The workplace has changed a lot over the last decade. Low unemployment rates and millennials entering the workforce has seen large culture shifts within offices and organisations in a short space of time.
Trends around the way workers want to work have also changed. Flexibility and work-life-balance are huge buzzwords and key selling criteria when promoting a vacancy. Wellbeing has become more prominent, especially mental health for employees, and the SCR of companies is now just as influential and important for staff as it is for customers.
Yet one of the biggest shifts is the focus on the employee experience. The always-on digital world has seen jobs becoming a round-the-clock commitment too, so employees are focused more on the working environment and culture that their organisations can offer.
Gone are the days where merely having a job and getting paid for work done is a good enough motivator. Younger workers entering the corporate world for the first time are looking for more meaning and engagement with their work, as well as far more frequent showings of appreciation and reassurance from management and peers.
Employee engagement, understanding it, what contributes towards an engaged workforce and how to maximise engagement are three big questions that businesses are asking.
Here’s a look at three of the emerging workplace trends that employers should take note of and action in the coming years to help ensure that engagement.
Employees want to feel valued
Younger workers, in particular, have entered the workforce with a higher need to feel valued and that their efforts are appreciated - both my peers and management.
The power of recognising employees is beginning to be harnessed by businesses and creating a culture of recognition as a means to help drive that engagement has become more commonplace through the adoption of employee recognition programs and other non-platform based approaches.
Feeling appreciated through regular recognition for work well done is delivering a number of positive results for HR and businesses, from increased motivation and participation through to bottom-line influences such as enhanced productivity, profitability and retention.
And for the individual employee, feeling appreciated makes them feel valued and that they fit in at the organisation.
A shift from monetary rewards to perks and benefits
Recognising employees in the 1900s was more focused on rewards and financial perks. The company car and rare bottle of wine after 20 year’s on the job, alongside the annual bonus cheque did the job.
Employees nowadays, however, more greatly value time and flexibility. Perks in the way of longer lunches, work from home days and even being given an hour off work to do charitable work or give blood are all highly valued ‘rewards’ from their employer.
This is great for HR with shrinking rewards budgets, but a trend that has to be accounted for by structuring workplaces and/or policies in a way that allows for the perks and non-financial rewards employees are looking for today.
Staff also want to work for great cultures
Today's employees are seeking more than just a job - they’re looking for an experience, too. Businesses are investing millions to create cultures that will attract and inspire the new workforce, whilst also delivering business results.
Less snooker tables and free vending machines, organisations have realised that the sum of parts that contribute to an effective culture is far more wide-reaching.
The blurring lines between where work stops and life begins have become even more indistinguishable as technology grows, from team comms tools to project management platforms - not forgetting work email pings on smartphones too.
Feeling always connected to work means employees want to be part of a great culture, somewhere they want to work, contribute to and an organisation that recognises and gives back to them as well in return for their continued efforts.