What employees really want: towards a people-first workplace

What do employees really want? A new report by HqO explores where employees and employers align and diverge in their expectations for the future of work

One of the key challenges for organisations navigating the turbulent shift towards hybrid working has been understanding what employees really want from their employers and their future workplace.

In the midst of the ‘Great Resignation’, organisations are under more pressure than ever to put their employees first and respond to their needs. What is it that employees require? And how can companies take a people-first approach to building more effective and attractive workplaces?

A new report by workplace experience technology expert HqO seeks to answer these key questions. The report, entitled What the Employee Wants’, addresses the challenges of the Great Resignation and offers alternative solutions on how to bring more value to the office.

Creating value

The key takeaway from the HqO report is that there is a growing chasm between what employees want and what employers think employees want. Employees identified feeling valued by both their organisation and manager, having a sense of belonging and being able to participate in flexible work schedules as key attributes they desire from their work. It seems the only area where employees and employers were aligned in their thinking is the value of employee engagement in creating a successful workplace.

The report identified four areas which were of critical importance to employees:

Feeling valued – Employees prefer human-oriented experiences. Those who feel they are not receiving meaningful interactions at work are likely to quit.

A sense of purpose or belonging –  Employees want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Yes, they want pay, benefits and perks, but more than that, they want to feel valued by their organisations and managers.

Workplace flexibility – The rise of remote and hybrid work has led to employees demanding increased flexibility from their employers. As far as the workplace is concerned, there is no returning to full-time in-office work. Given the choice, employees would rather leave their jobs.

Employee engagement – Employee engagement is one of the areas in which employer and employee see eye to eye, with each recognising its importance in talent attraction and retention. Engaged employees are happier and more productive. According to Gallup, currently only a third of the American workforce is engaged – leaving the rest actively disengaged (16 per cent) or ‘just there’ (51 per cent).

In recognising what is important to employees, employers can tailor their agenda to meet the changing expectations of their workforce and take active steps to retaining and attracting the best talent. This report goes some way in identifying where organisations need to start on their journey to understand their workforce.

Read the full HqO report What the Employee Wants’ here.

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