The importance of employee satisfaction in a flexible working world

Businesses must recognise that salary and job title are no longer the only deciding factors when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, says Joanna Kori

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Operational models have undergone a significant shift in recent years – fuelled by the global pandemic – as businesses have adapted from largely in-person working to hybrid or, in some cases, fully remote working. This shift has brought new employee expectations of the workplace to the fore, demanding fresh methods of managing personnel.

The ‘Great Resignation’ represented a culmination of evolving practices and expectations, seen by a stark rise in people quitting and changing jobs, in part as a result of employers’ inability to keep up with shifting trends. A recent Work Reimagined Survey by EY revealed that 43 per cent of employees were considering leaving their current job in the near future, highlighting the struggles businesses are facing when it comes to retaining staff.

We must now accept that working environments have changed for good and, increasingly, flexibility wins over compensation, as it moves from a benefit to a core expectation as a result of the pandemic. Employers must now ensure employee satisfaction is top of the agenda by offering true flexible work arrangements, or risk losing staff, for whom salary and job title are no longer the sole deciding factors.

Organisational purpose

In the work-from-anywhere world, employees can become more segmented than ever, increasing the emphasis on factors such as organisational purpose, company culture and sustainability initiatives as part of the overall experience. 

The purpose of an organisation is of growing importance, and each firm must define its individual purpose to engage its staff. 

Working for a company that aligns with personal beliefs is also an important aspect of employee satisfaction, with research indicating that nearly half (46 per cent) of employees are considering leaving their company because it does not adequately exemplify the values they personally hold.

My organisation, Encompass, has experience of an ethical purpose empowering staff, often resulting in greater productivity, to the benefit of the business. This should be combined with factors such as team collaboration and a healthy work-life balance to ensure employees stay motivated, and subsequently able to perform at their best. 

Company culture: recruitment and training

Company culture plays a vital role in today’s workplace – or rather, company re-culturing, which connects with strategy and purpose in our post-pandemic workplace. This should be reflected in the recruitment process through to onboarding and, indeed, continue after years in a role. Cultivating a positive and productive environment can have a transformational impact on a business, and the evolution of working models represents the perfect time for organisations to reassess where they are succeeding, and where there is room to grow.

Personal development and progression opportunities are also central to an employee’s journey with an organisation, so it is important that businesses both acknowledge and support employee growth. With an increasing number of companies embarking on digital transformation journeys, training around new technologies is essential for improving day-to-day engagement and outcomes for staff. Further to this, with generative AI knocking on the door of education, customer service and marketing, we need to be prepared for more roles to become an integration of human and automation.

Businesses must be flexible when it comes to the training needs of employees, providing support in the form of internal and external training courses, as well as clearly outlining progression paths to keep staff motivated and reaching for achievable goals. 

People are always looking to invest in themselves so if an organisation offers investment in its staff, through training, technology and other means, then they are more likely to join, as well as stay longer term.

Employee satisfaction in the modern workplace

The pandemic has been a driving force in changing employee perceptions of the workplace, with factors such as economic uncertainty and climate change further influencing expectations around purpose, culture and wider initiatives. 

Candidates have their sights set on job satisfaction, fulfilment and transparency, and regular sharing of plans and strategies for the future is crucial as businesses move forward.

Organisations must also be transparent about their staff development plans and opportunities, while continually developing the overall experience to match evolving expectations. 

Focusing on building a flexible business that delivers a high-quality employee experience, from working models to technology and training, increases the likelihood of hiring and retaining talent, which will ultimately power success.

Joanna Kori is head of people at Encompass Corporation