The Great Resignation: 3 Things Your Employees Value Most

The Great Resignation: 3 Things Your Employees Value Most

If there is one thing business leaders know, it’s that the marketplace is continually shifting. Staying relevant requires the ability to adapt and find new ways to balance consumer demand, employee needs, and organizational health.

In the era of the Great Resignation, where record numbers of people are leaving their jobs — 4.3 million in January 2022 alone — there’s a new set of factors critical to business success: what employees consider to be important to personal and professional well-being. According to the Willis Towers Watson 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, 44% of workers said they were seeking a different job. Yet nearly 20% indicated they would accept the same pay at a new job, showing that money is not always the primary factor for job seekers.

When it comes to what workers want, awareness among employers is rising — and companies are responding. Here are three factors employees currently find important in a job, and how employers can meet those needs while also accommodating their own.

Flexibility

Since the pandemic began, it’s become clearer than ever that flexible work schedules are desired and often needed. Employees are simply wired differently. While some thrive with an early-morning start to work, others don’t feel productive until later in the day. At TrainingPros, our approach is to focus on ensuring the work gets done well and on time, rather than what specific times of the day an employee works. This is within reason, of course. Team members need to be available for meetings during business hours and meet work parameters set by clients. But as much as possible, when flexibility can be given, it is.

Having a flexible schedule is also important to employees with families. Whether they’re caring for children, elders, or other loved ones, employees need to be able to set schedules that work for them. My family recently experienced that when my mother broke her hip. My sisters and I took turns caring for her, which required all of us to adjust our work and personal schedules. I had to do the same to take care of my fiancé when he was healing from ankle surgery after an injury.

In another example, two employees at my company found that they needed to take immediate action for family members. I gave them both paid leave, letting them know their jobs were safe and they could focus on family.

Flexible and reduced-hour schedules help employees manage their many responsibilities, which ballooned throughout the pandemic as home became the center for all aspects of life. And when employers respond to the needs of their employees with expressions of humanity rather than rigidity, the latter tend to feel a greater sense of loyalty to the companies they work for.

Remote Work

The pandemic also shifted where we work. While remote work was once a sought-after perk for a relatively small segment of the working population, it’s now a key component many employees look for in a job. This speaks to the way some workers are wired, too. Many people feel they work better from a home office, indicating their focus and productivity increase when doing so. The proof is in the quality of their work product, reported sense of well-being, and overall engagement. Insisting that employees work on-site for jobs where an in-office presence isn’t necessary may lead employees to seek other opportunities — and limit the talent pool for recruitment.

TrainingPros has been a virtual company since it was founded in 1997. Collaborative relationships are fostered among our learning and development professionals, both internally and with clients. Providing remote work for our consultants and staff members has been a successful business model for us for more than two decades, and it will carry us well into the future.

Communication

I’m a proponent of effective communication at work. In general, it enhances relationships and helps avoid misunderstandings and disagreements. And when it comes to working remotely, communication helps reduce burnout. A survey by McKinsey & Company about the future of remote work indicates that employees who feel anxious about a lack of organizational communication are almost three times more likely to report feeling burned out. The survey stresses the need to share more with employees, even when leaders don’t necessarily know what the future will bring because it helps them feel a greater sense of well-being in the present.

Clear communication is also important around expectations and responsibilities. When workers aren’t meeting expectations or fulfilling their job responsibilities, conversations are warranted—whether they work remotely or in-house. There’s a certain trust factor that’s afforded with remote work, and the results frequently speak for themselves about whether an employee is indeed effective in that capacity.

Final Thoughts

As employees’ needs and lifestyles have changed during the past couple of years, so has what they want from their jobs. Quality-of-life factors like flexible schedules and remote work are becoming more the norm rather than the exception, and communication remains an important thread that contributes to the viability and success of all working arrangements. Companies thrive when their employees do, so meeting their needs also makes good business sense.

Leighanne Lankford

Leighanne Lankford

Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, "playing it safe isn’t good enough." In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.

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Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, “playing it safe isn’t good enough.” In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.

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