There was a time when just getting a job was the end game. Unemployment rates were high and people were happy just to have a source of income. Those days are in the rear view mirror, with a record-low amount of people looking for work, and many of those doing so by choice, candidates can be a lot more choosy on where they decide to work.
In a highly competitive marketplace, companies need to up the ante to attract the best workers. Fair salaries and medical benefits are no longer enough to attract workers to a new organization. It all comes down to offering certain perks and benefits that truly resonate with the worker of today.
MetLife’s 17th annual study about employee benefit trends effectively captures what workers of today really want. If you own a company or are responsible for your organization’s hiring, being in tune with the wants of today’s worker can mean all the difference between hiring stars and just filling seats.
According to the MetLife study...In the changing world of work, one thing remains constant. For organizations to thrive, employees must thrive too.
Because thriving, happy employees are better employees — they are more engaged in their work, are more loyal to their employers, and more meaningfully contribute to their organizations’ goals.
Balancing the work/life blend
Today’s employees, across generations, are seeking fulfillment across their work, personal lives, and relationships. Thriving in today’s fast-changing, always-on world — a world where work and life have the potential to blend like never before — sometimes leaves people feeling overwhelmed or like they are falling short in one or both areas. Employers are beginning to recognize this struggle.
To better compete for and manage talent, they understand they need to value employees’ whole selves and individuality. They are also recognizing that employees need the flexibility and support to not only manage, but enrich their lives — to find greater stability, purpose, and growth both personally and professionally. If employers expect their organizations to thrive, they not only need to rethink the experiences they are creating for employees inside the workplace, but also how they are supporting employees outside of it.
Employees state that their number-one source of stress is personal finances. Regardless of age or life-stage, a focus on finances tops the list as the biggest concern employees have day to day.
Employees say that solutions that help address financial stress are what they need most to thrive in the workplace and at home. Nearly 6 in 10 employees say an appropriate salary is one of the most important elements to successfully navigating and thriving in the workplace.
This makes perfect sense. People don't work because they necessarily want to, they work because they need to. If working is something the majority of people need to do, then employment opportunities that help keep balance between work and life are strongly in demand.
Today's workers work to live, not live to work. There needs to be a balance and workers want companies to understand, acknowledge and actively work toward helping them achieve their out of work goals just as aggressively as their work-related ones.
So what about happiness? It’s been said, time and again, that a happy worker is a productive worker. The study found the following:
Top 5 drivers of happiness at work:
- Employee trust in their company’s leadership
- Employers’ commitment to employees and their success
- A culture where employees are encouraged to share ideas and individual opinions
- A workplace where coworkers feel like family or friends
- Benefits customized to meet employee needs
There's no single thing that can make the difference between a happy and an unhappy employee. Several components go into employee happiness. Of course, traditional factors such as a fair wage and proper benefits are at the foundation of an employee's connection to his/her company.
Other factors such as time away from the office is also highly valued, because if an employee works hard, they have earned the right to play hard. Time away to decompress from work does wonders for increasing productivity while at work. Creating opportunities for employees to work remotely, or during their most productive hours, can make all the difference between an employee being "all in" or "all done."
Intangibles such as opportunities to learn new skills or receiving recognition for a job well done go a long way. Employees want to have dialogue with their leaders and want to be recognized by them. That's when a true connection happens - when employees really feel like they are an integral part of the organization.
Sense of Purpose
Then there is the whole “sense of purpose” thing that dominates workplace conversations daily. Is finding a sense of purpose a pie-in-the-sky ideal or is it actually achievable? And, regardless of the answer, how much of a priority is it for today’s workers?
As employees define themselves more holistically through their work and life, they seek purpose on the job and at home. The ability to find meaning in their work lives is a vital ingredient to their overall happiness. 93% of workers consider purpose a must have or nice to have. Employees who feel they have a sense of purpose are more satisfied with their job, more engaged and productive, and ultimately more successful.
Interestingly, employees who feel a sense of purpose feel less stress and fatigue. Only 39% of employees who feel purpose are stressed or tired more than half the time.
Imagine being connected to a real purpose and feeling like you are an integral part of your companies success. Feeling this way would seemingly lead to being more productive, less stressed and happy more often than not. Sounds like a recipe for success.
We live in a constantly on-the-go world, and decompressing every so often from those daily stresses is the only way to recalibrate. With many companies offering about two weeks vacation per year, it doesn’t necessarily present workers with ample time to step away from their daily tasks, clear their minds and fully recharge.
Without proper time to decompress, the body and mind become like a car driving down the highway stuck in first gear, working much harder and more stressed than necessary. Granting workers additional time off provides the needed space and time to allow the mind to reset. When the mind is uncluttered, it can work in a state of optimal performance allowing a person to be fully productive and immersed in his or her work.
Today’s workforce favors the worker, who can be much more particular about where he or she chooses to be employed. With so much competition for top talent, companies that want to rise to the top need to offer opportunities to workers that satisfy both their professional and personal needs. Doing so will help differentiate great companies from the rest, ensuring these companies continue to attract a steady flow of the most sought after employees.