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It seems like every day is a new day about how millennials have impacted another aspect of life – from the housing market to eating habits through to business practices across the globe. And while it's true that the influence of this demographic may be over or understated depending on your point of view, what's clear is that there has been a shift in the way that most people view the workplace and what matters to them in a job.
There's been compelling evidence over recent years that the fundamental factors in what makes a job attractive to employees have changed with pay and reward no longer taking the prize as key drivers of workplace satisfaction. According to trend reports and analysis, what matters to employees in the workplace are as below:
According to a recent Glassdoor survey, the culture of the organisation and the values that it upholds is the number one most essential factor to employees. What's more, this factor remains the same regardless of the income bracket of the responders.
The Glassdoor survey looked at the response in four primary income categories consisting of: less than $40k per annum, $40k to $80k per annum, $80k to $120k per annum and above $120k.
The data suggests that the long-term concerns of the employee tend to drive the levels of employee satisfaction, especially when we consider some of the other factors that we’ll discuss later on in this article.
What organisational culture means may differ from person to person and for some, it might mean having a flexible approach to the working environment – working from home being a prime example of this. For others, it might mean that the organisation shares the values of the employees. One great example of this is Patagonia and how their values align with their employees. Patagonia’s mission statement is ‘build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to protect nature’ and each team members embody these core values like no other.
Linking closely to the values and culture of the organisation in terms of importance is the quality of senior leadership at work. Ranked as the second most essential factor in the workplace by all salary groups, the reason why is rather straightforward as it directly impacts the level and type of support that they receive.
Whether it's direct support like regular one-to-ones with line managers or team meetings within the department, having adequate guidance, support and leadership proves to be an overarching driver to employees of all levels.
Another way that leadership values might manifest itself is through communication. Since we live in an information-rich digital age with accessibility to different aspects of different topics, it's become a norm to make all data easily available and, this includes the whats, whys and hows.
In other words, this means that a leader who takes the time to explain why a decision has been made or needs to make will likely engage with their employees better compared to those who do not communicate their strategies or decisions.
Career progression and the prospect of promotions in the future are enticing for employees – so much so that it ranks number three overall when it comes to what matters in the workplace. And the things is, the creation of clear career pathways within an organisation is a fantastic way to ensure that employees have an understanding of how their career can develop.
Fostering a community-approach that shows a recognition of talent by promoting within a company will appeal to all employees, especially when combined with regular feedback from line managers and senior managers. The continuous feedback will help team members understand where they are and what they need to do, creating a positive and supportive culture in teams and the wider business.
Here's the truth: the performance of any businesses that an employee is working for, holds a certain amount of influence on the levels of happiness and satisfaction in their employment. And while this may be fairly obvious, it's worth mentioning that the better the overall performance of the business, the more likely that the employees will be happy with their job.
Employees who work in a successful business tend to feel more positive at work which then leads to higher motivation and better engagement while those who work in underperforming businesses or industries then to feel demotivated because their work and effort seems to little to no effect.
According to the Glassdoor survey, achieving a balance work-life ranks number four overall but it's worth noting that the importance decreases slightly as income rises. Essentially, the more an employee earns, the less important work-life balance is and vice versa. But on the flip side to the millennial workforce, this aspect plays a far more significant role in what matters at the workplace as they tend to prioritise experiences and wellbeing above all.
Compensation and benefits (pay and reward) measure in as the least important when compared to other factors here in the survey. And what this demonstrates is that the idea that money is everything is, in fact, wrong. In a Princeton University report, researchers found that the importance of money decreases significantly once a worker's earning bracket reaches $75,000 (around £67,000).
But this does not diminish the fact that compensation and benefits are still the top factors that job seekers consider when evaluating potential employers and roles. The shift only takes place once employment begins and their earnings increase.
There isn’t a single aspect of employer offers that will guarantee employee satisfaction and those organisations that solely focus on promoting their pay and benefits are missing out on recruiting and retaining the best talent as this factor alone isn’t enough.
While it’s true that compensation and benefits can help to attract new talents and workers, Glassdoor’s survey shows that companies who do not prioritise organisational culture, positive leadership, clear progression or promote a more balanced work-life may not be likely to keep their team in the long-run.
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