Employee priorities have shifted irrevocably. Before COVID-19, forward-thinking organisations touted flexible work arrangements, gym memberships and game rooms to foster a positive culture. However, today’s research indicates a far different need — as purpose and belonging takes centre stage for employees.
COVID-19 upended lives and propelled a re-imagining of what defines great workplace culture across the world. This has prompted organisations to prioritise purpose, belonging and inclusivity to retain employees. It's this holistic shift for well-being, equality, belonging and inclusivity that earns employee loyalty and respect.
This blog post covers key aspects of tapping into employee priorities in APAC and ways companies can remain competitive in the market.
Why are employees leaving companies?
- The number one reason people leave a company is a lack of learning and development opportunities. 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if that employer showed commitment to helping them learn (LinkedIn)
- Work-life balance trumps salaries for jobseekers globally. 63% of professionals say it’s a priority ahead of pay and benefits, which sits at 60%. (LinkedIn)
- Candidates are prioritizing diverse and inclusive workplaces. Employees want companies to take a stand on social issues and offer support toward closing wage gaps around gender, race, sexuality, and more.
- Expanding benefits, well-being programs and mental health days are a requirement. Without iterating your benefits programme, employees may feel unappreciated and go somewhere that will acknowledge their desire for work-life balance and well-being.
Typically, pay raises within HR range between 20-30% and even 40-50% base increases. While this varies by country, the norm now is offering regular salary bumps and ones in line with the market and internal relativities and not to a candidate or employee’s current base.
5 Employee priorities for employers to follow
#1: Prioritise benefits and well-being
The common thread across all candidates regionally in Asia-Pacific is they want great benefits. It’s their top or second priority when they search for jobs, according to LinkedIn’s most recent Talent Drivers Survey. Organisations, therefore, can gain a competitive advantage by strengthening core benefits and offering comprehensive wellness programs including stress reduction, fitness stipends and mental health days to name a few. Even if you can’t monetarily pour into a programme, start by offering time off and flexible hours. That extra compassion goes a long way in earning employee loyalty and helping keep them at your company (it also creates positive buzz and increases the likelihood of employee referrals).
#2: Prioritise learning and development
Employees want companies to invest in their learning and development as a gesture of good faith and respect. If salary is a hurdle, allocate resources from your upper-level management to train and upskill your current employees. Doing so will foster a sense of fulfillment and career development in your people and motivate them to learn new skills. Encourage collaboration between departments so employees can shadow others or help in other areas of the business they may not interact with on a regular basis. This will touch on the need for employees to grow their careers, and they will be incentivised to stay with you longer.
#3: Prioritise an inclusive culture
There’s a reason diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) has become a top priority. It’s because businesses that actively foster a welcoming environment are attracting top performers. Not only that, but they’re more profitable and innovative than companies that aren’t committed to diversity. What pledges have you made to your employees, and how are you delivering on those promises? Do you have employee resource groups (ERGs) to encourage camaraderie and community in your workforce? If not, what are you waiting for?
#4: Prioritise empathetic leadership
Close-lipped management styles of the past aren’t doing it for millennial and gen z employees. Leading by example, and with compassion, goes a long way toward retaining more employees. Showcasing authentic, honest vulnerability and communication fosters a sense of respect in the workforce and reinforces the fact that you see employees as people and not just a number. Facing everyday tasks with this sense of empathy goes a long way. At its core, employees have a deep motivation to contribute to a bigger picture that aligns with their beliefs and values, so leading with emotional intelligence encourages them to share and expand upon those desires in the business. Often, it results in leaps of innovation and interest.
#5: Prioritise flexibility
Micromanagement is a thing of the past – employees today desire trust to get their jobs done no matter where they’re working. This has become especially apparent for parents and carers of family members who were stretched thin from the pandemic. Hard workers aren’t exclusively those who work the 996 working hours, and we need to be mindful of this when evaluating employees’ performance and working habits. Fostering a culture of trust gives workers a sense of control and ownership in how they map out their day, which reduces everyday pressures and provides time for valuable problem solving, collaboration and more.
Today’s workplaces are more different than they’ve ever been
In APAC and other parts of the world, the need to actively create purpose and a sense of belonging is more urgent than ever before for businesses. People want jobs that are accepting and welcoming — or they will find somewhere that is. Appeal to these priorities and you’re sure to attract top performers to your business and keep your current star workers. It’s more than just a formula — it’s a pledge to do right by your people. And in today’s workforce, that’s more needed than ever.