What factors matter most to employees at work in 2022?
Let's face it: The world of work has changed forever. The pandemic stretched leaders, transformed the office, and shifted priorities. Since April 2021, millions of employees have been quitting their jobs, reaching near-record levels of notices for 7 months in a row, officially turning last year into the "The Great Resignation". But with the economy recovering and business continuing to grow, the question remains: Why do people leave? And what matters to employees at work in 2022?
At Mentessa, we are currently busy hiring and see numerous resumes, so we decided this is a great opportunity to study the trend firsthand. We used automatic matching on AngelList Recruit to actively source candidates. It delivered about 1000 profiles of qualified professionals from all around the world per job description. Typically, those include a free text in the person's own words, under the label of "Looking for". We analyzed those inputs and found that the following four factors matter most to job-seekers at the moment.
1. Team experience and belonging
"I want to be in a hardworking, creative, and fun team. I want to join you to run faster together!"
This shouldn't surprise anyone. "The social animal" in us needs other people in order to be happy and successful. We remember best and connect to stories about other humans. We yearn to be part of the group and dread being outsiders. Furthermore, we automatically adjust our behavior in order to fit, and seek acceptance, even from people we don't like. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, social belonging comes right after finding food and shelter. In the remote workplace, it comes right after getting paid.
2. Flexibility and opportunity to learn and develop
"I am looking for an organization, where I will be getting enough independence to unlearn, learn and re-learn and execute those learnings in actions."
The "growth needs", such as cognitive challenge, self-actualization, status, or recognition, come right above the "deficiency needs" in Maslow's model. Logically, a lot of candidates claim to be looking for opportunities to learn and develop - both personally and professionally. More than ever before, employees value individual support and options, such as mentoring, onboarding, buddy programs, or flexible career tracks, beyond the dichotomy of leadership and subject expertise.
3. Transparent and collaborative culture
"I am looking for a place where diverse voices are heard, and collaboration is ego-free."
When I joined IBM almost 10 years ago, we were already working remotely in a way. With a company so big it just so happened that as a rookie, I was all alone in the Munich office, and the rest were spread across Germany. On my first day, one of my senior colleagues visited onsite. After the usual icebreaker, he said, "Feel free to reach out any time you need something."
I was fast to respond: "That would be often!" I guess I wanted to be polite, but also, I believe in exchange. My manager at the time did not like what I said. She said: "I thought we had hired a self-dependent person." This is nothing you would hear anywhere in the Big 5 today! If you try to play all on your own, you will quickly sacrifice all of the above, as well as your team's trust. In a remote setting, this means proactive communication, clear goals, frequent off-sites, and a great deal of openness to hear and support others.
4. A higher, cool purpose
"Opportunity to help a company implement their vision to build something cool."
I picked the quote above to show that for some people, "making the world a better place" means "building something cool". In a world full of options, talent has the choice. And they want to choose the full package. Purpose has not only become central to the organization, but also to one's job. People want to know what they are building, who are they building for, and how it is going to be useful.
In addition, having a social cause is a plus. Being constantly bombarded with news about global challenges like climate change, inequality, and migration rates, most of us feel the need to contribute a solution. Almost one-fourth of the candidates on AngelList, in one way or another, put an emphasis on purpose in their "Looking for" section.
This is what we found! Are you surprised, or not at all? After all, those four criteria follow Maslow's hierarchy of needs by the book. I am happy to hear from you and hope you can use our findings in your hiring process or organizational transformation.
For the remote workplace, those will be the substitute for employees for actually going to work - your employee experience. The ones to decide how they will feel, what they'll do, and if they'll leave.
To find out more about how Mentessa can foster a culture of connection and create a happier, more motivated and productive workforce:
Was macht eine New Work Facilitator®? Ein Interview mit Annika Wittrock
Wie geht Transformation in der Praxis? Warum sollen Veränderungsprozesse begleitet werden? Welche sind die größten Herausforderungen für Unternehmen auf dem Weg zum neuen Arbeiten? Über diese und weitere Themen spricht mit uns New Work Facilitator® Annika Wittrock im Interview.
April 5, 2023
November 7, 2023
How employee retention works in times of crisis?
Learn how employee retention works and the strategies you can use in times of crisis. Create a great culture, foster employee engagement, and discover the importance of building trust with your team.
March 20, 2023
November 7, 2023
Six reasons to connect employees for informal learning in today's workplace
As the name suggests, informal learning is a learning experience which is spontaneous and unregimented. Someone’s curiosity may be piqued by something they had heard earlier, urging them to search for more information on the company’s learning platform or online. A manager may look over training materials because of a question they had been unable to answer earlier. A junior employee may gain valuable insights by chatting to an experienced colleague. All of the above are examples of informal learning. The common theme is that employees are relaxed. Many times, so relaxed that they may not even regard the experience as learning. In addition, there is no curriculum, no requirement to cover any predetermined items. While in some cases HR and L&D professionals may have helped to connect people – for example by organizing company events – or may have helped create the general setting, the actual content of the learning experience is not planned in advance.
Future of work
We remove barriers to know-how exchange and collaboration for everyone in the workplace.
Mentessa is host of the largest future of work festival "Big & Growing"