It’s a “workers’ market” today, and small business employers are feeling the pressure to improve their employee engagement and retention strategies. Whether your company is suffering from quiet quitting (employees doing the bare minimum to keep their jobs) or a mass exodus of talented workers, the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience in the current market.
If attracting and retaining top talent keeps you awake at night, you’re not alone. LinkedIn research found that improving employee retention and supporting career development were among global leaders’ top five business priorities this year; in the U.S., they’re in the top three.
So, what can you do in your small business to buck the trend of resignations and make employees want to work for your company? The latest Workmonitor survey of 35,000 global workers reveals that employees want to work for a company that’s flexible and stable but also inclusive and financially secure. Yes, they want the whole package. Here are the top five key findings on what employees expect from their employers.
More than ever, employees want—demand, actually—a healthy work-life balance. Most workers (72%) consider work an essential element of their lives, regardless of whether or not their job is enjoyable. For job searchers, a promise of balance is critical, with 61% reporting they wouldn’t accept a position that disrupted this balance. Plus, 34% would quit if their working environment were toxic, and 48% would leave if their job prevented them from enjoying their life.
Economic ups and downs have always affected employee attraction and retention. However, workers expect their employers to provide relief in several ways. According to Workmonitor, the most desired forms of help are:
A monthly cost of living stipend—41%
Opportunities for a salary increase outside of the scheduled annual review—39%
Help for paying the high costs of energy, commuting, and other daily expenses—28%
Plus, 45% say they wouldn’t accept a job if it didn’t offer accommodating hours.
Employers are stepping up to the challenge. Nearly half of the workers surveyed said they are receiving help from their companies, such as providing a hybrid or flexible schedule, allowing them to reduce childcare and commuting costs.
Economic and job security and a possible recession are also top of mind for workers—37% are worried about losing their jobs, and 52% are concerned about the impact of economic uncertainty on their job security. Employees are willing to work harder to make ends meet, with 23% wanting to work more hours at their current jobs to help with the rising cost of living.
Workmonitor found that the uncertain economy has motivated “retired” people to return to work, while many older employees are delaying retirement. The study shows a significant decline in the number of people who believed they could retire before 65 (from 61% to 51%), showing that workers are concerned about their futures. And while 33% wanted to retire by age 60, 26% of those 55 and older plan to keep working.
A Sense of Belonging
Most employees today want to work for employers whose values align with theirs—45% say they won’t work for a business with conflicting values. When asked about specific values, 77% of those surveyed say an employer’s sustainability, diversity, and transparency objectives are essential. In the current talent shortage crisis, belonging has become increasingly important, with 54% of workers reporting they would quit a job if they didn’t feel like they belonged. In addition, a sense of belonging benefits the company as well. According to Deloitte, workers who feel they belong can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, and a 75% decrease in sick days.
After working remotely for several years, collaboration has become even more important to employees today. Collaboration benefits the business and the employees. It boosts morale, builds trust between employees and the business owner, strengthens employees’ bonds, and increases productivity.
Collaboration cements staff loyalty. Employees want to work at companies that understand their needs and make them feel valued and appreciated. In my own experience, employees feel like they belong when you include them in decision-making. Make them feel like a true insider, and they’ll want to stay and work harder. It’s just a matter of listening and responding.