Worker priorities are changing en masse as we speak. What can you do as an employer in the United Kingdom to maintain that bridge over the chasm of discontent?
The past few years have been nothing short of a roller coaster – this much is true. 2020 was just the beginning.
Since then, we’ve dealt with a seemingly endless pandemic, ongoing political and social upheavals nationally and internationally, the departure of the UK from the EU via the much-maligned Brexit movement, and the biggest invasion of a European country since the Second World War.
That’s not all. There’s also the rise of artificial intelligence as a disruptive and assistive tool in day-to-day work for many and, finally, what feels like an externally impending recession charged with layoffs, restructurings, and considerable dissonance.
It’s all a bit much, is it?
And it impacts the workplace over time. If you asked people five years ago what they want in a job, those answers would be just insanely different from what the answers would be today.
In fact, if you asked workers in 2021 what they want in a job – that would still be different from today, even though it’s barely two years later. Such is how much things have changed in a short time.
To save you the trouble of finding out for yourself, we surveyed 500 UK-based workers in 2021 to gather insights. We did it again in 2023 to continue to understand the changing preferences, aspirations, and values of employees over the last two years.
And now, we have results for you – summed up in four key highlights for hiring teams looking to fill positions right away.
1. Clarity and comp are clear
UK workers really want their roles and responsibilities to be clearer – and that’s growing in importance from 2021. Comp is huge, too.
This reflects an increasing need for straightforward job descriptions and clear expectations of roles. But let’s not overlook the obvious elephant in the room – that being compensation.
Amid economic wackiness and global weirdness, a well-defined role serves as an anchor, whilst a generous salary package acts as a powerful magnet. And remember, compensation isn’t just numbers on a payslip; it’s a tangible marker of an employee’s worth, competencies, and contributions to your business.
As an employer, sit up and take note. Structure your comp packages to align not only with industry benchmarks but also cost of living. This is not a nicety; it’s a necessity for retaining your staff in the long term.
2. Flexy isn’t just sexy; it’s normal
While flexible work options surged during the pandemic, it is now balancing out to a new normal – and it’s becoming more of a permanent option for many employers.
It’s ultimately about personal autonomy and bolstered agency – and a rejuvenated work-life equilibrium. These aren’t just buzzwords anymore; they’re now evolving norms in the workplaces of the UK.
Consider this a baseline expectation along with compensation and clarity among UK professionals. It’s now another element of the industrial yardstick that candidates will measure your company by.
3. The benefits of flex have crystallized
Employees love that they get time and money back from not having to commute – and they feel more productive at work too.
What does that mean? It means that with practice and experience, workers now know what’s so great about having that flexible option in the workplace. Two years ago, some of the benefits were clear – but now, they’ve really crystallized.
For one, the elimination of the daily grind to and from work results in palpable savings in both time and money. Workers are also more productive and happier – it’s a win-win for your employees and for your business.
4. Connect at the core
When considering new employment opportunities, company leadership & culture and relationships with colleagues have grown significantly in importance. Gone are the days when job seekers were solely transfixed on roles and compensation.
In the UK worker mindset, it’s now not just a role – it’s a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of ‘us’.
Evolve your employer value proposition
This is your blueprint – your roadmap – for fostering an internal ecosystem where teams are not just productive but deeply engaged. Adopt it, and you’ll find that you’re not just constructing a workforce; you’re building a robust and resilient community.
Want to learn more? Read the full report for yourself!
Frequently asked questions
- What's changed for UK workers since 2021?
- Since 2021, UK workers have evolved their expectations around role clarity, compensation, flexible work, and company culture. The emphasis has shifted toward a holistic experience, blending personal autonomy with a sense of communal belonging.
- How important is compensation in employee retention?
- Compensation is more crucial than ever. Amid economic uncertainty, a well-structured salary package serves as a powerful anchor and a tangible marker of an employee's worth and contributions.
- Are flexible work options still a trend?
- No longer a temporary trend, flexible work has become a new normal. Personal autonomy and work-life balance are now baseline expectations for UK professionals.
- What are the tangible benefits of flexible work?
- Employees are finding that flexible work offers palpable savings in time and money from eliminated commutes. Moreover, workers report being more productive and happier.
- How can employers adapt to these evolving trends?
- Employers need to adopt a multi-faceted approach that aligns with workers’ changing priorities. This involves structuring clear roles, offering competitive compensation, embracing flexible work, and fostering a strong company culture.