The past two years have been incredibly challenging for employers and employees alike.
While there have been lots of downs, the 2020s have also brought many positives for the world of work. Employees have more choice than ever before – and this is proven by the ‘Great Resignation’ where workers are quitting jobs at record rates and demanding better pay, benefits and experiences at work.
Given that the labor market is now a candidate’s, not a company’s market, it is no surprise that employees are optimistic about the future of work in 2022 and beyond.
64% of employees feel very or somewhat optimistic about their work life in 2022, according to research by Ceridian and the Harris Poll. The pair surveyed almost 3,000 workers in the US, the UK, Australia and Canada.
Although optimism reigns, employees don’t want companies to rest on their laurels. They want their employers to continue to improve and progress.
22% told Ceridian that promotion is among their 2022 work goals, while 34% of workers desire a pay rise in 2022.
Think beyond pay and promotions
While prioritizing career development is essential to succeed in the war for talent, “pay and promotion should no longer be viewed as the only answer to employee satisfaction and retention”, Ceridian’s managing director of EMEA Wendy Muirhead tells UNLEASH.
“To succeed in this labor market, it is clear that businesses will need to revisit how they inspire their workforces and the types of benefits they offer to compete beyond pay,” adds Muirhead.
37% of staff said they want their employers to prioritize enhanced mental and physical wellbeing benefits in 2022, and 33% would like employers to prioritize increased flexibility in work life.
It is clear that employees want a better workplace experience than ever before.
“Entering the ‘next-normal’, employers will need to be flexible and receptive to employee needs in order to succeed in the war for talent,” according to Muirhead.
“Employees need to feel that their employers are prioritizing their best interest and workplaces need to continue their roles in lessening these burdens”.
Remember, happy, valued employees are productive employees, which, in turn, is good for business.
Prioritizing financial wellbeing
While mental and physical wellbeing is clearly at the top of the agenda for employees in 2022 and beyond, workers also want companies to think outside the box in terms of wellbeing benefits.
It is important to remember that there is a third type of wellbeing – financial – and it must not be overlooked. 31% of global workers told Ceridian they would like more financial offerings.
There are links to the financial anxiety that global workers are dealing with. “The pandemic has ushered in new wellness obstacles from increased burnout to anxiety around financial uncertainty”, notes Muirhead.
She adds that financial anxiety may explain why UK workers are more pessimistic about the future of work than the rest of the world. While 64% globally were optimistic, British workers were a whole 10% less optimistic. The Money and Pensions service found that 36% Brits found thinking about their finances made them stressed; this rises to 50% for 18-to-34-year-olds.
“British workers continue to face tremendous amounts of pressure. From the impact of Brexit and the pandemic on the economy and supply chain, to looming inflation and the rising cost of living, many are undoubtedly feeling stressed about their finances and the future”, notes Muirhead.
How to improve financial wellbeing at work
Although it is clear that employees want better financial benefits, what precisely should companies do to dial-up employee wellbeing?
“We are entering a new evolution of how people want to be paid; it’s time for employers to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach” and “antiquated methods like monthly paper pay slips”, notes Muirhead.
It is time to listen to the needs of your staff. If you want to get the best of them, make sure your financial wellbeing offerings are based on “organizational data” to make sure “they] have a measurable impact ton both employees and the business.”
Ceridian’s study found that workers are particularly keen for a focus on on-demand pay or earned wage access and pensions. This is confirmed by data from a July study by Ceridian, which found that 50% wanted wage access solutions as part of their benefits packages.
“Early access to earned wages is one example of a potential benefit that is seeing great momentum as it combats the ‘waiting for payday’ phenomenon. It also means offering people the peace of mind to cover an unexpected expense or the ability to take advantage of the investment opportunities they might not otherwise have”, says Muirhead.
She continues that employees want their workplace experience to mirror their lifestyles. “We live in a world where we can get anything instantly in one click, and the flexibility of on-demand pay provides workers with more autonomy and control over their finances”.
Rather than having to wait for a fixed payday, earned wage access enables them to “cover unexpected emergencies and costs”, as well as “alleviates financial stress”.
The revolution of on-demand pay is just beginning – now is the time to get on board and show your workers, and job seekers, that you are a good employer with a holistic approach to employee experience and wellbeing.
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