I know we’re very focused on the here and now – the pandemic, the elections and runoffs, the economy, etc. Don’t get me wrong – that’s important. But we also need to take a look at some of the things we need to do long-term and start thinking about how we’re going to get from where we are right now to where we need to be.
For example, one of the trends I’ve been noticing is a huge focus on employee benefits. Yes, benefits have always been important. But with the pandemic and remote work, employees are looking at benefits differently. WorldatWork, the total rewards association for HR professionals, recently released the results of a survey that offers some insights into what employees want in their employment experience.
- 42% of respondents said they would take a pay cut of up to 30% and a lower job title to work from home and have more work/life balance.
- 54% strongly prefer that their organization take a public stance on social issues and voice opinions.
- 50% said they want to feel safe at work and won’t work for a company where they don’t feel safe.
- 60% stated that it was extremely important to work for a leader who shares their values.
Just in case you’re wondering, this isn’t a “Millennial” thing or a “GenX” thing or a “Boomer” thing. The results were pretty consistent across age groups.
Honestly, none of these results surprise me. The question becomes what are organizations doing now to make sure employees feel that they work for a safe organization that speaks out, with people who share their values and support their wellbeing. Because we know it won’t happen overnight. And given that we’re dealing with a hybrid workforce (i.e. employees working both remotely and onsite) how can organizations put a strategy together that delivers to everyone. Here are a few things to consider:
- Organizational mission, vision, and values. If the company hasn’t taken a look at their mission, vision, and values lately, there’s never been a more appropriate time. Organizations need to be true to their values. It’s good for employees and good for business.
- Telework policies and guidelines. Even if the long-term plan is to bring everyone back to the office, the next several months could involve a combination of onsite and remote work. If you haven’t done it already, companies might want to create some guidelines on how remote work will be handled.
- Workplace safety. Workplaces need to be safe. Period. We’ve always known how to keep our work environments safe, but the pandemic is forcing us to make changes. If employees are working from home, companies need to make sure employees are also doing safe things at home.
- Leadership and management development. Many organizations have programs in place to develop leaders and managers, but the pandemic is adding a new requirement – being able to manage and support a remote workforce. We can’t just assume managers know how to do that effectively.
- Employee surveys. More than ever, we need to check in with employees and make sure they’re doing okay. See if they need anything. Employees are still trying to figure out this “work from home” thing too. Maybe use survey technology to conduct short check-in surveys as a way to stay in touch.
All of these things: organizational values, telework, safety, leadership, and surveys are activities we should be talking about anyway. What’s different is the context. We should be asking questions about them in the here and now as well as what we want them to look like in the future. That’s how organizations can give employees what they want.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of New York9