What employers should be doing in 2021

Jess May
Jess May

You know what you want, but what do your employees want?

It’s 2021, what are you doing?

Business-wise, we’re not here to make you re-evaluate your life choices.

Chances are you’re looking to recruit top talent, increase revenue streams, or simply make your company a happier and healthier place to work.

There’s a lot of “what do employers want” articles out there, but we often forget that our working relationships are a two-way street.

In order to get the best out of your employees, it’s important to understand and accommodate their needs and expectations. This doesn’t mean waiting on them hand and foot, this just means making a few compromises, and trying your best to improve everything for everyone. The past year has forced many companies to modernise their working practices – and employees have also had to adapt.

Wish there was an easy-to-read list of the most popular practices, with a few ways you can integrate them into your own business? Well, look no further:


Ignore the clock, time meant nothing in lockdown

After remote working became a necessity for many employees, flexible working practices have become an increasingly popular method of working. So popular in fact, that it served as the core of Mathew Taylor’s landmark review: Good Work – the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practises. Plus, who doesn’t love having a little more time in bed in the morning?

In his review, Taylor states his beliefthat genuine flexibility, whereby individuals and employers are able to agree terms and conditions that suit them both […] is both the key strength of the UK labour market, and also a core component of fair and decent work. As a society, we should be bolder in designing flexible jobs that allow people to remain and progress in the labour market as their circumstances change.”

TLDR? Basically, flexible working is emerging as a preferred working practice as it allows employees to feel empowered to take control of their own workload and company progression. The link between flexible working and productivity has also been well-documented; and given the prevailing social distancing restrictions it appears that more and more companies will be forced to adopt more negotiable working hours.


Open yourself up to far-flung candidates

Gone are the days of finding employees who can make a commute in under an hour. No more do you need to work with people you may have already had an awkward encounter with! Remote and flexible working go hand-in-hand, and so it’s also important to take advantage of the wide talent pool that’s suddenly manifested itself during the coronavirus pandemic. More than ever before, employees are aware and receptive to opportunities that exist outside of their geographic location.

As this continues into 2021, advertising your new employment opportunities as “remote” will open your company up to a range of talented professionals from all over the world.

Removing the need for your employees to live within the geographical sphere of your company or office ensures that you’ll be hiring candidates based solely on their talent and their potential impact on your business.

While employees might have previously accepted jobs due to their convenient location and accessibility, they are now more likely to search for jobs based on their skillset, salary packages and their genuine interested in what you do. It could also save you any expenses you had set up as travel packages.


Down with the corporate pyramid

Good communication has been a staple of “best practices” for decades, but the COVID pandemic has brought this practice back into the forefront of employee mindsets. As the rigid structure of the traditional work week is broken down, the accepted workplace hierarchy has also begun to topple. And who doesn’t love a good hierarchy topple? (We’re looking at you, Harry.)

Senior management and company bosses are no longer sequestered away in their own offices – instead, they’re on the other end of a Zoom call like everyone else. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; while a company hierarchy will always exist, many employees feel more appreciated and engaged in coequal workspaces. This, of course, leads to higher levels of productivity and creative collaboration as employees are empowered to voice their ideas and work towards a common goal.


Help with the cost of education and training

In the UK, where higher education is (mostly) freely accessible via student loans and bursaries, the cost of education is often overlooked by employers. However, more employees than ever are diversifying their talents and upskilling themselves.

This is particularly prevalent in STEM-centric industries, where employees are consistently expected to keep up with new practices, technologies, and methods. If you’re the ones expecting employees to keep up, wouldn’t it be nice to front the cost for them?

Offering up in-house coaching or external training could be an incredibly beneficial practice to adopt into your business model to keep your workforce sharp and ahead of the curve.


Update your employee benefits packages

Because not everyone wants a slide in the office.

In the last few years, one of the biggest challenges faced by the employer market has been keeping their company benefits packages up to date. As employee behaviours and expectations continue to adapt, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your workforce.

Lots of companies now offer updated health and financial benefits, however you should take steps to remain vigilant of your employee demands and try to stay aware of any emerging trends in consumer behaviour and technological advancements.

This will give you the tools to tailor and adapt your company packages as needed, and in a way that reflects your employees ever-shifting needs.

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