communication no matter if they are operating from the office or remotely.
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2. Recognition: the power of simple but meaningful words
Employees are the best asset to an organization and play a massive role in the company’s growth. However, according to an article from Zippia about Employee Recognition Statistics, 44% of them declare not feeling valued or recognized by their manager as the main reason for their will to resign. A simple: ‘thank you for a great job’ can have a huge impact on your team’s morale and motivation. It might not seem like a lot to you, but it enables your workers to feel valued and appreciated for the input they bring to the overall success of the business.
3. Work culture: positivity and employee centricity before anything else
Creating the right corporate culture covers many essential employees' needs, such as seeing values that align with theirs. Organizational culture strongly influences how people feel towards their job and the business itself. A toxic work environment based on micromanagement or little recognition, for example, can destroy a company. For this reason, it is also key for employers to focus their attention on building a positive workplace culture.
4. Salary: fair but not the most important aspect of creating a happy workforce
Rewarding your workforce with a fair salary is a must. However, don't expect to retain your employees, attract new talent, and collaborate with a motivated team just by offering a big pay check. Your number one priority should be improving the well-being of your employees and meeting their needs and expectations, or your business won’t thrive in the ways that could. As we are going to explain in this article, aspects like work-life balance, work flexibility, or purpose, for example, are more important.
5. Lifestyle benefits: key criteria for talent retention and attraction
Speaking of rewards, lifestyle benefits become as important as salary expectations. These advantages can take different forms such as a gym subscription, good healthcare insurance, or a pet-friendly policy. It is a great way to show your workforce that you care about them and that you acknowledge the work they deliver and the value they bring to the company. It is also a significant aspect that job seekers search for when applying for new career opportunities.
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6. Professional development: upskilling, reskilling, and career growth as key expectations for employers
Any individual who is working in the same role for a while is expecting a career move at some point. If not, the ability to upskill or reskill is option workers would like from their employer. Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges that companies are currently facing. People who don’t see any career growth possibilities leave. They sometimes even quit without having found another job yet. The willingness to learn new skills and explore more opportunities is often stronger than the idea of staying stuck in a position where they feel bored and unhappy.
7. Flexibility: hybrid and flex schedules for a better work-life balance
If you should remember only one employee expectation example out of this list, this is maybe the one. The pandemic gave workers the opportunity to discover the benefits of flexibility and a better work-life balance. The rise of hybrid work and flexi-time emerges as a key answer to spreading time more evenly among work, hobbies, family, friends, and other activities in a healthy manner. Even though many people wish to go back to the office, they also value the idea of working from home. Therefore, flexibility which was initially a solution to combat the pandemic has become a major requirement that companies and HR departments must consider.
8. Corporate values: a strong determination to be aligned with personal values
Many people don’t hesitate to quit their job simply because the business does not align with their own values. This is especially the case among Millennials and Gen Z who have strong opinions and wish to act for change. From sustainability to ethical matters, your position can either help you retain your workforce or cause them to leave for another company that matches their ideas better.
9. Purpose: an increasing need for more meaningfulness of work
Going to work every day (physically or virtually) without having a purpose-driven goal can truly impact how you feel. You may wonder why this can impact your team if you think about work as a financial resource to pay bills and maybe enjoy life a little. Well, this is not the case anymore. Employees search for meaningful experiences, including in their professional lives. They need to find motivation in what they are doing. Not giving them this opportunity means risking losing them.
10. Transparency: a top priority among employees’ expectations examples
Engagement and motivation are also triggered by knowing what is happening in the company. Being aware of goals and challenges is a sign of trust and helps workers stay motivated. Every organization wants an engaged workforce. However, this requires transparency. Employees want to be more aware of ongoing processes and decisions, no matter if they are big or small.
11. Feedback: negative or positive, the only way to progress
Workers expect more feedback from their managers. Sharing what you believe their strengths and areas of improvement are is crucial. It allows them to progress and develop their skills. It is also a perfect occasion to demonstrate recognition of their work and discuss career development. This process should be coming from both sides. Building a trustworthy relationship with your team also enables them to freely share what they appreciate about your leadership type and what could be improved.
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12. Accountability: together in failure as much as success
You need to support your team in moments of success as much as in hard times. Many employees don’t feel they are being advocated for by their managers which decreases engagement, slows down motivation, and hinders creativity. Taking responsibility for your team members is one of the most important values for a leader and the best way to create a collaboration based on trust. Workers that receive management support take more risks which are great for progress and innovation, from a personal and a business point of view.
13. Micromanagement: the best way to lose your employees
Let’s get straight to the point: micromanaging your employees is a big mistake and a motivation killer. Trusting your team members and giving them opportunities to fail are the best ways to motivate them. As mentioned above, failure is part of success. Controlling and constantly checking what your team is doing can negatively impact their work. Remote workers are even more likely to face this type of management. It is crucial for leaders to trust even though they don’t see each employee working as they would when on-site.
14. New technology: a key aspect of any modern workplace
Modern tech helps us in every aspect of our lives (automated home cleaning devices, GPS, smartphones, etc.), and it is normal that people want to find the same level of digitalization within their work environment. They expect workplace technology to be used as a key supporter in their goals in order to be more efficient and focus on more meaningful tasks. From desk booking software to week planning tools and robotized machines, there is a large range of digital solutions that can trigger your employees’ productivity and enthusiasm.
You now know how to foster employee happiness and create a professional environment that top talent wants to be part of. This list of employee expectations examples is not exhaustive. To do what is best for your workforce and meet their needs, the perfect approach is to listen to their feedback and discuss with them what their requirements are. According to your industry, the generational diversity of your workers, the size of your company, and so on, their expectations for employers may vary.
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Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.