Within the last year, workplaces have accelerated into a digital world. How we communicate, work, and live have changed dramatically. The year labeled “exhausting” by the Washington Post, was also the year people grew and re-evaluated their needs in the workplace.
So, right now, what exactly do employees value the most? According to recent studies, flexibility, abstract ways of measuring productivity, growth opportunities, and recognition are some of the top employee needs. Finding an employer that can adapt to these needs not only improves the lives of its workers, but also its quality of work.
The implementation of these variables leads to overall happier and invested employees. Flexibility is the new normal. In fact, “88% of knowledge workers say that when searching for a new position, they will look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location.” In 2020, employees proved that working remotely can be just as effective as working in the office. Now, people have a choice to match their work with their lifestyle. And workers need that flexibility – especially after experiencing it for a year.
This empowerment improves employees’ wellbeing and willingness to work, and in return, employees will be more invested in their company. As for the day to day work, individuals are wanting a more collaborative way of measuring results. For example, “86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritizes outcomes over output.” This goal drives companies to focus on the final result vs the amount of time it took to complete. It empowers employees to focus on efficiency since time spent doesn’t always equal the quality of the result.
As an employee continues to drive high quality results, they need internal opportunities to work towards. “Organizations that want to retain their talent need to help employees identify their next internal opportunity so they don’t feel that the only way they can progress their career is to look externally.” Such opportunities could include an internal open job board, promotions, a new assignment, or connecting employees with resources to reach their goals. Results deserve to be recognized, and when they are, employees appreciate it. In fact, “Giving well-deserved recognition increases self-esteem, enthusiasm and boosts morale.” That personal support can carry along to a team, a department, and an entire company. Positive reinforcement can drive a team to excellence when done authentically and consistently.
The company I currently work for, Coegi, has not only listened to what employees need to feel empowered, but have also implemented our highly supported ideas. Personally, the flexibility provided to me has been wonderful. After I graduating in May, I wanted to travel to Austin and explore a new city. However, I was unsure about remote options. After speaking with a few people in the company, they were flexible enough to make this happen for me. In response to their willingness to work with my personal goals, I feel extremely invested in the company. I want to show my appreciation through my work and relationships within the company.
Coegi also does a great job encouraging growth and learning within our departments. The conversation to grow and try out new roles started when I first began working as a part-timer. It involved learning about other departments, checking the internal job board, having a choice in the types of clients we want to work on, etc. That encouragement to learn also relates to how we interact on a day-to-day basis.
The team I am on currently has many different options outside of the office to support one another. We use “appreciation gifs” to say thank you when needed on our tasks. We also have company wide “cheers” for when someone goes above and beyond. This positive feedback encourages us to work hard and recognize the pieces that fit into our bigger goals.