Workplace trends are changing fast. Among the biggest changes is a renewed focus on wellbeing and diversity initiatives, from both the employer and the employees, according to a new study from Aspire, a global recruitment agency based in Singapore, the UK and the US.
Based on research generated through surveys sent to their clients and candidates, the report focuses on how to prioritise staff wellbeing and properly implement diversity initiatives, and it also looks at some of the biggest changes brought to the workplace by the millennial generation.
Why is this report necessary?
The fabric of the working world has changed dramatically over the last few years. And the growth of equal working opportunities regarding gender, ethnicity, age and disability has made it necessary for a report such as Aspire’s to consider what employers need to do to attract, and retain, talent. Operating in this changing world requires employers to accept that homogenous attitudes towards employees, and those dreaded one-size-fits-all initiatives, are no longer effective. Hence, to thrive, businesses must satisfy the desires, and expectations, of the new workforce.
The millennials and their expectations
The report covers in detail the changes that have occurred in line with the growth of millennials in the workforce. By 2025, the group shall make up 75% of the world’s workforce.
Millennials are often viewed as the group that have instigated, or perhaps even demanded, alterations to workplace structures. The report examines how open-plan offices, working from home, and flexible working hours are just a few examples of initiatives increasingly introduced in the last few years. Flexible working has been found to be the most popular benefit offered by employers in the APAC region, with 73% of employees preferring it over other schemes. Employee needs are being increasingly recognised within the workplace and those who don’t offer consider them could lose their candidates, and thus their competitiveness.
Indeed, having a strong competitiveness is more crucial than ever. Aspire has found that 50% of candidate respondents said they would move jobs by the end of the year. In comparison, only 6% said they were happy to stay with their company for the next 4-5 years. Therefore, the ideology that previous generations had of a ‘job-for-life’ no longer exists.
Encouraging diversity and valuing employees for their differences
The definition of ‘diversity’ has changed over the last decade in APAC, according to the report. Although gender diversity still dominates the discussion in the region, employers are increasingly coming to realise that socioeconomic background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and age are among the factors that they must now consider when recruiting.
The report also addresses the benefits that can come with a successful recruiting process which allows for a diverse workforce, such as producing higher profits. For instance, it cites a 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group, which, having studied 1700 different companies across 8 different countries, found that having diverse management teams led to a 19% higher revenue.
Aspire’s report recognises that removing biases is extremely difficult, but it lays out certain ways that employers can achieve diversity. These range from adapted recruitment processes to physically altering the workplace environment. Such changes aim to help make employees from diverse groups feel more comfortable and valued at work. Encouraging employee collaboration is another way to achieve such a feeling of being valued, as it allows workers from a wide range of backgrounds to forge meaningful relationships. Employees will value their co-workers and their company more, meaning that employee retention rates are likely to be higher because employees are less likely to want to change jobs.
Aspire’s report details how wellbeing has become more of a focus for the worker in recent years. The millennials’ expectation to receive benefits from their company is rapidly becoming the norm for other diverse groups too. Aspire’s APAC candidate survey found that 59.81% of respondents were unsatisfied with the benefits and pay being offered to them, and that this would lead them to leave their job. This statistic is 19.81% higher than the result for Aspire’s equivalent UK survey.
Wellbeing initiatives focused on physical and mental health are perceived as more important than ever. Such initiatives could include offering counselling, arranging team expeditions, and cycle-to-work schemes to promote a healthy work-life. By implementing such schemes, a workforce can become more motivated and engaged with the work they are producing. This translates into happy workers, which equals higher productivity and ethos, resulting in improved retention.
Aspire’s report offers not only interesting food for thought, but tangible and practical advice on how to be a competitive business in 2020. By understanding how the world of work is shifting, you can avoid getting left behind, and make sure your business overcomes the recruitment and retention challenge.