What employees really want and why it matters
Businesses have always competed to attract the best talent and recruit the best teams, something we looked at in this article on our blog last week.
This competition is only going to become more fierce, especially as more and more millennials fill the workforce. Loosely defined as anyone born between 1980 and 2000, large numbers of millennials are now flooding the workforce and will shape the way the world of work operates for years to come.
According to a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), by 2020 millennials will form more than 50% of the workforce, bringing with them new attitudes towards work, innate knowledge of new technologies and a realigned set of career aspirations.
This will bring new challenges to global business, as the PwC study states: “It’s clear that millennials will be a powerful generation of workers and that those with the right skills will be in high demand. They may be able to command not only creative reward packages by today’s standards, but also influence the way they work and where and how they operate in the workplace. They may also represent one of the biggest challenges that many organisations will face.”
That’s why it’s fundamental for businesses to create employee-centric cultures where the needs of employees are not only met but seen as the foundation on which the business is built. It’s the businesses doing this who will see the most success because they will have a higher percentage of engaged employees who will perform at a higher level and give them a competitive advantage.
So what is it that employees really want, and are going to want more of, in the future?
- Flexibility. The 9 to 5 office is swiftly being swept away into the history books. We all work in an increasingly global setting where the standard 9 to 5 working simply doesn’t work. Millennials (and other generational groups for that matter) want to be able to choose when and how they work. Whether it’s early starts, late finishes or home working, successful organisations will be those who embrace flexibility.
- Progression. Millennials are ambitious, perhaps more so than any generation that’s come before. Their ambition, desire to keep learning and willingness to progress, coupled with their tendency to move on if their expectations aren’t being met, poses a unique set of challenges to employers. Help employees understand how they can progress and invest in their personal development and they will reward you for it.
- Personal connections. A recent study carried out in the UK found that 80% of people would turn down a big salary increase if it meant working with people they didn’t like and in a negative environment. This proves the importance of establishing a strong team dynamic where employees feel like an individual rather than a cog in the machine. Another way of achieving this is by investing in mentoring opportunities. These kind of connections not only attract the best people, but also make sure the best people stay.
- An employer who cares. Whether it’s having a strong social conscious or investing in employee wellbeing, people want to work for an employer who cares. Millennials in particular are attracted to companies who give back, whether that’s through charity work or volunteering opportunities. Businesses who invest in the emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of their employees are also likely to be more productive, efficient and effective.
- Fun. Millennials want to enjoy work and their desire to do it is infectious. Being able to enjoy work has a huge range of benefits. It means your employees will be happy, and happy employees leads to happy customers. Culture, management style and a clear vision all help in making it easier to enjoy work.
Every year the shift to employee-centric businesses becomes greater and those who fail to embrace will be the same businesses who constantly lose their best talent while failing to attract the new stars.
Create an environment where your employees needs are met and in doing so you’ll end up delivering a better product, a better level of service and a more successful business.