Today's Workforce Has New Priorities - Are You Prepared?

A recent conference hosted by From Day One brought together leading thinkers and top executives with expertise in various areas including human resources, benefits, and employee engagement. 

The one-day event explored topics affecting today’s workforce and how work environments and cultures have changed. During a panel titled “How HR Leaders Can Focus on the Whole Lives of Workers–and Boost Productivity Too,” leaders from various industries including retail, finance, and transportation shared their perspectives on employee well-being and how to balance new priorities like flexibility while still maintaining productivity and performance.  

There were three recurring themes throughout the discussion: 

  • Prioritizing employee needs
  • Clear communication
  • Ensuring that employees can find meaning and purpose in their work

Prioritizing Employee Needs

The pandemic has brought about significant changes and challenges for the workforce including remote work, increased stress and burnout, and heightened concerns about health and safety. There has been a shift in how many people approach their work lives with a new emphasis on work-life balance. Employers must consider flexible work arrangements, mental health resources and support, and opportunities for professional development and growth to keep their top talent. When they do prioritize employee needs, it leads to a more engaged and productive workforce, improved retention rates, and a stronger organizational culture that values the well-being and success of its employees. 

Focusing on Clear Communication

According to the panelists, employees are happier and more productive when they are confident their employer is looking out for them and is listening to their unique needs. Employee satisfaction improves when employers work to understand needs and clearly communicate how they are working to meet them. One panelist shared how she regularly schedules time to meet with her team in a more social way to build stronger relationships, learn about them outside of Zoom calls, and gain a clearer understanding about their motivations and desires. New work arrangements require a high level of trust and the ability to have honest, direct conversations, and that starts with effective and proactive communication.

Ensuring Meaning and Purpose at Work

Employees have changed after COVID-19, which took so many lives and left such an indelible impact. Where compensation used to be the top job consideration for employees, now they are motivated by a sense of purpose. Employers can foster engagement, motivation, and fulfillment in this new era by providing opportunities for employees to connect with the purpose of their work and to understand how their individual contributions contribute to the larger goals of the organization. This can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction, improved employee retention rates, and a more productive and innovative workforce. It is more important than ever before to provide opportunities for professional development, recognize and reward employee achievements, and create a supportive and inclusive work environment that values the contributions of all employees.

Rediscovering Community

The overall theme of the conference was focused on rediscovering community, which was particularly relevant as workforces navigate returning to the office, hybrid work arrangements, fully remote work, and no doubt many other iterations of the modern approach to work. The idea of where we work is evolving, but we still need the sense of belonging, the opportunity to collaborate and innovate, and most importantly feel connected to our work. It’s exciting to see a renewed focus on community and finding our purpose at work.

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