The top five things people want from work right now

It’s safe to say we are still facing questions about the future of work and what people really want from their employer as the world of work changes. Even before Covid-19, there were clear trends taking us toward more remote working, more flexible working, more mobile workers and more dispersed workforces. 

Now, as we factor in candidate shortages, rises in hiring and record growth of starting pay* we take a look at the latest research and what our candidates are telling us they want from work right now so that you can hire and retain your best finance and tax professionals

1. Flexible work that’s about individual choice

We’re hearing from our finance and tax candidates that some sort of flexibility is fast becoming an accepted norm. It’s also becoming clear that many organisations are adapting their approach here to attract and retain the best.

The first question candidates used to ask us when being approached about a new role was “What’s the package?” Now it’s “what’s the working pattern for this role?”. 

In order to reach the widest pool of candidates, we recommend adding your flexible working policy on the job specification so that your job doesn’t get discounted. Clients with no flexibility to offer will find it harder to recruit but it’s by no means impossible.

2. Part of a co-created vibrant physical & digital culture 

After people’s basic needs are met, for example, money to pay the bills, benefits to ensure their health is taken care of, mentoring for career development, people want a great work community and culture. 

Before covid, 82% of leaders believed that “culture is a potential competitive advantage”, whereas only 19% believed they have the “right culture”. **

When we factor in the impact of flexible working, where we may not be experiencing the office environment so much, creating a sense of belonging and opportunities for informal collaboration via your digital infrastructure are becoming increasingly important. People want to connect with their colleagues no matter where they are and they want to have a say in how things are done. 

This is a key challenge to address when we think about the future and planning talent attraction and hiring strategy, especially in areas like digital onboarding and creating online community groups to help people get their feet under the table.

3. Feel like they belong to an open community

Generational changes are also driving the desire for greater openness. We have five generations in the workforce now from iGen/GenZ, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen x all the way through to Baby Boomers and Traditionalists. 

We see our clients embracing this through their office infrastructure and through their wider culture in order to attract and retain their best finance professionals. 

Julian Randles, CFO at Czarnikow, made these changes in response to their people’s needs:

“Let’s make the office an exciting, vibrant place to come in and let’s make it fit for purpose for the post COVID environment.” We’ll have desks of course but it will be more of a hot desk type environment. The majority of the office will now be set aside for meeting space, for audio visual type areas so that people can come in, have meetings, get on video conferences and so forth in order to collaborate with others around the globe.”

The good news is there is real evidence to support the benefits of becoming a more open and transparent organisation, from lower absenteeism to higher revenue. In fact 41% lower absenteeism, according to Gallup’s state of the American Workforce and 765 times higher revenue according to Dan Coyle’s Culture Code.

4. Have a voice and a say in the company

Candidates we speak to are generally looking for open company cultures and we definitely see many organisations growing past the idea of a strict hierarchy. People want to feel connected to their work community and when this connection isn’t there we see people start their job search. 

People want to communicate in more modern, flexible ways that allow them to have a say. They also want to be recognised for their contribution. If you can create the opportunity for continuous feedback within your finance or tax team and across the organisation we believe you’ll stand the best chance to retain your talent. 

5. Authentic, real leaders that they can connect with 

As strict hierarchies in organisations become a thing of the past, people are looking for a different kind of leadership style. Modern leaders listen and create inclusive cultures. They are also helping to break down functional hierarchies. 

Our finance and tax candidates are telling us they want to have an influence on the running of the business and be true business partners so if you can help to break down those barriers so that finance is at the forefront of the business you will stand the best chance of retaining your best people.

*KPMG Rec Report November 2021

**Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends

Get In Touch

To get help with your recruitment process or job search, please do get in touch with Andrew Setchell today on +44 7495 483425, email andrewsetchell@srmrecruitment.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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