What do companies value most in their workforce? Productive employees? Engagement with company culture? For most companies, it’s a combination of the two. The ideal worker does their work and participates in company culture as they can. But what happens when both the company’s ideas of culture and the employees’ ideas of work change? In this post we’ll dive into employee sentiment popular in today’s workforce and what companies can do to maintain their company culture.
According to a report from Accenture, 83% of respondents want a hybrid work model. This tracks with what many other outlets are reporting. Employees desire flexibility in their schedule. This doesn’t have to be working remotely through the remainder of their career. However, it doesn’t mean working every weekday in the office. Many workers who find themselves being asked back to return to an office are simply quitting.
Another issue that the report revealed among its respondents is frustration not from stress, but a lack of resources. Working from anywhere only works when employees are enabled to do so by their employers. This would look something like a remote work reimbursement. Companies may offer employees a stipend to cover the costs of setting up a home office. Companies may also provide recurring payments for the business use of personal Wi-Fi, devices, etc.
Some companies are concerned about maintaining company culture. Many of them see returning to the office as the only way to foster this. Why? What is it about company culture that requires people to be in the office? First, Let’s explore the definition of company culture.
Broadly, it’s a shared set of values and goals that inform the decisions and actions of the company. Employees holding these values and aspiring to achieve these goals are important. But does company culture require in-person interaction? Not necessarily. Company culture can be preserved through online activities and other engagements.
So, what should companies that are concerned about maintaining their company culture do? Rather than presume to know what employees want, or what is best for them, they should ask. Send a company-wide survey, asking employees to share their opinions on company culture and the environment they work in. Using these responses, companies can make informed decisions that support the needs and desires of their workforce.
The pandemic has taught both employers and employees many things. Many in the workforce learned to value their time more. Many decision makers in companies learned their employees can work remotely with little to no negative impact on performance. Perhaps the biggest take away from the pandemic and its aftermath is the importance of employee engagement. An employee working for a company that provides them with the resources they need is far more likely to be a productive, engaged employee than one forced to return to the inflexible schedule of in-office life. And with the number of open jobs in the market, finding that flexibility elsewhere may not be challenging.