No matter the scope of work or task at hand, even the most rudimentary and menial of work roles involve people. We’re not machines, after all. We want to like what we do, and we want to like the people we’re spending some 40-odd hours of our weeks with.
In our Great Discontent survey of 750 workers in the United States, we found that the ‘community’ of the workplace is very important to workers – more so than the externally facing aspects of a company such as their reputation and even their contribution to society at large.
Let’s take a deeper look at what the data shows us.
How important is workplace community?
When we asked what elements of an employer would attract respondents to a new opportunity, the number-one factor picked by respondents is their relationship with colleagues and teammates (37.1%) followed by overall company culture (34.7%).
Close behind are management and executive leadership (33.1%) and responsiveness to individual employees (31.3%).
At the bottom of that list are social / environmental / DEI engagement at just 13% and brand reputation at 16.4%. Respondents are even lukewarm when it comes to a company’s mission / vision / values (25.3%). Which may come as a bit of a surprise, considering the growth in social awareness and activism in recent years – one would think this would also translate into the workplace.
But there’s a potential explanation: the lower value placed on those more value-driven aspects of a business shows that people aren’t as attracted to those elements of a prospective employer as they are by their relationships with others in the workplace – be they colleagues or management.
“The workplace I’m in has a great foundation of workers; we all contribute and support each other and have nothing but encouraging words to say to each other.”
This makes sense, especially since respondents were asked to choose three from this list. It shows what they prioritize in an employer. People want to work well with others, and they want to work in a healthy company culture with capable leaders and managers. They like a healthy workplace community.
“Yes. Strong leaders have strong teams. Never start somewhere that’s already, or constantly in disarray. You can’t jump on a sinking ship to save them.”
How important is employee experience?
The same rings true when asking the question about what employees would like to see improved for a better employee experience in their current capacity, with some additional insights.
Management and executive leadership tops the list (38.7%) followed by responsiveness of a company to individual employees (37%). Again, the externally facing and brand-related elements rank at the bottom of what employers can do to better the working lives of their employees.
This indicates that it’s not just about relationships and workplace community – it’s also the sense of feeling like you’re an important part of the company as a whole. We all like to turn to our leaders for guidance and inspiration; it’s a common facet of human life.
And we like to be listened to; if our voices are heard, and in turn, acted on, that is a very powerful thing.
“I think a workplace should be transparent and the executives should interact with employees more and let them know what is going on instead of sending an email.”