HR teams in companies often ask themselves these kinds of questions in order to study and improve the relationship with their professionals: do we know the needs of our workforce? Do we follow the best strategies to retain our talent? Are we a company where people want to work? Maybe before 2020 the answers they got were some, but now, after all these months of social catharsis, the employment landscape has changed. And with it, the expectations and desires of employees have also shifted. If companies don’t want to be the obstacle to their development and are working to become the drivers of it, the following may be some of the keys they need to take into account so as to achieve it.
What will I read about in this article?
- New employee expectations
- Hybrid team management
- Constant learning
The new expectations of professionals
Our professional life during COVID-19 was turned upside down. In some respects, we were eager to return to the old normal. However, we also wanted to keep, at least partially, some of the windows that opened when all the doors closed. Flexibility, remote working… a new way of organising tasks and time?
According to Atlassian’s “Reworking Work” study, people have new expectations and companies have to find ways to meet them.
For their research, they interviewed more than 6,000 workers to find out how they feel professionally and what they expect from their career. It was a year since the last survey, which contained the same questions. However, this time the answers were very different. Here are the key points.
Nobody wants to work for a rigid boss in an even more rigid structure.
One of the factors that triggered the Great Quit, during which workers in the United States left their jobs at a record pace in 2021, was the end of the flexibility that the pandemic era had brought.
According to Atlassian’s survey, flexibility has become a key aspect of talent retention and attraction. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they want to continue flexible working arrangements and have the option to work remotely.
“78% of respondents said they want to continue with flexible working arrangements”.
This is complemented by research Atlassian conducted with PwC in which more than 40% of US workers are willing to change employers if it means they have the option of working from home.
In other articles we have already discussed how flexibility is becoming an indispensable ingredient in the workplace. For it to work, it must be open, adaptable and take into account the preferences of individual team members. Provided, of course, that it ensures that work continues to be done efficiently. It does’nt mean working fewer hours or missing deadlines previously agreed by the company.
There are many models, but the most successful in terms of space flexibility are the hybrid models. This is a system that brings the best of both worlds. It has the benefits of working from home some of the time during the week and also the advantages of coming to the office to interact with colleagues and take advantage of the spaces offered by the company.
A matter of values
Another career expectation employees have is that they want to work for companies that share their values. This is highlighted in the survey, where 49% of employees said they would leave their job if it was clear that the company’s values were not aligned with their own.
“49% of employees would leave their job if the company’s values were not aligned with their own”.
The research highlights that values have become the real nexus of work teams. When people with different experience or expertise who work from different locations and have different personalities share a set of core values, they succeed in their tasks. It improves communication, keeps them motivated and keeps them supporting and encouraging each other.
Optimise processes to make remote working easier
We need to be up to the task. As the employment landscape evolves towards flexibility and hybrid models, it’ll be necessary to adapt technologies and business processes to these new realities.
Many of the new hires that have taken place in the aftermath of the pandemic have been made directly in a remote fashion. Some of these new employees have never set foot in the office or seen their colleagues face to face. In some cases, they even work from other countries.
Digitising and optimising processes, taking into account team distribution, is essential. Teleworking can affect the relationship with colleagues and the ability to work as a team. It’s important for companies to provide tools that speed up communication and make it fluid and spontaneous. Technology has proven to be an essential ally when designing these new workspaces.
Ask, learn, try, test and start again
Professionals want to work for companies that are constantly evolving, adapting and trying new things. It is the job of leaders and managers to ensure that their team members evolve in order to ensure an engaged workforce and a sustainable business.
How do you achieve this? By talking to your team members and listening to their expectations regarding what flexibility policies they think are appropriate, putting less emphasis on task management and more on people management and keeping a focus on mental health and wellbeing.
It’s also about delivering on our promises because talking about flexibility, but then implementing policies to restrict it, does more harm than good.
But the most important thing is to be clear that no one has all the answers. So companies should not be afraid to ask, test and experiment to see what is the best working approach for the people in them. If companies support their people in their professional development, the organisation will thrive as well.