Workplace power dynamics have swung in favor of employees, according to a recent BCW study.
The agency’s International Workforce Insights Study found that over half of all employees now feel more empowered to influence change in their workplace than they did a year ago. This includes their employer’s business strategy (54 percent), corporate culture (55 percent), and work experience (59 percent).
They found staff workers from Generation Z and Millennials to have the greatest sense of empowerment.
Despite the widespread challenges caused by COVID-19, over two-thirds of employees say they are more productive (62 percent), more connected to their coworkers (62 percent), and more valued by their employer (60 percent).
Employees’ work experiences have also improved, with three out of five now reporting an increase in leadership responding to employee input (59 percent).
Over the same period, a similar number of people reported improvements in their work experience, work culture, and work-life balance.
However, the study discovered that flexibility would be a top priority for the global workforce in the future.
The top changes employees want to see from their employers are flexible hours or a hybrid work environment (67 percent). Other top requests from employers include meaningful work, feeling supported and appreciated by managers and team members, workplace benefits and perks, and effective leadership.
BCW Head of Transformation, James Morley says, “The results show that the increased flexibility and effort made by organizations to connect and engage with employees throughout the pandemic has paid dividends. Employees are feeling more valued, more empowered, and more vocal about their expectations in the workplace.”
“As leaders prepare for the ‘next normal’ – including moves to implement return to office policies – they need to be mindful of these expectations and needs. Employees increasingly want their voices heard, and failure to adequately address that will likely lead to high rates of attrition – particularly among younger generations.”, he added.
Christine Trodella, Facebook’s Director of Workplace, reiterates that investing in the employee experience and maintaining an emphasis on empathy and authenticity is good for businesses.
“Employee expectations will continue to increase whether workers are desk-based or on the frontline, and businesses will need to make sure they’re turning these expectations around culture, collaboration and connectivity into reality.”, she says.
Morely warns that failure to address these expectations adequately would undoubtedly result in significant attrition rates, especially among younger generations.
One-fifth of Gen Z respondents (21 percent) and one-fifth of Millennials (18 percent) said they were likely to leave their current employer within the following year.
The most significant difference between those who said they would leave and those who said they would stay is whether they see a commitment to fostering culture, employee value, and the ability for employees to have their voices heard.
The biggest takeaway for businesses, according to Morley, is that employees want more than just a paycheck. They want to be valued as individuals, believe in the job they’re doing, and have the freedom to do so.
It is more important than ever for corporate communicators, employee engagement specialists, and business leaders to listen to the voices and opinions of employees, and keeping those dialogues going is fundamental.
Transparency of communications will be critical since the relationships between employees and executives are changing. It all boils down to redefining the purpose of the workplace.
The survey was conducted in partnership with Workplace from Facebook and market research firm Mercury Analytics between August 24 and September 7, 2021.
More than a thousand employees from five industries (consumer goods, hospitality, manufacturing, financial services/insurance, and healthcare/ pharmaceutical) across six markets participated in the survey. The US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands were these markets.
In a post-COVID world where workers have more choice and power than ever before, sustainable transformation requires collaboration between management and employees in shaping the organization’s future.
So, how can you attract and keep today’s best employees?
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