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?
As we at Mentessa are currently busy hiring and see a large number of resumes, we decided that this is a great opportunity to study the trend at first hand. We used the 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 analysed those inputs and found that the following four factors matter most to job seekers in 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 the outsider. We automatically adjust our behaviour in order to fit, and seek acceptance even from people we don't like. In the Maslow's hierarchy of needs social belonging comes right after finding food and a shelter. In the remote workplace it comes right after getting paid.
2. Flexibility and opportunity to learn and develop
"I am looking for an organisation, 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-actualisation, 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 matter 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 remote in a way. With a company so big it just so happened that I as a rookie was all alone in the Munich office, the rest 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 by 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 organisation, but also to one's job. People want to know what are they building, who are they building for, how is it going to be useful.
In addition, having a social cause is a plus. Being constantly radiated with news about global challenges like the climate change, inequality, migration rates, most of us feel feel the need to contribute to their 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 the four criteria follow Maslow's hierarchy of needs by the book. I am happy to hear form you and hope you can use our finding in your hiring process or organisational transformation. In the remote workplace those will be the substitute to 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.
This article originally published here.