After the Great Resignation and reshaping of workplace expectations, workers now have new desires. These include a good wage, flexibility, well-being and mentorship opportunities.
Understanding what attracts employees and keeps them in a role will help organizations optimize their talent attraction strategies. Learn what top-performing talent are looking for in 2023.
1. Work-Life Balance
As the labor market recovers from the pandemic, job candidates are placing a high value on work-life balance. They want to know they’re in a company with values and practices that align with their own personal values, and they want to feel valued for their skills and contributions.
This is no surprise, as studies have shown that employees are feeling burned out and overwhelmed more than ever before. In 2023, employers looking to attract and retain top talent will need to offer flexible schedules, mental health support, community involvement and a clear career progression plan.
Workers who have already repositioned themselves in the gig economy, or stepped out of the workforce during the pandemic, will also want to see that they’re being treated fairly and offered full-time positions with benefits. Flexibility and a sense of purpose are the most important things for this group, as they look to rebuild their careers after leaving traditional work due to Covid-19 or for other reasons. In addition, this group is also looking for a faster hiring process, a higher salary and learning and development opportunities.
Amid a tectonic shift in the workplace, one of the most important factors for workers is flexibility. This is especially true for millennials who prioritize the ability to choose their own work schedules over other compensation and benefits. However, a flexible work environment isn’t just for younger generations—in fact, Capability Jane found that when people are offered the chance to work flexibly, they usually take it.
For 2023, it may not be feasible to transition everyone to a four-day workweek or eliminate assigned desks in all of your offices, but it is important to find ways to offer more flexibility. Employees should be able to customize their work arrangements to fit their lifestyle and needs, but it’s also important for companies to provide clear expectations about what kind of flexibility is possible for each role.
This year, a higher percentage of respondents say that flexible work is very or extremely important to them, and it has become the second most common reason for workers to consider leaving their job. Other motivations for changing jobs include improving their mental health and career progression.
3. Health & Well-Being
Since the pandemic, workers’ desire for a job that plays to their strengths and interests has continued to shake up the world of work. Flexibility, meaningful work and connections with co-workers are the top desires that employees say are important to them when considering new jobs. They also want to be paid well. Eight out of 10 respondents indicate that a good wage is very or somewhat important to them, and most prefer that their prospective employer include salary information in the job posting.
Moreover, wellbeing-related issues like mental health, stress and fatigue continue to be high on the list of employee priorities and dealbreakers. Leaders need to rethink their approach to hiring, retention and engagement. For example, if you see an employee yawning during meetings or seeming indifferent about their work, they may need more support from their organization.
In 2023, the best organizations will make wellbeing a priority. They will ensure that all employees have the tools, resources and support they need to thrive in their roles and deliver exceptional business results.
4. Mentorship & Growth
Many workers want to feel like their work is helping them create a life that’s full of meaning. This desire drove the upheaval during the pandemic, as workers charted nonlinear career paths and demanded that employers respect their personal lives and support them in finding a balance.
Those desires may have softened somewhat in 2023, but employees are still looking for ways to grow their skills and advance in their careers. In fact, a new Gallup study found that, while a good wage is still a top job attribute for most workers (and the number one factor for those considering a new job), career progression has seen a notable uptick in importance.
Mentorship programs can help to address this need, and research shows that employees with mentors are 97% more likely than those without to strongly agree their workplace provides a clear path for career advancement. Additionally, training and development opportunities are a critical part of an organization’s ability to keep its best talent happy and engaged. Employees are also more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs when they write down their goals and share them with a colleague, which suggests that peer-to-peer learning can play an important role in organizational success.
5. Compensation & Benefits
While wages remain important, workers want to be more engaged with their jobs, have a clear purpose and feel they’re part of a community. Employers should focus on creating a comprehensive total rewards package, leverage data and analytics to inform compensation strategies, adopt skill-based pay structures and offer flexible work options.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Reshuffle and record-high inflation, workers are rethinking their employment needs and are looking for new job opportunities that align with their goals. Consequently, it’s imperative that companies take a closer look at their talent practices, and reassess their hiring processes to ensure they are connecting with the best candidates.
Amid a tight labor market, employees are more empowered than ever to choose the jobs that are the right fit for them. By focusing on meaningful work, flexibility and strong relationships, companies can make themselves more attractive to talented candidates in 2023. Mercer’s latest report explores how global talent trends are shaping the future of work. The report takes a multi-perspective approach, combining input from more than 800 business executives and 1,800 HR leaders as well as 5,000 employees in 44 countries around the world.