How Modern Businesses Can Adapt To Changing Worker Attitudes

Gone are the days where people found a job for life. You only have to go back a generation to see just how different our career attitudes are now.

Instead of ticking off job security, pensions, and career progression within a company, we boldly jump from one business to another to hop up the ladder. And while pensions are important, flexible retirement plans mean they don’t have the same meaning they had for our parent’s generation. The truth is, all these things still matter, but the traditional path to obtaining them has diverged with a multitude of options on how, when and where we work.

But what is driving these changing attitudes, and how can you keep up, and ensure your organisation's digital workplace strategy works towards attracting and retaining the best talent? It’s all about understanding employee expectations and creating an environment and opportunity that delivers what it needs to.   

The millennial mindset

Have you heard of the entitlement complex? The idea that millennials expect bigger pay packets or that dream job from the beginning of their careers. Whether this is a theory you agree with or not, there does seem to be some evidence to back it up.

Studies by the University of Hampshire revealed that people born between 1988 and 1994 are 25% more likely to display “entitlement related issues” than 40-60 year olds. Yes, on the surface this could seem like a convenient excuse to verbally bash the younger generation, but you could argue that people of all ages have different expectations from today’s workplace.

As a society, we’re finding it easier to discuss things like the importance of work-life balance and work-related mental health issues. All this goes beyond the traditional salary, pension, security mindset. We’re instead embracing the bigger picture. It’s more of a, “what does your perfect workplace and job role both look and feel like?”

Flexible work environments

Does anyone like being chained to a desk, 9-5? Does anyone actually work 9-5 anymore? It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that most find the drab, cubicle environment uninspiring at best.

There are several reasons why workplaces are becoming more fluid, both in terms of location and working hours. Remote working is becoming much more of “a thing”, and people are plugging into work from all locations, around the clock. Incidentally, this is one great way to open roles up to a larger talent pool too. If you’re not location-specific, the sky’s the limit.

This is all possible due to tech advancements, but tech is only useful if it answers a need. Today’s so-called “sandwich-generation” have responsibilities to look after both their children and ageing relatives. Meanwhile, as the retirement age rises, the workforce is diversifying. As a result, work-life balance has never been a hotter topic, and businesses need to find new ways to accommodate their employees. 

Then there’s the mindset aspect of working flexibly. If staff feel good about being treated fairly, and being able to balance work and family commitments, this is a huge boost to morale.

And last but not least, there are also big advantages for enterprises that embrace and support remote and flexible working. As well as happier and more productive workers, there are real-world cost and efficiency savings to be made when a proportion of staff have options to work remotely. 

The rise of tech

As tech advancements are ushered into the workplace at an increased pace, businesses have more solutions to meet the collaboration needs of a mobile and technically savvy workforce. 

Looking to our everyday lives, it’s easy to see how these changes have come about. We’re becoming increasingly au fait with machines like Alexa and Siri. We connect with friends and family on Skype. We’re happy to chat with customer service bots on websites, and we expect brands to have a strong online presence. Then there’s the smartphone. An appendage we seemingly can’t do without. So despite the growing importance of a good home/work balance for modern workers, we are always connected and able to communicate with our workplaces, yet another reason 9-5 is becoming an outdated concept.  

There is a dizzying array of communication and collaboration tools available, but all too often organisations overlook user experience as a consideration when selecting their collaboration solution to work across (and enable) their digital workplace. Many of the aforementioned benefits of cultivating a modern, flexible working culture can be undermined if users do not embrace the collaboration platform due to a poor or unreliable experience.

In conclusion …

The workplace as we knew it has already changed exponentially. Great strides in tech have created opportunities for both businesses and employees that were previously unheard of. The ability to access a worldwide talent pool and create flexible workplaces has huge benefits all round. Simultaneously, employees have a more pressing need to balance busy home-lives with work commitments.

To get the most from staff, boost productivity, reduce costs and increase morale, businesses need to meet this growing appetite for balance and autonomy with a considered collaboration strategy and ensure they providing the right tools for collaboration and communication. 

It’s all about an attitude shift. You might say that we all need to be a bit more “millennial” in our thinking to aim big.