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Recruitment and HR Blog

What employees want in 2021

17th March 2021

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What is it that your employees want from an employer at the moment? What will make a company feel like a great place to work in 2021?

Inevitably the pandemic will have influenced how employees are feeling and shaped their needs as a result. Have you adapted your employee value proposition accordingly?  And while your EVP is what makes your talent stay, it also attracts the best candidates to come and work for you. Your EVP needs to reflect what they’ll be looking for as well. 

So where should you focus your efforts this year to make sure you’re standing out as an employer of choice?

1. Look at ways to support your employees’ wellbeing 


Wellbeing is a word that’s cropping up a lot at the moment. And, in all honesty, it’s easy to become a bit desensitised to it. But we cannot stress enough how important it is to devote time to considering what you can do to make your employees feel cared for and supported. 

Knowing what steps to take can feel a bit overwhelming. But actually there are some quite straightforward things you can do to help employees and to make wellbeing part of your culture. Create a wellbeing programme that isn’t a stand-alone activity but instead becomes part of everyday working life. Remind employees to pay attention to their physical health through exercise, nutrition, hydration and sleep. Support mental wellbeing by creating a sense of social connection: something that’s particularly important at the moment when people might be feeling cut off from one another. Even just making time for some small talk during your online meetings can help strengthen those bonds. Coach managers to equip them with skills to better support their team, including those struggling with workloads or focus. You could look at whether external resources – for example, wellbeing apps like Headspace – could play a part too.

2. Be flexible with your working arrangements


What suits one employee won’t necessarily suit another. That’s why, as far as is operationally possible, the more flexibility you can offer your employees the better. 

That includes opportunities for remote working but isn’t limited to it. Flexi-working is all about helping employees work as efficiently and effectively as possible in a way that enables them to achieve a positive work-life balance. It could include providing things like greater choice over core hours perhaps, allowing employees to fit their work around other responsibilities, or offering compressed hours or a job share arrangement. One size won’t fit all so the key here is to think as broadly as you can to find a balance that suits both your company and the employee.

3. Provide emotional support for employees working from home


Even though there are positive signs that we’re getting on top of the pandemic, we’re a long way from reaching the point of a full return to the workplace for everyone. That means that for many people, home working needs to continue. 

And for some, home working might even become part of their longer-term working arrangements, even once the need to do it because of the pandemic has stopped. Businesses have changed the way they work and that will have implications for the near future. For some employees, home working could be something they are keen to continue doing. Companies need to start thinking about the issues this could create, including how best to manage employees when some are in the office and others are at home. 
It’s really important for companies to appreciate that every employee will react differently to the experience of homeworking. During the pandemic some will have flourished, some might have just about coped, and some might have really struggled. Companies should recognise this and look at ways to offer different levels of emotional support to their employees. 

It could be as simple as line managers regularly calling team members to see how they are. Knowing their manager genuinely cares can be a huge source of reassurance and lets people talk through how they’re coping. It’s a chance to let employees know their efforts in these difficult circumstances are being recognised and appreciated too. 

But more support might be needed by some. You might want to consider rolling out a programme based on resources such as this homeworking toolkit from mental health charity MIND.  It might be appropriate to offer professional help such as counselling through dedicated employee assistance programmes. Different options will suit different circumstances so it’s important to provide a range of support where possible. 

4. Provide as much job security as you can


One issue weighing heavily on many employees’ minds at the moment is job security. This isn’t a straightforward one to resolve: even in a strong economy, companies can face difficult times that can have consequences for employees. Most employees appreciate employers can’t offer guarantees around ongoing employment prospects but there are things you can do to help them feel more secure. Employees need to be treated decently and fairly and that includes avoiding practices such as engaging them on zero-hour contracts or regularly cancelling shifts at the last minute which can cause financial stress and upset.

5. Promote your employee value proposition both internally and externally


How well are you promoting the positive things your company does as part of its employee value proposition? Are your employees aware of everything that’s in place for them? Make sure they know about, and are getting the most from, the support and benefits that are available.

Consider what you’re presenting to the outside world (and potential applicants) too. What can you share through your social media channels, on your website and through career pages? While communicating the more tangible parts of your employee value proposition (like the benefits package) is easier, an authentic external EVP needs to show other aspects like culture, purpose and values too so think about how it’s coming across. Don’t be shy about promoting the great stuff you’re doing! 

Experienced HR professional Helene Simmons commentedWith candidates hesitant to move or only for a stellar opportunity, hirers need to shout about their organisations USP; culture, flexibility in work location/hours, employee benefits, local community involvement, learning and development offer, environmental credentials. What differentiates your organisation? Ask your current employees what they value the most.

And remember your own employees are your best EVP brand ambassadors. Thanks to social media and employer review sites like Glassdoor, we live in a transparent world. If you’re doing all the right things to take care of your employees, that message will permeate out and feed into your company’s reputation as being a great place to work.

Here at JVP we know how hard you work to create an amazing workplace where your employees are engaged, motivated, and feel valued. It’s why we’re so passionate about employer brands, because we know the difference it can make when it comes to attracting the best talent. 

To discover how our employer branded job advertising and recruitment marketing solutions will help you to quickly attract the best people, whilst removing the hassle and high costs from the recruitment process, call the JVP Group team on 01745 774 955, or click here to schedule a 20-minute free consultation call.