What Employees Want in 2023

In today’s workplace, the talent is in the driver’s seat. With labor forces shrinking, a tight job market means that employers need to listen to employees. While it’s tough keeping every employee satisfied, employers must understand what their employees want (and need) to work at their very best. Here are the top 7 things employees want in 2023.

1. Hybrid flexibility

The era of hybrid work for desk-based employees is here to stay, and more and more professionals are looking for flexibility. Not only do employees want stability and control over their work schedule and their work environment, they also want more of a say in what they work on and who they work with.

Hybrid work greatly improves the overall employee experience. Embracing this working model provides the flexibility employees want, while still providing space for occasional in-person brainstorming, mentoring, and socializing. While in-office collaboration remains important, giving employees wiggle room to work when and where they want is critical when employers are seeking today’s top talent to fill critical roles.

Keep in mind that hybrid lives somewhere between on-site and fully remote. Today’s employees appreciate the middle ground, because it gives them the flexibility to work off-site when they want to or come into a workspace as-needed.

2. A human-centered approach

As the world continues to shake off the mental health challenges caused by the pandemic—and the economic, political, and societal changes it brought—employees want their employers to see them as a whole person. Rather than simply creating and employer-employee relationship, employees want employers to implement programs and initiatives that fulfill meaningful human needs. In 2023 and beyond, employers could implement:

  • Paid time off programs. Proactive rest helps employees maintain performance and emotional resilience. Proactive employers could offer paid time off as a maintenance solution rather than a recovery one, providing PTO before high demand working periods, holidays, etc.
  • Open communication. Employers should consider providing discussion opportunities, giving employees space to work through challenges and difficult topics with openness and encouragement.
  • Counseling opportunities. Whether on-site or off-site, employers should provide counseling opportunities to give employees the support they need to tackle workplace conflict and provide a judgment-free space to have difficult conversations.

3. Commitment to diversity

Today’s organizations are elevating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts to attract top talent and create equitable workplaces. Hiring a more diverse workforce helps businesses attract younger job seekers. According to a recent study, nearly 80% of employees simply want to work for a company that values different perspectives. Employees who are satisfied with their employers DEI efforts are happier with their jobs—they’re more likely to stay and advance their careers, and even are more likely to feel they’re paid fairly for the work they do.

4. Transparency

Employees want to work for companies that make them feel valued, and one of the ways organizations can make their employees feel this sentiment is by prioritizing open, honest communication. Today’s employees want creative freedom to communicate their ideas, and they want to feel encouraged by their supervisors to express them. They also want open, honest, and insightful feedback for their contributions.

Engaged employees feel empowered to express their opinion. Not only does this drive participation and collaboration, it also makes goal-setting an inclusive process. Regardless of what industry you’re in, both employers and employees don’t want to clock in and feel as if they’re just another cog in the wheel. By providing plenty of opportunities for presenting ideas and discussion, employers can show that each worker contributes to the overall strategy and success of the company.

5. Career advancement

Professional development coincides with today’s worker’s desire for transparency. Young professionals are aiming higher than ever—they have their sights set on career development, whether they’ve just entered the workforce or they’re already in mid-level positions. From training and mentorship to networking opportunities, employers must provide opportunities for development and transparency with each employee regarding where they stand and what they need to do to move forward.

6. Creative benefits packages

Everyone’s feeling the effects of inflation, and today’s job seekers are looking for better compensation to cover it. Employees have always sought out new roles across industries because they want better pay, but increasing salaries isn’t always practical for companies. Instead, they’re offering creative compensation packages that bolster more traditional benefits. Even if it’s not a direct increase in salary, some benefits and perks that are attracting today’s young professionals include:

  • Better health insurance coverage, including mental health care
  • Better maternity and paternity leave, including for new pet moms and dads
  • Free lunch and snacks in industries where it’s not the norm
  • Commuter benefits like transportation reimbursement or free parking

7. Consistent support

No matter who you are or what industry you work in, everyone works harder when they feel supported, and that they’re in a safe, respectful environment. By creating a culture of consistent support that values all employees, organizations can create a workplace that’s open, fair, and fosters loyalty.

Businesses should cultivate company leadership who aren’t afraid to talk about tough issues, from the gender pay gap to sexual harassment, mental health and more. It’s not enough to provide this support in the office—it should extend outside of the workplace. Today’s professionals stake a piece of their own identity into the companies they work for. Promoting community activism, service opportunities, and corporate stewardship programs shows that their employer makes socially conscious decisions that benefit the communities and people they serve.

Listen to what employees want in 2023 and beyond

Across the world, companies are projected to have more jobs than there are employees to fill them. In short, a tight labor supply continues to elevate the individual employee’s bargaining power in 2023 and beyond. From workplace flexibility to community involvement, employees want more from their jobs and the companies they support than ever before. By fostering meaningful work, a flexible environment, and strong relationships, organizations can make themselves more attractive to today’s employees, ensuring long-term growth and success.

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