What Do Employees Want? New Studies Send Clear Messages

No items found.
Grodnitzky, Ph.D.
May 25, 2022

New data! I know — I get more excited than most. But this is information that must be shared.  We already know about the Great Resignation and the rise of hybrid work. Now, with these new findings, we are learning more about what makes employees leave, as well as what they want the post-pandemic workweek and workspaces to look like.

The #1 Reason Employees Quit: Toxic Corporate Culture

A review by MIT Sloan Management Review analyzed the effects of more than 170 cultural factors on employee departure in Culture 500 companies – comparing each to compensation. Each bar indicates the level of importance of each factor for attrition relative to employee compensation. A toxic culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation.

Graphical user interface, applicationDescription automatically generated

A deeper dive shows the top three critical elements contributing to toxic cultures:

  1. Failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion
  2. Workers feeling disrespected
  3. Unethical behavior

It’s easy to think compensation is why people are leaving. But the fact remains that if you take money off the table for your employees – pay them fairly for the role they play in your company (which indeed reflects your culture) – they will be far more likely to stay regardless of other offers. Stated differently, they may say they leave for a higher salary, but salary is not why they started to look elsewhere or took the call from a headhunter.  

Employees See More Hybrid Work Ahead

In another excellent study published by Gensler, it is clear that while almost half employees want to continue to work from home full time, employees also acknowledge that a post-pandemic workforce will likely involve more hybrid work – working from home one to four days per week. Those who want to be in the office full time now are likely the same people who will want to be in the office full time post pandemic. It is the people who are working from home full time now that will move to a more hybrid work environment.

Graphical user interfaceDescription automatically generated

Open Offices Fall from Favor

The Gensler study also found that the “open office” trend, which has been popular for many years, will be reversing. Gensler was able to map the survey responses on preferred work environments into six categories, from totally open to totally private. Their findings indicate a 20-point increase in a desire from some privacy to total privacy.

Graphical user interface, diagram, websiteDescription automatically generated

Safety Is Still on Employees’ Minds

Employees will have to feel that it is safe to return to work before they will be willing to do so.  Improved air filtration systems, enhanced cleaning protocols and increased access to private spaces will be critical factors in providing employees with the sense of safety they need to return to work comfortably.  

ChartDescription automatically generated

Individual productivity has been a cornerstone of success for organizations, large and small.   But businesses, society and humanity have succeeded because of our ability to create and collaborate. Future businesses will be successful when they create work environments that people want to go to, and those environments will support and augment the collective creativity and collaboration that this pandemic has taken from so many of us.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments. If you would like to discuss this topic further, just drop me a note

Until then, let’s keep cultivating our culture, together!

More articles

Be the first to know about new articles, courses, and keynotes