Do you know what’s most important to your employees?

The UK is a pretty unstable place right now – as we outlined in our last blog, the snap general election, and the ongoing confusion over any Brexit deal means the future is uncertain for UK-based businesses and their employees.

This means that you, as a business owner, need to be tuned in than ever into to exactly what your workforce needs and wants – an uncertain workforce is an unhappy and less productive workforce.

So, taking our lead from the findings of the 2017 Global Talent Trends Study, here are what employees are saying are most important to them right now.

What’s important to employees in 2017?

It seems UK employees are more fearful of the future than their peers around the world – the Mercer Global Talent Trends Study found  more UK employees (43%) expect their work situation to become more stressful than the global average indicates (23%).

If you want to put your employees minds more at ease in these uncertain times, you should consider the following:

Health over Wealth

Although 59% of employees rank their health as more important than their wealth or career, and 26% suggest they expect their workplace to become more focused on employee health in the next few years, it seems this message hasn’t filtered through to the decision makers – health and wellbeing is ranked amongst the bottom on HR leaders’ list of top talent management priorities this year.

Make sure your business fully supports employees’ health and wealth needs, as this is already becoming a market differentiator that can help you both attract and retain the best talent.

Pay over Development

Although the majority (96%) of employees suggested they want to be recognized and rewarded for contributions beyond the organization’s financial results and activity metrics, just over a third (37%) think their company does this well.

And while fair and competitive wages and recompense ranked in the top 3 when asked what would make a positive impact on their work situation, rewards didn’t rank highly on the priorities for HR leaders.

Flexible working

Flexible work arrangements are important to employees, with more than half reporting that both their direct manager and company leaders are supportive of it (55% and 51%, respectively). Even so, 51% of employees believe working remotely or part-time can adversely impact promotional opportunities.

And while nearly three-quarters (72%) of full-time employees would consider working on a contingent or contract basis, neither business executives nor HR leaders have embraced these new forms of employment as much as expected or desired.

HR leaders do not expect the “gig economy” to have a major impact on their business in the next two years, and it’s a risk for any organization to ignore opportunities for people to work more independently.

Make it personal

Beyond flexibility, personalisation is essential for creating an experience that resonates with employees. Only 1 in 3 (35%) of employees say their company understands their unique interests and skills, and takes steps to develop them further.

Employees are increasingly bringing a consumer expectation to the workplace since it is how they engage in almost every aspect of their lives. It creates an authentic environment in which employees can excel. When done right, it does not feel like personalisation, it just feels like a great experience that puts the employee first.

Digital Divide

Aspects of technology also show HR is lagging expectations of both executive leadership and employees. Business executives (71%) believe technology at work, including automation, robotics, machine learning, and wearables, is the workforce trend likely to have the most impact on their organizations in the next two years.

But fewer than half (44%) of HR professionals agree. For employees, it is even more basic: just one in 3 organizations surveyed in the UK (30%) said that employees could do more than core HR tasks, such as booking time off, digitally.

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