How Employers Are Adapting (or Not) to Worker Preferences

A conversation with Shelby Eversole, Senior Marketing Manager at Built In

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After more than a year of work from home, professionals have experienced the freedom that comes with remote.

When it’s time to return to work, employees say they want flexibility and choice in how, when and where they work. Given the tight labor market, every leader 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 shares survey insights with Technically People’s co-host Tiffany Meyers. Engaging both employees and employers, the survey found these and other highlights:

There’s still a lot of misalignment in between what companies want and are planning to do and what employees want and need.

Shelby Eversole

Senior marketing manager, built in

Who has power in the market?

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

They should be.

Seventy five percent of employees in the Built In survey said they’re at least slightly likely to apply for a new job in the next year. And 85 percent said that, when they’re looking for a new job, they’ll heavily weigh whether a company offers remote work.

What employees want

“If companies want to succeed in retaining their talent post COVID and also attracting them,” Eversole says, “they really need to listen.”

According to the data, people are looking at work differently than in the recent past. Companies need to be prepared to consider and answer questions from candidates about flexible work options.

“If you can build up this reputation and this brand of being a company that offers people what they need — it’s simple. You’re going to have a better shot of attracting and retaining that top talent.”

Unfortunately, the survey shows that companies have a long way to go when it comes to listening and acting on employee and candidate preferences.

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Misalignment between employees & employers

While a majority of companies have asked or are planning to ask their employees what they want out of a return-to-work plan, only 21% of companies actually plan to use the answers as a factor in their decision making.

“While it’s nice that they’re asking,” Eversole says, “they’re not truly listening to the point of putting those things into action. I think that’s going to be a key factor here for companies to consider when they’re building out this plan.”

In particular, says Eversole, companies need to listen to employees who are telling them that remote work opportunities are critical. The data is in, but 22% of companies in the survey said that they’re still uncertain whether they’re going to offer flexible work options.

“That’s a direct misalignment between what employees want and what companies are considering seriously,” Eversole says.

What employees want are flexible work options. If companies aren’t offering that, they’ll have a million other companies lining up outside their door that they can choose from.”

Eversole’s Key Takeaways

Download Eversole’s full 2021 report: The Great Return to the Office

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