How to Prepare for this New Wave of Worker Expectations
The mass transition to remote work due to the pandemic upended long-term norms surrounding where work can be done. Today, there is an increasing number of recent college graduates and people entering the workforce flocking to jobs that provide higher levels of flexibility, even when it sacrifices aspects in other areas.
What to Know About the New Workforce
The pandemic changed the way many of the upcoming generations of workers view the world and how things work. It completely altered the way this generation got their education, made friends, and found a job. The recent “Great Resignation” that the job market has experienced was more than just a mass exodus of people quitting their jobs. It was also about employees realizing what they want and deserve in a workplace, leading to this new wave of workers not being afraid to ask for what they want. New workers are not stopping the job search until they find the perfect fit that meets each of their needs and they expect more from employers than just an adequate salary and traditional benefits. Aspects such as increased flexibility, mental wellness support, and company culture all help to cultivate a healthy work model. In the wake of this large group reflecting on workplace wants, businesses will need to adapt quickly and accept the new norm and that it is not going away. Honoring the work/life balance needs of your employees is a great way in getting the highest levels of employees’ satisfaction and productivity.
What New Workers Value Most
It is past time for organizations to recognize what the workforce wants and needs, and then evolve accordingly. Businesses without an adaptable approach to work put themselves at a disadvantage when competing for talent and risk appearing out of touch with the modern workforce.
- Flexibility Over Everything
Flexibility is valued as most important. There is a large amount of people in the workforce that believe that companies will continue to leverage flexible work models in order to reach out to candidates, regardless of location. For many, this looks like moving their office into the home. Without location holding businesses back, they are now able to broaden their reach of potential employees. This new generation of workers sees flexibility as more than just deciding where you work, but it also means when you do it. Having work hours that people can create a life around is so important for the increasing importance of a work/life balance. Honoring employees and their individual needs and priorities is an important step in creating a flexible, and happy workplace. Flexibility could look very different for each individual or company. For some, it may be working from home just a day or two each week, or it could look like a completely remote schedule for others. At the end of the day, what new workers value most in the post-pandemic workplace is flexibility. Flexibility is all about freedom. This allows employees to have a life outside of work where they can be inspired. This ultimately leads to higher levels of productivity from workers. Flexible work models and environments are what is guiding the majority of new workers’ decisions when it comes to finding a job in this post-pandemic market.
- Mental Health and Wellness Support
With the evolving work scene, employers should keep mental wellness in mind when creating their work structure. Mental health is gradually becoming more and more important to employees. Employers should be sure to create support systems that help prevent their employees from burning out and to ensure they stay mentally happy. Expecting workers to be available to respond at all times can create a toxic work environment. Allow workers the flexibility to get their work done in the best possible headspace to ensure the highest quality of work. Granting employees the opportunity to create their own schedule is directly associated with lower rates of job stress and higher rates of job satisfaction. Implementing systems that help to support mental health and wellbeing can be what sets you apart from competitors when hiring, leading the best talent to your company.
- New Ways to Measure Productivity
Traditional metrics may not always be the most effective way for businesses to measure productivity. It may benefit companies in the future to rethink how they value how work gets done. The thought process that real work cannot effectively get done outside of the traditional office is the mindset that will keep some companies left in the dust. Many employees say that they would prefer to work for a company that values the outcome over output. They do not want a company that cares more about the qualified work output, but rather, a company that values the impact that they can deliver to the business. Setting up agreed-upon goals that both the employer and employees are aware of is a great way to get everyone in the company on the same page when it comes to making sure everyone gets done what they need to.
Maintain a Sense of Community
Companies that make the decision to invest in their employee experience will be set apart from the rest. Caring for your employees will increase the length of time they stay working loyally for your company and will also bring in additional skilled workers. Maintaining a sense of community and creating a company culture that your employees can feel like they are a part of something greater than them is an excellent way at cultivating a happy and healthy work environment. It is no secret that happy workers are more productive at their jobs. Building a cohesive team that knows and trusts requires a heightened level of focus, especially when it comes to remote workers. Successful companies in the future will understand the importance of an increased sense of shared values and culture.
This new generation that is entering the labor market is joining at a time when businesses and employees are aiming to redefine work and the workplace in this post-pandemic atmosphere. Both employers and employees must learn to encompass these new norms that support this evolved reality.