Leave it to employees to show us the way once again. Change is continuing in the workplace, and you’ll need to be ready or be left out.
The world is always evolving, so it stands to reason that the same is true of work as we adjust and refocus efforts on attracting and retaining talent. I see 3 trends that will be with us in 2024 and will need leadership to address and support or be on the losing end of keeping great talent.
1- Workplace flexibility is in higher demand than ever as employees know what they want and the times they want to work. From non-linear workdays (working hours that are differ from 9-5) to allowing individuals to make their own schedule (with management approval) to condensed work weeks such as four 10-hour days. People want a say in their job and are more willing to stay if these demands are met.
According to McKinsey & Co., flexible work arrangements seem to be a primary reason people stay in their current roles – or move to a new one as when workers are offered flexibility in a new role, 87% of them will take the offer.
So, the jury is still out. However, my engagement and non-scientific discussions with thousands of employees at conferences in 2023 seams to support this sentiment. Or as one women pointed out, “the ability to have control over my hours, schedule and where I work from means more to me than 5 years ago.”
Be ready to openly engage and discuss with Gen Z and Millennials as they are, by far, the largest generations in the workplace. Making them happy is good for everyone and it’s good for business too. Don’t get me wrong Gen X and Boomers are a big part of the equation as well and it’s important to be flexible or at least listen well with all of your staff.
Well-Being and Personal Connection
2- Well-being and personal connection – once again, a huge part of a leader’s role and some leaders are missing the target by a mile. For everyone, aged 18-88, the quest for well-being is ever-present and a personal connection with managers is essential for younger staff.
According to a survey by Johns Hopkins University, 51% of Gen Z and younger Millennials prefer speaking to friends, family, and co-workers face-to-face rather than by text. This includes:
- Preferring video calls over phone calls.
- Choosing frequent gatherings to provide Gen Z with the personal connection they need.
- Having managers check in frequently, provide insightful input, and schedule weekly feedback and performance evaluations.
- Organizing social activities that promote team bonding
This information is essential as the workplace continues to evolve, Gen Z will become a massive workforce and be looking for and at company diversity and inclusion initiatives, mental health awareness, equal pay and more. Leaders need to be ready for today and tomorrow so that you can attract and retain this dedicated and talented generation.
Training and Development
3. Training and development. Post pandemic, there has been an upswing in employee training and development both internally on-line and by attending conferences and workshops. This is growing as AI, technology, workplace communications and well-being abilities and needs evolve. And that’s just the beginning.
I have strongly “suggested” to companies that bring me in to speak/train and conferences I keynote that mentorship programs are essential. I offer up numbers and stats to back up my claims. Unfortunately, too few organizations have robust mentorship programs in place. They site reasons for this including, time, lack of proof it adds to the bottom line and more. Well, it is proven to work, so why don’t we embrace it? These programs, when well defined and run, will grow employee retention, assist in staff advancing at a quicker pace and reduce onboarding costs to name just a few.
Gen Z wants mentoring. Millennials too, especially the younger ones. It makes sense from a cost perspective to provide this to the two largest generations in the workplace.
Focusing on workplace flexibility, well-being, connection, training and development is good for employees and business. And, this year, it will help support and grow workers skills, assist in retain them and grow productivity.
Let me know what you think. See my bio below for contact information.