Major workforce trends, including technology innovations, four generations working side-by-side, and the gig economy are rapidly changing what fuels employee job satisfaction.
A new research report from Adobe titled “ Work in Progress” highlights views from more than 2,000 office workers in the United States, United Kingdom and India and reveals surprising insights into what keeps employees engaged and productive.
According to Jeff Vijungco, Adobe’s vice president of global talent, employee attitudes are changing quickly — and dramatically. He shared five workplace trends that will influence how leading firms are motivating their teams.
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1. Technology is the top new perk — invest accordingly
Eighty-one percent of U.S. workers say “state of the art” technology is important at work. Yet just one in four workers believes that his or her company’s technology is ahead of the curve.
“Today we operate across numerous sites and time zones so increased investment in technology is key,” says Vijungco. “Employees are ranking technology as more important than perks like food and beverages, a beautiful office, and onsite amenities. It’s time to put away the ping-pong tables and invest in technologies that help workers be more productive, strike a better work-life blend, and collaborate effectively with their colleagues.”
2. People really love to work
Despite attention grabbing headlines about low employee engagement rates, Adobe’s research shows that employees, in reality, really love to work.
Seventy percent of U.S. office workers say they love their jobs and 80 percent would keep working even if they won the lottery, with 51 percent of those respondents saying they would even stay in their current roles.
“My take is that people love to work, but they need to be intellectually challenged and emotionally connected to their job. If those two ingredients are missing, I’ve found engagement plummets,” Vijungco said.
Understanding what motivates workers is critical. People work for diverse reasons. While 88 percent focused on supporting themselves and their families, three-quarters voiced that they work to support their passions and hobbies. Sixty percent want to be recognized as successful, and just over half work to make a positive impact on society.
“When you understand what motivates your team, it’s possible to create an employee experience that supports their success, their sense of purpose and, consequently, their long-term engagement,” Vijungco says.
3. Workers are on the move, but seek more than money
Nearly 60 percent of workers would leave their jobs for a better opportunity. However, better opportunities are about more than just pay. In fact, 47 percent of U.S. workers would take a pay cut for their ideal job. For those looking for new opportunities, work-life balance (64 percent), clear direction (55 percent), and great co-workers (54 percent) all contributed to the ideal workplace.
“The bar is rising when it comes to what top talent looks for in a job,” says Vijungco. “Employers have to provide more than a paycheck and office perks. Instead, companies have to help talent find work they love and a mission they can believe in.”
4. Create opportunities for in-person interactions and collaboration
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Despite the rise in collaboration and communication technology, workers still want in-person interactions. Fifty-six percent of workers prefer face-to-face exchanges to other methods such as email, instant messaging, or phone calls.
“With an increasingly global workforce, collaboration technology is essential. Yet technology doesn’t completely eliminate the need for face-to-face interactions for activities like team building and creating healthy manager-employee relationships. In this case, old school is the new school. Look for opportunities to facilitate in-person interactions, collaboration, and team building to help employees forge lasting connections,” says Vijungco.
5. Work-life balance doesn’t mean 9-to-5 — It’s about productivity
Workers’ growing focus on work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean they want to limit their jobs to strictly 9-to-5. In fact, work has a large percentage of people’s mindshare.
U.S. respondents spend, on workdays, 78 percent of their time thinking about work and, on days off, a striking 41 percent of their time is spent thinking about work. What’s more, one-third of respondents moonlight or have more than one job.
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Workers believe that technology improves work-life balance (70 percent), makes the workday better or easier (74 percent), and provides the freedom to work from anywhere (58 percent).
“Flexibility and balance are about more than just HR policies. Employers should invest in helping employees be more productive, and design workplace technology systems that support workers’ needs for lives outside the office,” says Vijungco.
Today’s top talent wants more than a large paycheck and showy benefits. Instead, employers must provide better employee experiences with flexibility, meaning, and opportunities for growth. People who love their work, embrace their company’s mission, and have the technology needed to efficiently do their jobs will remain productive and engaged for years to come.
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