In the Sixth Edition of our Talent Index report, we asked over 6,000 office-based workers from the UK, US and France about their current feelings on their workplace, employer and work in general.
Despite the tightening economy, 50% of respondents said they are still considering leaving their jobs within the next year. So one thing is certain – for (at least) half of employees, something is missing.
The workers we spoke to candidly shared their thoughts on workplace topics like returning to the office, hybrid work, company culture, learning and development, quiet quitting, and why they feel that so many companies are struggling with retention.
Through our research, a few key themes emerged that paint a picture of how today’s employees really feel about the office and work in 2022.
Employees’ feelings about the office are clear
In general, today’s workers have a clear desire for flexibility in the workplace. While many companies are embracing hybrid work arrangements, some organizations have chosen to mandate that employees report to the office five days per week.
We asked respondents what factors they felt could be damaging to company culture and only 12% said hybrid working models could be a potential cause of damage. And 45% of people said the freedom to ‘sometimes work at home’ would be an important element for them when it comes to organizations they’d want to work for.
The volatile economy also comes into play when discussing in-office versus hybrid or remote work – 26% of those surveyed said that the increased cost of travel (commuting) is affecting how often employees come into the office.
With those numbers considered, it’s interesting to learn that 55% of respondents across the three markets we surveyed said they had returned to an office full time. So, are employers really meeting employees where they’re at?
A positive work culture requires flexibility
The data from our latest Talent Index sends a clear message to employers – today’s employees share a desire for flexibility in the workplace. Hybrid working isn’t just about where employees are most productive, it’s about considering their individual needs and keeping them engaged in their work long term. And companies who fail to keep employees engaged, are losing talent.
It’s no secret that retention has been a problem for employers over the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic caused workers to reevaluate their lives and careers, resulting in millions of resignations worldwide.
We asked workers across three countries why they think companies struggle with retention. While the number one answer (41%) was the lack of salary increases, a negative work culture and not enough flexibility or development opportunities were also popular answers.
It’s also important for employers to consider what other factors (beyond flexibility) could be preventing them from building the positive culture employees desire. When asked what factors could damage a company culture the most, the number one answer from our survey was the phenomenon of quiet quitting.
While this is not the only thing that can damage company culture, it is providing disengaged, dissatisfied and burned out employees with an alternative to actually resigning from their jobs (considering the current state of the economy).
Internal growth and career opportunities also improve employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. An AI-driven Talent Marketplace can help organizations build an inclusive internal mobility program, and design personalized career paths based on employee skills and career aspirations – helping them stay engaged long term, regardless of where they are based.
The bottom line is that employers need to make changes to meet employees where they’re at. Today’s talent desire a flexible and supportive work environment (whether they work in the office or at home), a positive company culture and opportunities to develop their skills and progress towards their career goals.
If employers don’t carefully evaluate where improvements need to be made (and then take meaningful steps towards making those improvements), they risk losing employees to companies who will pay them more, treat them better, support their development, and provide the flexibility that they are looking for.