What do today's workers value over money? Flexibility. Or so say 6,000 American and Canadian workers surveyed by Randstad North America, the parent company of several employment firms.
The telephone survey, conducted by Roper Starch, found that employees want to balance competing work and family responsibilities. Fifty one percent of employees said they would stay at their current job rather than switch if their employer offered flexible working hours. Also, 62 percent said they prefer a boss who understands when they need to leave work for personal reasons over one who could help them grow professionally.
Perhaps most surprisingly, 51 percent of employees prefer a job that offers flexible hours over one that offered an opportunity for advancement.
The desire for flexibility does not translate into a lack of dedication. The survey found that the majority of employees, 64 percent, describe themselves as ambitious when it comes to work and career, and 61 percent agree that to get ahead at work you must put in 110 percent. And 58 percent of employees feel that it is within their control to make sure their personal lives do not interfere with work.
What - other than money - makes people happy at work? The survey found the following:
The survey's findings have interesting implications for human resources people, if they pay attention. Consider the second and third reasons people are happy at work - a pleasant work environment and an easy commute.
"Pleasant work environment" could mean anything from sitting next to someone who regularly uses deodorant to having a boss who says "Good morning." But I'll take it to mean the actual physical environment in which we labor. Many companies give no thought to the Dilbertian gray environments they provide. How about a workplace that includes natural light, fresh air, and a splash of color? (Oh, for heaven's sake, what kind of commie-granola-heresy could have gotten into me?)
So, if I were an employer, and I had just discovered that employees valued flexibility over money, and that they liked a pleasant environment and an easy commute, here's what I would do:
Article - Copyright 2000 Evan Cooper. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA