This year we’ve surveyed over 6,500 professionals in the market right now on their opinions about flexibility, benefits and the modern workplace. Their answers tell us a lot about what should be a priority for leaders as well as solidifying the trends constantly in discussion.
88% of respondents told us that culture is crucial for their job search with 38% saying that would choose an organisation with a fantastic culture over a job offer paying more.
Whilst culture is multi-faceted, most of the conversations we’ve been having suggest that people regard flexibility as an intrinsic part of an organisation’s culture of trust and removal from old school methods of managing via presenteeism and micromanagement.
This is something our team have noticed in droves with Director, Alison Livesey noting, ‘culture used to be something that was an addendum to our conversations with people in the job market. Now it’s how we lead our conversations and job adverts – candidates seem to be more comfortable turning down opportunities that won’t suit their lives or that they perceive to be in organisations unsuitable to their cultural expectations.’
FLEXIBILITY VS SALARY
Whilst people voted almost unanimously that culture was key to their job searches, people managers also cited quality of connectivity as the most difficult part of culture to maintain whilst working remotely (42%).
This suggests that businesses know that investment into culture is key, especially in a more flexible working scenario and are putting real emphasis on developing it. From our research, we would suggest that the benefits that people are most interested in investment towards are; four day working weeks (75%), sign on bonuses (11%), ongoing mental health support (7%), extra leave for personal life events (7%).
Whilst four day working weeks are the clear frontrunner, it seems to be more about the flexibility that that structure offers rather than the reduced hours as many people suggested they would be happy to work condensed days or simply have complete flexibility over their working week. With 67% of people saying they would choose flexibility over a salary 10% above market rate (33%).
Alison, Director at Better Placed says, ‘again this is a huge shift in the conversations we’re having. Pre-2020 people would always take larger salary packages but now priorities have shifted in a dramatic fashion. The benefits of time and balance became abundantly clear during the various lockdown and wfh periods and businesses who do not pivot quickly will lose staff in the most talent short market the UK has ever seen.’
HESITANCY TO CHANGE
When professionals were asked why they think leaders are hesitant to trial flexibility initiatives such as four-day weeks over half (52%) listed fear of the unknown as the main reason over more tangible aspects such as reduced output (27%) and less availability for clients and customers (19%).
This is especially interesting when the output and work produced in full lockdowns is analysed as almost all businesses we speak to state that work quantity and quality either stayed stable or increased during these periods. The fear element is therefore emotional and not rooted in facts. This ultimately means it can be addressed within leadership teams who can work to find solutions to trial different working styles and gather regular feedback to iterate towards a solution that mitigates fear but also delivers cultural benefits for all employees.
Alison says, ‘we’re having conversations with leaders everyday about their working practices, how they’ve developed and what seems to work best so we’re poised as a true partner to guide businesses through the challenges that fear, and uncertainty bring up. The businesses that move and iterate fastest are seeing very real benefits as well as being able to hire and retain the best staff in a market dominated by choice.’
If you’re looking to grow your leadership team and want people who can accelerate change, get in touch with us today to discuss your positioning and how we can help.