Since the government’s work-from-home order spawned a mass exodus from offices around the nation in March 2020, people have learned a lot about themselves and what they need and want in life, in their careers, and from employers. Professionals around the world continue to share their truth on social media that life’s too short to do unfulfilling work or work for an organization that doesn’t share their values.
With personal priorities crystalizing, companies that want to attract new employees and retain current talent must pay attention to what people desire from their employers. Those who don’t listen and adapt could put their businesses in jeopardy.
So, what do candidates care about most these days?
Office Expectations: Remote with a hybrid in-office option
For employees, one silver lining to the world health crisis and subsequent sobering look at their lives is that it instituted new professional options. Because technologically behind-the-times companies were forced to upgrade their systems and processes to provide work-from-home capabilities, doors opened to remote opportunities that were previously inaccessible to some. This has been a huge win for employers and employees.
Age and location certainly influence candidate values and desires around where they live and work. Younger employees want to socialize in the office and have the potential for impromptu connections that can help build their career. For them, a hybrid model provides the best of both worlds.
In tech meccas like San Francisco, remote workers who have tired of astronomical rent and inaccessible home prices are taking advantage of opportunities to relocate to suburbs and less-populated cities that offer monetary incentives to move there. Established programs such as Tulsa Remote were in place prior to the pandemic, but the appeal of these programs has expanded with jobs that have become permanently remote. We talked about this in the Tribe TV episode: Why are Millennials Leaving Big Cities?
Employees today have a better sense of their worth, and 30% of office workers are willing to find a new job if they have to go back to the office.
Gig Work: A Growing Opportunity
According to Entrepreneur, “The dream job for many individuals today is working on their laptops while traveling the world. Digital nomads are individuals who use new technologies to do their work in a nomadic fashion.”
While your organization evolves and adapts to its new normal, offering gig work could provide a solution to immediate talent gaps. It benefits you and the temporary hire. Gigs provide the flexibility and freedom that people want and need, give them opportunities to expand their skills, and open doors for valuable new connections. On the employer side, you create a pipeline of talent for future openings while accomplishing your most important goals. The opportunity to “try before you buy” could save your company thousands of dollars if the hire is not a fit.
DEI: Show Don’t Tell
Candidates want to know exactly how your company is moving the ball forward in the realm of providing a workplace where all people feel psychologically safe and valued. What are you doing to expand the diversity or your workforce, ensure every individual is treated equally and fairly, and help everyone find allies and feel like an insider? Here’s some guidance on how to make this a reality.
Just like you don’t expect perfection out of your people, candidates don’t expect perfection from you either. What they want in this realm is an honest evaluation of where you are, to hear about recent learnings, and to understand what you’re doing to improve your workplace in these areas. According to a recent Fortune article, metrics and evidence-based tweaks can help you make meaningful changes in a short amount of time.
Well-being: The New Standard of Health
Micromanagers met their match in this work-from-home era. Unable to hover in ways they had become accustomed, some have deployed monitoring software to check in on employee work habits. This is the wrong type of monitoring. Who wants a suspicious vibe as the undercurrent of their culture? Not your employees and certainly not new candidates. Ask yourself, if you can’t trust them, why hire them at all? Studies show that productivity has increased in the remote environment. And this is despite parents often having to manage schooling for their kids or taking care of sick family members.
We can’t pretend we don’t have competing priorities. Today, employees thrive and so do companies in results-oriented work environments. When employees have the trust and freedom to work with an adaptable schedule, they feel happier, more satisfied, and are more motivated to accomplish their work with excellence. For companies embracing the future of hybrid and remote workers, you’ll gain the most from your efforts by monitoring employee engagement and monitoring employee wellbeing – not the hours they were online.
Mental wellness is a major aspect of one’s well-being. Leaders such as Prince Harry have helped normalize mental health struggles. This topic continues to show up on LinkedIn, with it becoming common to read announcements of people stepping away from their careers to focus on their mental well-being or sharing their stories about resume gaps due to mental health issues.
Popular researcher and author Brene Brown, an advocate for authenticity and vulnerability, has empowered people to add their voices to mental health conversations. With the increase of depressive and anxiety disorders, companies need to prioritize mental wellness at work and infuse it into their employee experience. Benefits like unlimited time off and covering therapist co-pays and subscriptions to meditation apps are new standards. Here at Proactive Talent, we close down the last two weeks in December to allow our team to fully decompress and take care of themselves, in addition to unlimited time off.
Companies who don’t prioritize wellness benefits like mental health may find themselves with an increasing number of overwhelmed and burnt-out colleagues whose growing numbers could drag your company down with them.
All of this can be overwhelming, especially if you're considering these initiatives alone and without adequate experience to ensure a positive outcome. Fortunately, you don't have to act alone.
Want to tap into our extensive knowledge and experience to help with your hiring needs? Reach out. We’d love to chat.