Technically People
Technically People

Episode · 3 months ago

How Employers Are Adapting (or Not) to Worker Preferences


After more than a year of work from home, professionals have sampled the greater degree of freedom that comes with remote. When it’s time to return to work, they say they want flexibility and choice in how, when and where they work. Given the tight labor market, every professional in the TA, recruitment and employer brand realm should take heed of the numbers from a 2021 Built In survey.  

In this episode, Shelby Eversole, Built In’s senior marketing manager, shares survey insights with Technically People’s co-host Tiffany Meyers. Engaging both employees and employers, the survey found these and more highlights:

- Sixteen percent of employees in the survey said they want to stay fully remote. 

- No one said they want to work from the office for five days. 

- Fifty three percent said they want to work from home regularly but have office space available for team meetings or gatherings. 

- While 84% of companies indicated they plan to or have already asked employees about their return-to-work preferences, only 21% said they plan to use the preferences as a driving force behind their return-to-work plans. 

It’s a candidates’ market, given low unemployment rates, especially among tech talent. Moreover, experts are projecting that employees are about to leave their current jobs in droves. This latter factor is known as the “Great Resignation,” and it has companies concerned about attrition.    

They should be. Seventy five percent of employees in the survey said they’re at least slightly to apply for a new job in the next year. Eighty five percent of employees said that, when they’re looking for a new job, they’ll heavily weigh whether a company offers remote work.  

In this conversation, Eversole highlights:

- The misalignment between companies’ plans and employees’ preferences.

- The need for employers in a tight labor market to act on what candidates want.

- Employers who don’t do so will struggle to attract in-demand talent. 

- Why companies must use employer branding to build a reputation as a company that listens to what candidates and employees want. 

Download Eversole’s full 2021 report:

- The Great Return to the Office  

Find every episode of Technically People on Apple, Spotify, and more. Find us on our website and join the conversation on LinkedIn

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Welcome to technically people acommunity conversation by and for workplace futurists brought to you bythe tech recruitment platform built in the podcast features, insights fromleaders, thinkers and doers on the vanguard of building human centeredworkplaces of the future along the way you'll hear concepts that will stop youin your tracks, concepts that inspire you to ask yourself. What's the mostfuture forward way to approach my people leadership, we all know thefuture of work isn't waiting around. So, let's get on with the show. Welcome to this show. This istechnically people, I'm tiffany Myers and we are checking in with shelbyaversa she's. The senior marketing manager at Bilton will be looking atshelby's, two thousand and twenty one report from Bilton, which is called thegreat return. What candidates want and how employers are adapting the reportsurveyed built on users to kind of find out how to tack. Professionals todaywant to work and what they care about when they are looking for jobs, and italso served companies to find out how they responding and often how they'renot responding so shelby, and I are going to talk through the key insideshe uncovered to help people leaders navigate these choppy waters that wehave upcoming so shall be welcome to the show it's nice to see you hiTiffany, thanks for having me, so I have this feeling that listeners coulduse this two thousand and twenty one report as a field guide for the yearahead when it comes to remote hybrids, lash return to office so give us a topline overview sure yeah. So what we really wanted to look at was both thecompany and employee sentiment around returning to the work or the office andwhatever form that takes. So what we did is we survey built in users andcompanies to kind of understand how the workplace has changed throughout thepandemic. We all know it's changed, but we want to hear specifically from them.We also wanted to ask them how they see...

...the return to work hapeny. What's theideal plan from the employee and the company's perspective when it comes toreturn into the office, and then finally, we asked them like we all wereworking remotely this past year. What's that impact on the long term, future ofthe workplace and what we found, if we didn't already know, is companies havetheir work cut out for them, like that's a really complex problem,they're trying to solve? How are they going to keep their existing employeeshappy when they all want different things, as well as future candidates,and so what we really wanted to see is: Are they going to be remote? Are theygoing to have a hybrid working space? Are they going to go back to the officeand depending on their decision? How are they going to make that safe foremployees after kind of a scary year in two thousand and twenty, and then whatare the implications of those decisions on retaining and attracting talent, andso what we found like the surprising thing, was: There's still a lot ofmisalignment in between what companies want and are planning to do and whatemployees want me. Speaking of that misalignment, let'sfind out a little bit about that by starting with what you found. Techprofessionals want what their expectations are. Now that they'velived this global experiment in working from home, sure yeah I mean work inremotely. Has that a big impact, obviously on companies and employes,but especially employees, and what we see is that they don't want to give itup. They really enjoy the ability to do a load of laundry during the work dayor pick up their kids right at five o'clock from day care, instead ofhaving to commute home. First, like this flexibility that they've had byworking from home is just something they're not willing to give up. But youknow the good news is most are open to a hybrid working environment in thefuture, so working some days remote some days from the office they're openand willing to do that. None of the employees that we surveyed areinterested in working from the office five days a week, any more so thatnormal of what we experience before is is no longer going to hold true fromthem in the future, and we did hear...

...that sixteen percent of employees areplanning to return to the office. They want to stay a remote employee, despitewhere they're located, despite what their company wants them to do likethey want to continue working from home post Ovid, and I think this is a reallyimportant factor for companies to to weigh and what we found superinteresting to is. This will affect how people look for work as well. Eightyfive percent of the employees we surveyed will heavily weigh the fact ofwhether a company is offering remote work or not when they're looking for anew employer. So, when they're looking for their next job, that's somethingthey're going to highly consider and ask about from companies, and ifcompanies want to succeed in retaining their talent, post, coved and alsoattracting them, they really need to listen. And, unfortunately, what wefound is they kind of have a long way to go when it comes to that, while amajority of companies are planning to or already have asked their employeeswhat they want out of a return to work plan, only twenty one percent of themare actually going to use that as a factor in their decision making. Sowhile it's nice that they're asking they're not truly listening in thepoint of actually putting those things into action, so I think that's going tobe a key factor here for companies to consider when they're building out thisplan yeah. You almost have to wonder why I ask in the first place- and thethere are may be reasons to ask and not follow through maybe they're, checkingto see what kind of backlash they should expect to prepare for maybethey're just sort of waiting to implement what they've learned. But Ithink that it's very clear that employees, as you said they make nobones about it. They know what they want and many companies are stilldeciding. Some are doing. Nothing. Some are waiting. Things out. Tell me alittle bit about this yeah we're. Definitely seeing that more than halfof the companies we spoke with are still in the discovery phase of theirplans. They're still trying to figure out exactly what to do, how to moveforward, how to navigate actually putting things into action, and, what'sunfortunate, is of those companies who...

...have announced their return to workplans. We had twenty six percent of employees telling us they're eitherdissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the plants their companies haveannounced. So, even when they're announcing these plans, employees arenot impressed so they're not really having a great success rate when itcomes to announcing a plan in any way in kind of going back to listening tothe employees and what they want and, like you said, they know exactly whatthey want, but twenty two percent of companies in our survey said thatthey're still uncertain whether or not they're going to offer flexible workoption. So that's a direct misalignment in between what employees one and whatcompanies are considering seriously sure it's a misalignment and it's alsoa really practical problem, because the press is writing about how low techunemployment is. So as of June, two thousand and twenty one techunemployment is about half the national unemployment rate. Now it's been lowfor a long time, but now companies need to ramp up and they need to ramp upfast yeah. I mean it's a huge problem right like as you're, alluding to it'sgoing to be a tight tech market, and maybe even the tightest tech market indecades, two thousand and twenty. Unfortunately, a lot of companies hadto lay off employees and kind of Wade out the pandemics effect on theirbusiness, which two thousand and twenty, though also came, this need forconvenience, and companies need to figure out how they could innovate andmake their business thrive. In kind of this, abrupt change of how the worldworks, and so with that comes innovation and with innovation comesmore technology and the need for these niche kind of specialized skill setsand employees and candidates, and so what we're really going to see soon isthis need for an increase and head count drastically and kind of thisbuilt up. Pent up demand is going to come to fruition and companies aregoing to have to figure out what's next and how to continue accelerated and inabating so taking together all the factors that we've discussed. Do youfeel that this has been a wake up call...

...for companies? If it's not, it will besoon, but you know there's a lot of unknown still, but the data is kind oftelling this story that companies need to be prepared for what's to come andthey don't really seem to be worried. At this point, most companies indicatedthat their voluntary turnover rate remains stagnant during Ovid, andalmost half of companies predict that their voluntary turnover rate willremain stagnant, post pandemic, so that for sure flies in the face of what weknow about the great resignation. Another trend that all of the press andall of the tech industry is talking about sort of breathlessly, which isjust the fact that people are leaving or they're planning to leave their jobsin droves. So people want to live in different places. Often they want tolive closer to family. Your report actually shows that twenty two percentalready have made that move. Some people are taking jobs that pay betterbecause they need to make up for a partner that may have lost a job. Womenin particular, are considering leaving our down shifting and really largenumbers, and there is a whole podcast in that. But if the Department of LaborStatistics is correct, women's labor force participation could face thesteepest sustained decline since World War Two and then, of course, there'sthe more emotional driver which is this search for meaning, because thepandemic was a global trauma and people are reflecting, people are consideringwhat they really care about and whether they're work aligns with what mattersand for some people the answer is no my workplace. The Way I'm doing work itdoesn't align with what I care about so they're thinking about changing theirlives to get access to more wellness to more balance. So personally, I don'tknow how long that's going to last that period of reflection. We know I we knowthat America has a short term memory...

...when we know that at some point thedust will settle, but it's very clear that this great resignation is ispending yeah and our research definitely supports this idea that anexodus is on the horizon. Seventy five percent of the employees we surveyedindicated that they're at least slightly likely or even very likely, toapply to a new job in the next twelve months. So while they might have beenrisk averse to moving jobs in two thousand and twenty given the pandemic,that has kind of changed, they're willing to now look what else is outthere and see what other employers can offer them in a new role, despitecompanies, thinking that their voluntary turnover rate or involuntaryturnover rate will remain stagnant, they're very aware that hiring willincrease none of the companies. We surveyed believe that their hiringneeds will decrease post pandemic. So this combination just means- I meanevery company is going to be going after that great talent, and so, given all these points ofmisalignment, if you could give advice to companies to tech companies, what isthe upshot of all of these findings? Yeah, I mean, like we said, like it'sgoing to be a candidates market, they are going to be able to wait for thatperfect job and find that perfect employer and really just have theirchoice of jobs. I mean recruiters and companies are going to be knocking ontheir door, especially if they fall into that niche skill set and sothey're going to have options, and so what that means for companies isthey're going to have to really align with what employees want and whatemployees want. Our flexible work options, and if companies aren'toffering that they'll have a million other companies lining up outside theirdoor that they can choose from, and so really what companies are going torealize is they need to start listening and putting some action behind whatemployees on and if they don't, they are going to see that turnover, anincrease and they're going to struggle to retain an attract batteled, and thefact is that companies actually have every right to opt out of work fromhome and...

...when the competition for talent wasn'tso steep, they could make a call like that. But at some point, if the humans,you need, aren't picking up what you're putting down you do have to follow themarket pressures. Yeah. Definitely I mean there are timesin the market where candidates are struggling to find jobs and companiescan kind of just do what they want to be frank, but I don't think that'sgoing to be the scenario we're seen now and if you think about the competitionfor talent and the talent, these companies need, they need to step upand stand out with candidates, and one way to do that is by making sure you'reat least aligned with what they want. So shall be as someone who's reallypassionate about branding and employer branding. I am wondering how all ofthis might pertain to an player brand messaging yeah. So I mean when you'rein a candidates market, and they literally have the choice of anyone inanything like they want to know every little detail about your company andthat's where employer branding really becomes more important than ever. Acompany's reputation is going to matter even more than it has in the past andso by an having an employer brand and a reputation and building up this senseof who you are as a company and how you support your employees. How you listento them, how you've adapted during Ovid and even post Ovid, to give employeeswhat they need and want that's going to be super important, and if you canbuild up this reputation in this brand of being a company that offers peoplewhat they need. It's simple I mean you're going to have a better shot ofattracting and retaining that top talent. I just feel like that's soimportant because and player branding are really good in player. Branding hasalways been a point of differentiation, a point of deliberate differentiation,and so that's just compounded by what's happening today in two thousand andtwenty one. If you in your employer brand and can communicate that youoffer this cultural flexibility, it's going to make a huge difference for thepeople that your survey shows really want and expect from an employer. Soshall be. We end this podcast on...

...something called the two minute takeaway I'll say it never lasts just two minutes, but tell me if there are anypoints that you would like for listeners to take away with them. Yeah. I think, what's really importantto take away from this survey and report as a whole is that another setof workplace changes is coming and companies need to be prepared. Theyneed to be ready to not only keep their existing employees happy but be readyto address the ones and needs of future candidates. Right, like we know nowthat employees are going to be willing to talk to other employers about newjob opportunities that you might even be seeking them out to see what else isout there, and so it's really going to be a candidates market and in order toretain and attract that talent that companies are really going to need tomake up for business loss in two thousand and twenty is to listen tothem and not only give employees and candidates and opportunity to say whatthey want, but actually take that into account and factor it in to whatcompanies are going to do now and in the future. Many of our listeners aregrappling with. All of these issues in this survey was just an opportunity toget a lot of guidance so for listeners. If you'd like to download the report,you can search for Shell, be ever sole on technically peopledom and that'swhere you'll find a link to download the report. It'll be in her episodenotes so shall be if our listers wanted to be in touch with you. What's a goodway for them to do so. Yeah I love to connect on Lindon, shall we ever so?You can search for and connect with me and I'm happy to talk further aboutthis survey, and the challenge is kind of people teams are facing shall be.You have made a really strong case for how important it is for companies toearn a reputation as a leader through their employer brand, and that is whatbuilt on does best. We help amplify employer brands through our content, soI would encourage listeners to check out employers that built in Com to geta sense of how Bilton can help you do...

...that. So, thank you so much for tuningin if you'd like to explore the show more visit, technically people com-that's where you can subscribe to the podcast I'll, also extend and alwaysopen invitation to join in in the conversation were having on the showslinked in page or you can shoot us an email at technically people dot builton Dot Com. So I will look forward to talking to you next week. Rimau giveanother leader the might to share some people in sights. That matter to you, built in is a tech recruitment platform.That's in constant dialogue with leaders about the future of tech,Bilton's podcast. Technically people expands those conversations to helpfellow futurist create and lead exceptional workplaces, environmentsthat inspire in Demand Tech professionals to join your company andthrive to learn how building can help your company attract besting classprofessionals, visit employers top built Incom you've been listening to technicallypeople, a community conversation about the future of work. If you want to hearmore cutting edge ideas about creating human center work, places subscribe onyour favorite, podcast player and you'll never miss an episode and if you're over the moon about whatyou've heard we'd be honored. If you took the time to give us a five starreview so signing off until we meet again in the future,.

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