Two years have passed since the ‘Great Shift’ and the landscape of work has changed forever. But many organizations are failing to recognize the severe impact the shift to remote work and the pandemic have had on their employees’ expectations.
As companies return to a semblance of normalcy with the adoption of hybrid work and return to physical offices, it is important to know why old practices, policies, and the overall employee experience journey are bound to fail if continued to be put into effect. The major reason? Evolved employee expectations:
Health & Wellbeing Outweigh Work
As per a recent study by Microsoft, 53% of employees say that they are more likely to value their health over their work as compared to before the pandemic. And this should come as no surprise! For employees today, the safety and health of their loved ones and themselves is a priority. If working at your organization means endangering their own well-being and that of those around them, they will switch organizations in a blink!
Employees expect their organizations to care. And this means having strong policies in place. Those that guarantee safety at physical workplaces and support during times of health crises. This also includes concern about your employees’ mental wellbeing!
Flexibility is Paramount, but so are Boundaries
Pre-pandemic, flexibility was a perk or an incentive at best. But now employees regard it as a basic provision by their organization. Remote work has flipped ideas of how people are expected to function, and because of it, more and more employees want to have agency when it comes to deciding when they work, and how they work.
In a physical and hybrid setting, assuring this is not going to be easy. But switching back to the old working standard is a no-deal for employees, especially seeing the way employee expectations are evolving!
Employees expect flexibility, but also with it some boundaries. They want their lunchtimes and post-work hours to be free from work calls, messages, and emails. Your organization needs to deliver if you want to retain your best.
Purpose Reigns Supreme
40% of employees stated that having a sense of purpose or meaning is highly important to them. If employees today don’t align with your organization’s purpose or even with the leadership’s vision and direction, they are bound to either not join or jump ship at the first opportunity.
Employees expect their work to matter. Employees expect their work to contribute to something important. And if you don’t communicate their work’s value to them, they will feel detached from it. And their association with your organization under such conditions will not last.
The ‘Why’ Behind Physical Offices
As you open your office gates to either a percentage or all of your employees, it’s important that you know what’s going on in their minds. Most of them are either in the process of calculating or have already concluded whether it’s ‘worth it’ for them to come to the office at all. And if at the end of the day, the answer is no, they might not consider it worth it to continue with you!
Employees expect a ‘why’ behind spending the time and energy to commuting to the office and letting go of the comfort and flexibility they have gotten accustomed to over the past two years. And you need to offer them a tangible answer.
Work is Not Everything
This one is an easy guess! Work-life balance has been plastered on every organization’s communication for the last two years, and the reason is clear. From longer paid vacations to flexible working hours, employees value their time outside work. They believe that life is not just restricted to moments crafted on the weekends.
Employees expect organizations to go beyond considering work-life balance as a luxury. They want their employers to respect their time and to help them make their life better. Without a balanced outlook, your organization might fail at bringing the best out of your employees.
A Workplace that Gives and Grows
While work might not be everything for employees, they still spend a huge part of their lives at it. And so, they want their workplace to provide them with the best opportunities and environment. This includes being a part of a culture that is deeply rooted in values that employees are aligned with. Having a manager who is dedicated to the employees’ development and offers them opportunities to be creative, learn, and grow. And working in an environment that fosters true connections and relationships, recognizes and rewards valuable performance, and builds a community that is united and engaging.
Employees expect the best. Especially as they return to physical offices.
Leading Transformations in Response to Evolved Employee Expectations
If your organization wants to retain the talent that has helped your organization survive and thrive during the pandemic, you need to ensure the above-stated employee expectations are met, regardless of the setting.
Return to physical offices does not have to mean a return to the old ways. You need to be cognizant of what your employees want and expect in order to bring about the necessary transformations. And time to take the first step is now.
If you are looking to bring about said transformations to effectively respond to the evolving employee expectations, do reach out to [email protected]. We are more than happy to help!