Since the onset of COVID-19, the world has experienced a widespread shift away from centralized workplaces and offices. The trend of working from home has created a new business paradigm, pushing employers to creatively and effectively manage their businesses while honoring their employees’ newfound flexibility. 

Thankfully, advances in technology have helped with the transition from office to home, enabling businesses to meet the changing demands of customers and workers alike. But how has this impacted hourly workers? This article details what employees want most, what the future of work looks like, and what solutions businesses are using to build and maintain new and efficient operational models.

What Your Employees Want Most

With a widespread talent shortage, employers who take the time to understand what people want will be better able to attract employees. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Flexibility: A Work-Life Balance

A recent study revealed that more than 68% of workers say they’d switch careers if it meant a better work-life balance was guaranteed, even if the pay was less. Flexibility – over their schedule, hours, time off, etc. – gives your on-demand workers the ideal work-life balance they’re looking for. And it can also lead to increased productivity, higher retention rates, less stressed employees, and more engaged staff. To demonstrate that you value your employees’ happiness and well-being, consider offering flexible schedules, encourage workers to use their PTO, and promote unplugging hours after work. 

Recognition and Appreciation

Employee recognition is a cornerstone of effective management. As competition for talent increases, demonstrate appreciation for your on-demand workers. When employees feel a sense of belonging at work, job performance levels increase by 56%. When employees hit milestones at work, rewarding them with pay increases shows you appreciate and value them. 

Better Pay and Benefits

By offering competitive pay and additional benefits, you can claim and retain top talent. If you want your on-demand workers to stick around, think beyond base salary expectations and re-evaluate your benefits package. Benefits can no longer be looked at for full time employees only. Consider the following value-adds in addition to healthcare and 401Ks:

  • Commuter stipends
  • Parental leave options
  • More vacation and PTO
  • Financial wellness programs
  • Mental health clinical services

Inclusion

When employees feel included, they tend to produce higher quality work and stay in their positions longer. Create inclusivity in the workplace by giving your on-demand workers opportunities to connect as teams, celebrating employee differences, prioritizing communication, and setting goals to measure their progress. 

Career Growth Opportunities

Without a clear trajectory of where their career is headed, employees may look elsewhere for a job. In fact, 45% of employees will leave their job if there is a lack of advancement opportunities. To maintain a competitive advantage in the global job market, workers want to hone their current skills or acquire new ones. By offering learning and development initiatives, you can ensure higher retention rates. To show your hourly staff that you value their career growth, give them access to appealing development courses, offer promotions where warranted, and create an internal job board. 

Job Stability and Security 

A January 2022 study found that 27% of U.S. workers worry about their job security. Considering the economy’s record low unemployment rate, that number is significantly high. Employees want to know they can depend on their job. You can make your on-demand workers feel valued, secure, and safe through initiatives like providing constructive feedback, one-on-one meetings, and empowering them with a clear learning development plan. When you do, performance levels will improve and your staff will be more motivated and engaged. 

What Does the Future of Work Look Like?

Employees Will Continue to Value Flexibility More

Flexible work is predicted to keep increasing into the next decade. Studies indicate that 36.2 million workers will be working remotely by 2025—an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates – giving them more opportunites to manage their schedules and pick up gig work for additional income. 

Businesses Will Increase Their Focus on Health, Wellness, and Safety

The pandemic shed a much needed spotlight on employees’ health and safety across all industries. According to a McKinsey & Co report, 83% of business executives plan to hire more people for health and safety roles over the next two years. Companies are extending their concerns beyond their staff’s physical health, providing more resources to improve mental health as well. 

Employers Will Strive to Increase Diversity and Inclusion

With flexible work becoming the new normal, companies can tap into a much bigger talent pool, allowing them to improve diversity in the workforce. Companies have begun to initiate conversations to encourage employees to speak openly about issues related to racism, bias and prejudice, and sexism. With these positive signs, employers will hopefully spark real change that will help build more inclusive and diverse work teams. 

Technology Will Continue to Evolve, Forcing Businesses to Reconsider How to Integrate People, AI, and New Technologies

The pandemic forced employers to implement more automated and digital solutions to prevent the spread of the virus. As fewer employees work at the same location, companies’ use of these solutions is only expected to grow more. While the adoption of automation and digitization may have been well underway before COVID-19, it looks like it is here to stay. In fact, a McKinsey study revealed that 85% of organizations accelerated their digitization efforts, and 67% sped up their use of AI and automation. 

4 Things You Can Do to Prepare for the Future of Work

While a lot of uncertainty still remains around what the idea of a “new” workplace means, here are four things you can do to evolve your strategy accordingly.

  1. Put Skills at the Top of Your Priority List

With HR leaders facing an employee shortage, skills are at the top of their priority list. However, employee ambitions will continuously change, and so will business needs. Therefore, initiatives need to be designed to keep pace. Prioritize skill building to deal with the rapidly changing supply of talent and be sure to adjust your upskilling and reskilling initiatives accordingly when the need arises. 

  1. Emphasize Career Growth

Without a career ladder, your hourly workers are likely to be restless. Give your staff meaningful opportunities for advancement that align with their long-term goals and sense of purpose. This way, your employees can feel genuinely connected to their work. 

  1. Take Advantage of Next-Generation Technology

When it comes to technology, shift your strategies to support your new initiatives. By getting on board with the newest next-generation technology tools, you can drive greater value for your organization. Using these tools will unlock agility, institute effective communication and democratize career development for your workers. 

  1. Remove Bias and Barriers from the Equation

Latent biases can prevent you from realizing an employee’s full potential. Instead of letting them sway your hiring decisions, remove bias to give each worker a fair chance. Democratize career development by providing your on-demand workers with full transparency into the opportunities that your company offers. 

Using Nowsta to Manage Your On-Demand Workforce 

If you want to retain talent, you must understand your employees’ future top priorities. To take your business to new heights it will be necessary to embrace new work models, cultivate a desirable workforce, and take advantage of technology to advance your strategies. 

Nowsta can help you meet the needs of the rising new generation of workers. Get in touch today to learn how. To learn more about what Nowsta can do for you, follow us on social media.