Employee trends and priorities in 2024
2023 was a tumultuous year across the globe for our economies, employees, and employers alike. Employment trends have come thick and fast throughout 2023 and as we return from our end-of-year breaks refreshed and hopeful in achieving our resolutions for the year ahead, let’s take a look at some of the themes that have filled our feeds and some key considerations for 2024 in the pursuit of skilled talent.
Some suggest this is employees’ response to the Sunday Scaries and a way of easing into the week by focusing on less complex tasks, whilst other suggest it’s a wellbeing technique used by employees to lower stress and reduce pressure.
A report recently published by Gallup suggested that 67 % of ANZ employees were, “quiet quitting”. This doesn’t necessarily mean they intend to quit, but that they felt less engaged or somewhat disconnected to the organisational purpose and overall strategy.
Return to Office Mandates
It started slowly with a few articles about the possibility of returning to the office, then gathered speed, which led to some of Australia’s largest employers mandating a return to the office. Some mandated a percentage of time, others a number of days …. Needless to say, cue the coffee badging – see below…
On first glance, this sounded a bit like the old school notion of presenteeism whereby employees showed up regardless because time in office or face time was valued. However, on closer inspection, “Coffee Badging” is a direct response to the more recent RTO (return to office) mandates from some employers, whereby employees come to the office, grab a coffee, make their presence known and then head off to a more suitable working environment for the work they need to do that day – typically, home.
This trend, like many, sprung up via TikTok in 2023 amongst Gen Z and Millennial employees in response to workplace frustrations – some report being passed over for promotion, some not receiving an expected bonus among other reasons. Whilst it may feel like you’re taking back control at the time, take a moment to consider how this reaction may impact your professional reputation over time and perhaps have an open discussion with your employer to learn more as to the why.
We could keep going but you can see the pattern here, employees are feeling increasingly stressed. Interest rate rises in Australia mean increased financial pressure; we’re seeing varying degrees of employee engagement and working preferences mean employers need to adjust to keep pace with the employee and candidate market.
Candidate and employee priorities this year
Post pandemic we have seen a fundamental shift in our working world, not just because of the need to pivot how and where work was done due to COVID, but our workforce demographics have and will continue to change. By 2025, Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce coupled with 10,000+ baby boomers reaching the age of 65 daily, and potentially moving out of the workforce. Seek’s Laws of Attraction Report highlighted the top priorities for candidates and employees today are:
- Work-Life Balance,
- Salary & Compensation,
- Working Environment, and
So, what should leaders and employers be doing right now to ensure they are speaking directly to the needs of both candidates and employees in 2024. Here are some tips as we head into 2024:
Make sure to check in
Check in with your people, in person where possible, but make it meaningful and practice active listening. Perhaps share some of your highlights / lowlights of the year and ask your team member to do the same, chat about holiday plans, what excites you for the year ahead with this team member.
Build a strong EVP
Review your EVP from the perspective of employees and candidates and ask yourself, is it grounded in reality for where your organisation is today? Does your EVP include the critical elements for the talent you want to attract and retain?
Know your audience
With four generations currently in the workforce, try to avoid a “one size fits all” approach to your EVP – because just like dress sizes “one size does not fit all”. Tailor key elements of the offering to your audience.
Promote a work-life balance
Flex your flexible working options at every stage of the employee life cycle. From job advert, to interviews and during regular employee check ins, ensuring your people feel supported as they move through life stages – think 4-day work weeks, flex hours, work from anywhere. Personalisation is critical when it comes to flexibility, so don’t be afraid to ask your people what works for them.
Consider compensation and benefits
Transparency is key. We know it’s not only about the about the salary, so consider benefits such as wellbeing allowance, all leave related allowances including additional purchased leave, salary sacrificing, novated leasing, parental leave. Benefits can significantly increase employee engagement and ease the financial strain for all.
Lead with empathy
Leaders who can lead with empathy will be one of any organisation’s superpowers as we continue to face a constantly changing environment. Employees today place significant importance on the ability to express themselves openly, embracing differences, and sharing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s essential leaders have the right training and support to express empathy, foster open communication and demonstrate awareness for employees’ emotional and mental wellbeing.
2024 is set to be another year of volatility and uncertainty, so stay tuned for some of the next workplace shifts set to impact your people in 2024 (gender pay gaps, increased AI in the workplace, skills-based hiring, etc.).
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