With my decades of experience in the industry, I have realized employees have their own set of expectations, not just from their leaders but from the organisation as well. These expectations change with every generation due to the mega trends, technological advancement providing wider exposure and multitude of opportunities. With the recent phenomenon of pandemic and subsequent shift in people’s outlook and life priorities, employee expectations have gained greater prominence. What attracted talent to organisations pre-COVID may not necessarily be the same drivers today. To attract and retain talent, organisations will need to pay heed to these evolved expectations and align accordingly. This article covers some of the aspects of the new-age employee expectations.
Sense of Purpose
Today, employees are driven by a strong sense of purpose. They would like to associate with organisations aligned with greater good for the community and they want to belong to the same. Today the motivation to join a company is not just business growth alone, but also the focus of the companies in supporting meaningful causes impacting society, at large. If an organisation wants people to embrace and live its mission, efforts need to be made to transparently communicate who they are, what they do, and why the ‘purpose’ matters to them. Since new-age employees want to be a part of objectives larger than themselves, by understanding the company’s core sense of purpose, they can relate and connect with their own personal purpose and contribute the same to the community by representing the organisation.
Initiatives around Health & Safety, Environment & Impact, Engaging with Communities connect to the larger purpose and contributions to society. The Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends study reveals that 96% employees expect their employers to adopt a sustainable agenda which balances the organisation’s financial results with social issues and environmental impact. 95% of the organizations are in the journey to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive enterprise.
Ability to develop and enhance their skill set
The future of work is rapidly evolving in this changing world. Traditional, rigid roles are getting obsolete and newer, more fluid roles are emerging based on the changing business landscape, customer expectations, market behaviours and the way people live and work. Today’s challenges cannot be met with yesterday’s tools and tomorrow’s challenges cannot be addressed with today’s tool. The organisations should create a learning environment and provide support resources for the employees to constantly ensure the skills and competencies in their toolbox are updated for the current as well as future roles. With the new-age work environment, companies should invest in collaborative tools and prepare employees to collaborate virtually as people could be working in separate locations and geographies, balancing their individual priorities and deliverables. The people managers to be trained on managing virtual teams and bringing the collective energy of everyone to achieve the team objectives and organisational objectives.
Other key aspects include communication platforms to enable employees to stay connected and knowledgeable on organisational happenings, opportunity to participate and contribute beyond their current role, to speak up without fear or hesitation, timely and quality performance conversations, coaching discussions, listening to their ideas and inputs on a real time basis.
Looking beyond compensation
Gone are the days when job security and salary moved the needle. New-age employees want it all and prioritise new-age perks for their new-age needs. In my opinion and through years of observation, employees devote more than 45 hours of their life each week to their jobs, and in return expect a progressive work culture where creativity & innovation thrive, care, appreciation and recognition. By offering an inclusive and unbiased environment where they are heard, feel respected and can bring their individuality, they become engaged colleagues in the company. Wholistic wellness programs for themselves and family, Insurance programs, inclusive policies are key for the current workforce.
Work life integration
Employees are looking for a work environment suited to their changing needs. Collaborative workspaces are as essential as having a flexible work model. Based on the nature of the role of the employees, companies could provide a flexi model where employees will have the benefit of working from home or office on pre-decided frequencies and schedule. Satellite offices and co-working spaces with modern office facilities in closer proximity will also support the varied needs of the employees. The technology is enabling the employee to have an in-depth look at their work patterns over a period; collaboration time, focus hours, quiet days and a lot more to explore their work habits for efficiency and time management.
All-in-all, in the new normal, employees want their jobs to be meaningful. Rather than the length of the role, the depth of the role, the quality of the experiences gained in a particular role, drives and motivates new age-employees. They want to be good corporate citizens, feel a sense of pride & belonging, want their companies to be socially engaged, and want to feel respected for their choices. Today’s workforce is not comforted by the safety net of a pay check or health insurance. They will opt for a job and a Company that offers holistic value to their lives. Therefore, leading companies across the world are investing in the ‘human aspects of work’ to become a more employee-centric organisation.