2024 Workplace Trends: Flexibility, Skill-Building, and Employee Satisfaction
The O.C. Tanner 2024 Global Culture Report provides insightful data and perspectives on workplace culture and the evolving employee-employer relationship. Here’s GBV’s comprehensive summary focusing on the changes in these areas:
Increasing Flexibility and Fairness: The report highlights a trend towards more flexible work environments, emphasizing the need to make this flexibility equitable across different roles.
Employee Expectations and Benefits of Flexibility:
Employees are not necessarily seeking complete autonomy but rather practical accommodations for work-life balance, such as attending medical appointments or handling personal matters.
This flexibility, when equitable, is associated with 568% improved odds of employees promoting their organization and a 384% improvement in their desire to stay another year. Nevertheless, “Over half of U.K. deskless workers (51 per cent) say they’re viewed as expendable by their employer. Plus, almost a third (32 per cent), feel that their corporate, desk-based colleagues regard them as inferior.”
“It was not long ago we were clapping the efforts of frontline workers, but many are now feeling unloved and that their contributions don’t matter”, says Stuart Cheesman, European Strategist of workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner.
Universal Desire for Flexibility:
There’s a strong desire for workplace flexibility across roles, with 68% of employees believing it should be available to everyone. However, only 57% report that their culture supports this across all jobs. The report recognizes that not all roles can offer the same level of flexibility, but creative approaches can still integrate some level into every role.
Impact of Limited Flexibility:
Employees with little or no flexibility feel limited in personal and professional growth, undervalued, and are more prone to burnout. Inequitable flexibility can damage key cultural outcomes and lead to higher burnout rates across the workforce.
Flexibility as Recognition:
High flexibility is seen as a form of recognition, making employees feel appreciated and trusted by their leaders. This approach also demonstrates the organization’s confidence in its employees’ ability to manage themselves.
This building materials manufacturer exemplifies a people-centered approach to workplace flexibility, including flexible scheduling and empowering employees to decide their own breaks. This has resulted in a balanced work and personal life culture.
Neiman Marcus Group:
The luxury retailer has integrated flexibility into its culture, allowing employees to choose their shifts and locations, leading to strong business performance, increased productivity, and reduced turnover.
Upskilling and Its Implications:
Upskilling helps employees excel in their jobs and develop their careers.
However, there’s skepticism among employees and organizations regarding the intentions behind skill-building programs. The report finds that providing skill-building opportunities is crucial for a thriving workplace culture.
Employee Choice in Skill Building:
A significant majority (90%) of employees value having a say in the skills they learn. Offering diverse training options, including non-work-related skills, positively impacts many cultural metrics, enhancing employee well-being and morale.
Impact on Workplace Culture:
Organizations that offer a wide variety of skill-building opportunities and show genuine concern for employee growth achieve significantly improved workplace culture, community, and employee satisfaction.
Equitable Skill-Building Opportunities:
The availability of skill-building opportunities to all employees, regardless of their role or performance level, is important for fostering a sense of community and encouraging great work. However, only 64% of employees report equal access to these opportunities.
Allocating Time for Skill Development:
More than 91% of employees consider it important to have time during work hours for skill development. This approach strengthens the sense of community and encourages participation in skill-building programs.
Recognition in Skill Building:
Recognizing employees throughout the skill-building process, not just at its completion, significantly enhances their satisfaction with the experience. Encouragement from coworkers is also a key factor in pursuing additional training.
The report underscores the growing importance of flexibility and skill development in modern workplaces. It highlights the need for equitable access to these benefits across different roles and emphasizes the positive impact on employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall workplace culture.
Successful implementation of these practices not only benefits employees but also contributes to the organization’s productivity and retention.