If you read the broadsheets and supplements, it won’t have escaped your notice how much chatter is going on right now about the future of the workplace. Employers are exploring the notion that employees are not disposable commodities, but instead long-term assets to the company as well as individuals who need constant nurturing and development. My London Works has a mission next year to walk the flag and encourage both employees and employers to push for positive change. Making change happen is our resolution – not just for 2016 – but ongoingly, unconditionally and with passion. The good news is that four in every ten employees today are keen to see progression in the workplace. They are already showing signs of pushing for the kinds of positive change we want to see in all workplaces across the capital.
So what does this mean if you are living and working in London?
The economic forecast for new employees in London 2016 currently looks decidedly rosy, with more pay, more jobs, and more investment anticipated. In fact the employment outlook for the capital in the first quarter is amongst the most positive in the UK. And yet, in spite of this, the biggest changes we expect to see next year are human-centric changes rather than economic ones. In the not-so-immortal words of Eurovision’s Conchita Wurst, London’s workforce is all set to ‘rise like a Phoenix’ – and we plan to be there, wearing gold lamé, ready to witness the ascent.
We witness the extraordinary benefits of positive change every day – and let’s be clear – these ‘benefits’ are not just for the workforce – employers benefit too.
This year has already seen the rise of the employee who wants more. Any successful employer will know that it is considerably more cost-effective to retain good staff than it is to hire new, good staff. As a result of this, employers will be feeling the pressure to provide more of what employees need for comfort and productivity. Whilst is is important to do this unconditionally (and not in order to achieve a greater return on investment), the beauty is that returns will come. Above all, a change of mindset needs to take place. My London Works is here to champion these programmes in London as businesses make changes from the inside out. We’re here to create a revolution.
We witness the extraordinary benefits of positive workplace change every day – and let’s be clear – these ‘benefits’ are not just for the workforce, employers benefit too. A happy workforce is more often than not a productive one, and we’re keen to share information about how to achieve this.
If you’re an employer in London, take heed of the list below, which outlines the top five things that employees will be expecting in 2016. Yes, it’s a simplified list, but there is wisdom in these words! Offer these five initiatives to existing employees and watch your staff retention and workplace performance soar. Offer them to prospective new employees and you’ll create an offer they will find hard to refuse.
- “Don’t fob me off with small incentives – I want the full package”
Times have a-changed and a standalone good salary doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Employees today want to focus on creating a great balance between work life and home life – and they rightfully expect their employer to help achieve this.
Employers need to ask themselves, “Could I confidently and truthfully say to a new potential employee that we offer the ‘full package’?”
- “I’m an individual and I want to be treated like one.”
Whilst trying hard to avoid clichés – each employee is unique, lives a unique life and as a result has a (constantly evolving) set of unique needs. It is crucial to regularly assess what employees want. Flexible time in order to to care for a relative? Financial help or counsel during the process of buying a house? Extra time off after the birth of a child? The list of possible scenarios is long.
Recognising that each one of your employees is an individual allows a very adult interaction to take place between employer and employee, above all one that allows employees to feel their worth. Listen to their needs and don’t restrict them with unnecessary rules and regulations.
In addition to this, be transparent with your workforce and don’t let your employees find out information about the business online or via second-hand gossip.
Employers should ask themselves, “How well do I know my employees? Do I regularly listen to them and allow them to feel their unique perspectives are heard, considered and acted upon where necessary?”
- “I want a great salary that reflects the hard work I do”
Workers securing new roles in London received an average 26 per cent salary increase in November – and as a consequence of heightened expectations in the city, employee retention will be a big theme in 2016. According to Korn Ferry Hay Group, UK workers are set to receive wage increases averaging 2.3 per cent next year – an increase that hasn’t been seen since the recession started in 2008. Headhunting will be on the up, social recruitment also. The essence of these statistics? Aim to retain, not to re-train!
Employers – ask yourselves, “Do we offer a salary that enables our employees to achieve their financial goals?”*
*Don’t know what those financial goals are? Talk to your employees.
- “I want to work in a physical space that makes me happy”
Employees are rethinking the physical spaces in which they work. There is pressure on all organisations in and out of the capital to provide spaces that don’t just stick to the ‘usual’ guidelines of space, light and comfort.
Today we realise more than ever how our physical environment impacts our happiness and productivity, and as a consequence we are watching a growing number of organisations get monumentally creative in the quest for the perfect workspace.
Employers should ask themselves, “When was the last time we had a meeting to discuss how we can make our working space better?”
- “I want to learn new skills and grow”
How good we feel at the end of the working day often has a relationship with what we have achieved. The majority of valuable employees are keen to discover and develop strengths, others are keen to work on improving weaknesses. Whatever personal motivations are at play, employers should make sure that growth opportunities are at hand. Help star employees shine and weaker ones learn.
Performance improves when people feel they can grow. That doesn’t always mean growing in the professional field either. Any kind of growth can act as a springboard for motivation.
Employers – have you considered offering your employees time out during the working day to learn an instrument or a foreign language?
Finally, employers – ask yourselves, why should anyone work here?