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  • Louisa Plint

What do your future employees want?

The way we work is an ever evolving beast, but the last couple of years have triggered some of the most significant changes in the world of work. Covid, for all its faults, has forced both companies and individuals to reconsider what it is they want from their workplace and it’s important that organisations of all shapes and sizes face up to these new demands.

The talent market is currently in a state of unprecedented competitiveness so understanding what potential employees are looking for can put your organisation ahead of the competition when it comes to talent acquisition.

So what’s on the list?

Flexibility is number one

It’s becoming more and more mainstream for companies to offer complete flexibility to their workforce. Although some larger, older companies are pushing back against these trends, it is overwhelmingly clear that it’s what people want. For eighteen months, workers discovered the benefits of being able to work from home, and anywhere else, and that necessity forced a lot of companies to implement the infrastructure needed to accommodate such a shift. As a result, many potential employees are perceiving such an offering as both a reasonable and attainable requirement.

The sentiment runs deeper when considering the importance of work/life balance. As the pandemic took hold globally, many people began to reevaluate the use of their time, whether it be the rigidity of the traditional 9-5, or the time wasted on lengthy commutes that could be spent on the finer things in life. The appeal of the rural lifestyle, and the growing aversion to what is perceived as the traditional ‘rat race’ is likely to force companies to bend to the will of the workforce as a whole.

If you’re going to attract the best talent, and keep it, you’re going to have to meet these newfound expectations and crucially you’re going to have to stick to them. Entice a candidate in on a promise you can't fulfil is wasting your time and money. They will go somewhere else, leaving wasted costs on recruitment, time to find the ideal hire and training, time and energy.

The death of the KPI

For decades the term KPI has been a standard, predefined and quantifiable metric by which a company sought to evaluate the performance of their employees, but things are changing. After months of remote working and changing relationships between managers and their workforce, perceptions of such baseline assessments are changing, and not in a positive way.

The root of this issue is one of trust, we talk more about it in this article here. It has long been assumed that, to be recognised as productive by your company, you need to be ‘seen’ to be working. Whether this was measured by hours at your desk, call records, or computer activity, workers have been trained to check their productivity boxes. Many of these key metrics were dramatically affected by the changing working environment of the pandemic, and for the better. Companies realised that their employees could, in most cases, be trusted to deliver work without the prying eyes of their managers constantly peering over their shoulders. The effect of this forced separation? Employees now expect a level of respect and trust that they will deliver. They want to be judged on the value they bring to the company rather than the output they produce according to arbitrary metrics.

So what’s the solution? Design your business to be people-orientated, give your employees the space to deliver results, and create an environment where your workforce is driven by the collective progress of the company, not their own singular and narrow-minded KPIs.

Diversity brings a range of perspectives AND skills

Diversity has long been a buzzword in the world of recruitment, but the wider world is waking up to how important and how impactful it can be. As the world continues marching into globalisation, the value of diversity becomes more and more self-evident. The demands on companies are ever evolving and a workforce that reflects the complexity of the world is vital as roles and skill requirements change. It is important that every company, whether starting up or already global, is honest about the makeup of their workforce and the efforts they are making to reflect the world at large.

Having an awareness of your company's diversity and inclusion as well as a strong policy focused on closing the gaps of inequality that are endemic across hiring as a whole, is something that will not only help you to find more diverse and skilled talent, but will also show your employees that you understand how important it is.

Training and development

As global demands across all markets evolve, from supply chains affected by the changing geopolitical landscape to the integration of new technologies across most, if not all industries, companies need to understand rapidly changing skills requirements. Companies that can offer opportunities for upskilling and reskilling will have better talent retention by reallocating proven individuals into new high-potential areas. Creating agile work and learning environments will support growth and incentivise workers to focus on both delivery and personal development simultaneously.

Despite the volatility of the last couple of years, the new world represents an exciting opportunity for companies to clear out the old methods and rapidly change the way they work for the better. In return, they will find a more engaged workforce and will deliver on many of the now basic requirements of future talent.

Now you know what it is that your employees want, you've got your EVP (employee value proposition) how you communicate it to potential hires is vital to maintain visibility and remain front of mind when people are looking for their next role.

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