The future of work has definitely undergone a large amount of changes since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. And while some companies seem to be getting the hang of this ongoing work revolution, some others are now repelling candidates and former employees by making all the wrong moves.
With 9.2 million jobs opening and new opportunities on the rise and about 4 million people quitting their jobs back in April, you’d think companies would have no problem getting top talent to their doorstep. However, with striking revelations about remote work and a new take on work life balance, candidates are now reassessing their priorities, including corporate perks.
Here’s where some companies are going wrong about their employees’ needs, and examples of corporate perks candidates are setting their eyes on.
Companies suffering the effects of The Great Resignation have one thing in common: they are holding on to the past. Poorly managed return-to-office policies have definitely triggered their turnover rates since 52% of employed Americans would rather work from home permanently.
But it’s not just about staying remote. Candidates who have either quit or are planning on leaving their jobs are surprised to see job offers with low salaries and high demands, which is how these companies reacted to the pandemic.
Let’s not forget that a large amount of the population was furloughed or laid off throughout the first months of the pandemic, and many companies did their best to keep as many people as possible by lowering wages. The question is: should those salaries get raised?
There are definitely many companies who are still financially recovering and might be offering all they can, but what makes job seekers turn away is the new demands in qualifications from some of those job posts. Some positions ask for “near perfect” candidates who can take over a two-person job.
So, with high performers getting low-balled into 9-to-5 office jobs with added commuting time, no wonder top talent is hesitant to jump headfirst into an old-fashioned mess.
Now, even with mending the salary and requirements issues, some companies are still missing the mark when it comes to employee engagement. Especially those who want to bring their workforce back to the office.
Some company leaders have decided to make the office fun and attractive so that employees enjoy their time there. From your typical free snack and food coupons to Friday’s live music sessions. However, candidates and employees are wondering, is it worth the bargain?
This is not to say that these are bad ideas, throw a hybrid model into the mix and it’s likely your local workforce won’t mind coming back. But there are more things at play than making the office a better place. It’s also about what they are giving up. So, what do employees really want? Or better yet, what do they need?
Here are some of the work benefits candidates are looking for in 2021:
This is still the number one reason why people feel the need to go from employees to job seekers. Very much like the companies, candidates took a pretty big hit to their finances and are now looking for better financial stability and the ability to grow a savings account for emergencies.
What used to be one of those perks at work that made companies slightly more attractive, is now growing into a must in a work-life balance context. Priorities have shifted and people need to make room for their health, personal projects, and, more importantly, their loved ones.
So many people moved back to their hometowns during the pandemic, while others decided to live as digital nomads and embrace the laptop lifestyle. One thing is for sure, none of them plan to move back, at least not permanently. Candidates want the opportunity to keep choosing not just where they live but their entire lives.
As a result of the pandemic, many companies started including wellness subscriptions as part of their benefits package, which includes physical and mental health. Peloton, the fitness company best known for its treadmills and bikes, made news when large companies like Accenture and Samsung started subsidizing access to their digital fitness program and equipment.
Companies that are going full-remote work or adopting a hybrid model should offer stipends or reimbursement for home office equipment which, in the eyes of candidates, should at least cover their laptops as well as the software or tools required to get the job done. Some companies are now also including stipends for ergonomic office chairs and desks.
Something that is definitely catching the eye of potential candidates is companies’ training programs or grants to further advance their skills. Candidates staying in their area or industry have their eyes set on upskilling and getting even better in their fields. While those switching careers are looking for jobs that include a reskilling program so they can get the hang of it.
For at least one whole year, people mostly stayed indoors dealing with the stress of uncertainty. This also gave them time to think about all the time they spent being productive and how they gave themselves little time to replenish and actually enjoy life. Companies who understand this are now offering more paid time off, and some are even discussing adopting a 4-day-week model.
Overall, time is the one factor that has become more precious, more specifically, what we can do with it. There are candidates who don’t just want to but need to stay at home so that they can take care of their families. However, if companies really want to take it a step further, they might want to rethink how to extend company perks to the employees’ families through childcare and eldercare programs.
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