9 things employees expect in the workplace in 2021

Seek recently released an interesting article that very timely coincides with Australia's anniversary going into a lockdown 12 months ago. The workplace has changed a lot in 12 months. There has also been a shift in what matters to employees. This week on the blog, we share those nine things that businesses of any size can work to offer current and future employees.

1. Engagement
Employees need to be engaged in their work to thrive. Show how your business encourages and values employee engagement, not just through Friday night drinks but by enabling engagement in their work.

2. Relationships
SEEK research shows that 1 in 2 people feel workplace relationships have become more critical than pre-COVID, and more than half prefer a workplace where their colleagues are also their friends.
Explain to candidates how you cultivate, support and value relationships, both personally and professionally.

3. Meaning and purpose
This is backed by the research, which found 2 in 3 candidates want a job that allows them to make a difference in society. Organisations should show how their work benefits society or how they support causes in the wider community.

4. Support with goals
It's never been more important to understand employees' personal goals and know how to support them to achieve these.
 "Create a clear career direction, so new recruits can understand that they can have the opportunity of a career for life with your organisation."

5. Sense of achievement
Employees want to know that what they are doing is making an impact. Take the time to explain how success and desired outcomes are measured and celebrated.

6. True flexibility
It's easy to throw the word "flexibility" around, but that broad term isn't specific enough any more.
"What does flexibility mean in your workplace, and what kind of flexible practices are important to the candidate?"
Having choice over start and finish times is essential to a lot of candidates and is just one way to offer true flexibility.

7. Trust
 This isn't an easy thing to gain straight away. In an uncertain world, it's what employers and employees are both looking for. Explain that you want to create a culture of trust. Show how you've built that in the past.

8. Mental health support
 2 in 5 candidates say they would have liked more mental health support during COVID-19, regardless of whether the workplaces have existing support in place or not.
Candidates called out flexible work hours and mental health days as two things that can have a 'massive impact on their mental health at work.
Mental health is affected by relationships, financial stability, diet, exercise, and sleep. A workplace that offers well-being support such as online exercise classes, nutrition or sleep workshops, and open and non-judgemental communication will show they value sound mental health.

9. Ongoing learning
SEEK research shows that 42% of Australians agree with the statement 'I learned new skills I wouldn't have learned if it wasn't for COVID-19.'

9 things employees expect in the workplace in 2021--