Of all the presents you could receive this holiday season, an engaged workforce is among the most exciting and elusive. Something remarkable happens when employees feel supported and understood, and the relationship between worker and employer grows stronger and merrier. Great employee engagement ignites a spark. Workers form a deeper connection to the organization, increasing retention rates, and take more pride in their work. This motivation spurs higher productivity, leading to more profitability, giving companies a reason to rejoice. However, a common problem prevents organizations from realizing this splendor—the disconnect between what leaders think employees want and what they actually want.
Often, many companies assume that giving more money to unhappy employees is the answer without taking the time to understand the problem. But this thinking can have devastating effects on your business. Gallup's 2021 State of the Global Workplace report discovered that only 20% of employees are engaged at work. The statistic is enough to damper anyone's jolly spirit. The reality is that most employees don't feel heard.
87% of the global workforce wants their organizations to do more to listen to their needs, according to the 2021 AI@Work Study. Unsupported, disengaged employees do the bare minimum to keep collecting a paycheck and never truly form an attachment to the company. As we see with the Great Resignation, workers are committed to their happiness and total wellbeing, and many will switch employers to fulfill these needs.
Leaders must recognize the shift in how employees define success following the tribulations of the pandemic. Now, 42% see achieving work-life balance as a critical component, while 37% are focused on their mental health, and 33% of workers believe having flexibility over when and where they work is key to success. Executives may be shocked to learn nearly three out of 10 employees say having a meaningful job contributes more to their definition of success than a steady paycheck. Money isn't always the answer, and over half of workers are willing to give up compensation or vacation time for the thing they want most—career development opportunities.
Employees want to learn new skills and advance their education, earn a promotion or raise, and take on new roles within their company, among other things. More than ever, workers want to take the reins and steer their careers, with 83% ready to make changes over the next year. But 76% of workers face obstacles and expect their employers to help them overcome those challenges.
Understanding your employees' motivations and desires is paramount to building a lasting relationship. Ask your people what they want and listen. You can leverage various types of surveys, one-on-one conversations between managers and employees, and exit interview feedback to capture trends and learn about your workforce's needs. Next, take the critical step of implementing what you've learned by strategically investing in areas that make a difference to your workers.
The global 2021 AI@Work Study also revealed how serious employees are about developing their careers. Companies can help workers regain control by using Oracle Learning, a part of Oracle Cloud HCM. Employees access a personalized homepage to review and complete learning recommendations based on identified skills gaps or other criteria such as employee engagement history, current work history, or career goals. A personalized learning experience allows workers to feel confident that they're developing the right skills to achieve their career goals and aspirations.
Good tidings come to companies who treat their employees like customers. By taking the time to understand their needs and delivering resolutions that address their problems directly, organizations forge meaningful relationships with their workers that translate into an engaged, connected workforce and all the business benefits that come with it. But if you stay frosty, don't be surprised if your people decide to build a snowman with someone else.
Read the ebook "Back in the Driver's Seat: Employees Use Tech to Regain Control" to learn more about how employee needs have shifted and how you can better support your workforce.
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Amber is the Senior Content Marketing Manager, HCM Global Campaigns. She's passionate about writing, dogs, lifting others, and personal growth.