It’s no secret that the world of work is changing. We’ve been talking about the evolving workplace for years. But something about ringing in the new decade—a new era—makes the future of work seem closer than ever.
Employee needs and desires have shifted. Workers who once clung to the idea of full-time employment are less willing to compromise family and leisure time for their careers. Flexible work schedules are no longer an added benefit but an expectation. And for many workers, not even a hefty raise can compensate for an unsatisfying or “bare minimum” benefits package.
Businesses have to adapt if they hope to hold on to their best workers in 2020 and beyond. Offering employees the benefits they actually want not only boosts employee retention but makes it easier to recruit and hire top talent in a competitive market. Plus, we don’t have to tell you that happy employees are productive employees.
With that, here are three things you can do to stand out when it comes to benefits, scheduling, and workplace flexibility. Take on the new year with 2020 vision.
1. Understand What Employees Value Most
Are your employees unhappy with your benefits package? Recent research suggests they might be. 39 percent of employees say they’re dissatisfied with their employer’s benefits offerings, according to a 2019 employee benefits report.
Only 6 percent of employees say their employers go “above and beyond” when it comes to employee benefits. Another 29 percent say their company only offers the bare minimum. The majority of employees would take a better benefits package (one that includes more PTO, better health coverage, or greater scheduling flexibility) over a 5% raise.
While supplementary benefits are nice to have, 41 percent of employees say they wouldn’t consider working for a company that didn’t at least provide the need-to-have benefits. Things like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans are a must.
Of the employees who looked for a new job in the past year, the majority sought better benefits. Meanwhile, 1 in 5 happy employees says their great benefits package is what makes them love their job.
As you take on the new decade, remember that a competitive benefits package can be the difference between a stepping-stone job and a lifelong career. At the very least, core benefits are a must-have if you hope to retain, recruit, and attract key talent.
Of course, pay matters too. For more than 2 in 5 workers, salary is a critical factor in deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, according to a 2019 payroll survey. Meanwhile, of the employees who looked for a job in the last year, 43 percent believed they could make more money elsewhere. And 35% of job seekers started their search for a better salary.
The good news is that when it comes to pay and benefits, 80 percent of employees weigh the whole package (salary and benefits). So a competitive benefits offering could compensate for a lower salary.
What you can do learn more about what your employees want:
- Use smart salary tools like LinkedIn Salary, Glassdoor, PayScale, and more to increase transparency around compensation packages within your company. Then compare your pay and benefits package to market rates.
- Implement regular employee “pulse” surveys to gauge employee happiness, engagement, and satisfaction with their pay and benefits.
- Take advantage of modern benefits offerings like online career development opportunities through Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. These affordable perks might be what you need to boost your benefits package from “bare minimum” to “above and beyond.”
2. Build Schedules That Work for Your Workers
Employees who have consistent schedules are more likely to stick around for the long haul than employees whose schedules are more erratic. And while consistent work schedules are preferred, only 59 percent of employees get them, according to a 2019 scheduling survey.
One in 4 employees says their schedule changes from day to day, leaving little room to plan social activities or spend time on hobbies. Nearly 1 in 5 believe their schedules impact their health and wellness negatively — making them miss out on sleep and time with loved ones. 41 percent say they would choose a different schedule if they could. Workers with rotating shifts are particularly impacted by perpetually changing schedules.
Unfortunately, when it comes to employee work schedules, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Most employees prefer weekends off, but nearly 1 in 4 would prefer to have their days off fall on weekdays. 22 percent of employees say that prioritizing sleep is the most important factor when it comes to building their work schedule. However, employees who believe their schedule has a negative impact on their health say the worst part is missing time with loved ones.
At the end of the day, the best way to build schedules that work for employees is to ask employees what they need from their work schedules. Having at least some control over schedules boosts worker satisfaction, increases productivity, and improves employee career outlook.
What you can do to build better schedules:
- Revisit your company policies around flexible scheduling, and ask employees what works best for them. Ask questions about scheduling practices in your employee pulse survey for unfiltered feedback.
- Invest in smart scheduling tools that make building, editing, and publishing consistent employee schedules easier and more efficient.
3. Adopt New Trends That are Changing the Workday
Flexible, remote work is on the rise. Today, 65 percent of business owners say between two and 20 of their employees work remotely some of the time, according to a 2019 remote worker survey.
Offering employees the ability to work remotely helps attract experienced workers who might require more time for themselves or their families. Across the board, employees agree that flexible work hours and remote options add serious value to any job. But as more employees campaign for the option to work from home, employers continue to question how much work employees are getting done. And rightfully so.
77 percent of remote employees admit they sometimes or always take care of personal tasks throughout the workday. And it’s not impacting their work negatively. Business owners see the opposite effect.
The majority of employers rate the performance of their remote workers as “above average.” Employees and employers agree that remote workers are highly productive, compared to their in-office counterparts. Most remote workers believe their bosses trust them to work independently. And 99 percent of employers agree they always or at least sometimes trust their remote employees to get the job done.
If you’re considering offering work-from-home opportunities in the new decade, these policies have their challenges, but productivity isn’t one of them.
Remote workers struggle with missing out on important social interactions, feeling isolated from their teams, and, unsurprisingly, slow internet. Many of them believe they get overlooked for promotions and are left out of decision-making conversations. To combat these issues, employers may invest in collaborative tools to keep teams connected and communicating, as well as high-speed internet access.
As always, employers hoping to develop a remote work policy should make arrangements with workers individually, rather than implementing blanket policies.
What you can do to keep up with workplace trends:
- Invest in digital collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, or BlueJeans to combat feelings of separation remote workers may feel.
- Consider supplying the technology—cell phones, laptops, and yes, internet service—your remote workers need to do their jobs.
- Use an automated time tracking system to see when remote workers are on the clock and what they’re working on. This team insight can increase that oh-so-important trust between remote employees and their employers.
Hindsight is 2020
Gone are the days of 9-to-5 work schedules and 40-hour workweeks. Employees are prioritizing a healthy work-life balance over career-driven lifestyles. So employers must evolve how they manage and schedule employees—or be left in the dust of the new decade.
Modern benefits packages, personalized scheduling practices, and flexible work options have obvious employee benefits, but these changes pay dividends for employers too.