While a decent salary is an obvious expectation for workers, they also expect their employers to deliver more concerning health, career growth and purpose.
When you take the time to invest in your employees and ensure you meet their needs, you end up with a competitive talent pool of motivated, productive and happier individuals. These workers can perform their duties expertly and remain with the company long term.
For industries that lack gender and racial diversity, however, this becomes even more critical. Read on if you’re looking to improve your work culture and want to ensure your people have what they need to remain happy and successful.
Fostering Greatness — Why Meeting Workers’ Needs Matter
Meetings your workers’ needs is essential to decreasing work-related stress, boosting morale and increasing productivity. It is even more imperative in fields with significant gender and racial gaps. A lack of resources, strong leaders and inclusive environments can cause employees to feel underrepresented or like you can’t meet their needs.
In the United Kingdom, only 35% of university students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes are female.
Underrepresentation in male-dominated careers is a significant issue across all fields, driven by little mentorship, notable pay gaps, gender stereotypes, poor diversity recruitment and harassment.
Take construction, for example. While indeed a challenging industry regardless of gender, 90% of women show no interest in pursuing construction jobs or consider it a poor fit. Is it the type of work — or has advertising led women to perceive the construction industry as intimidating and suitable solely for men?
You can observe similar problems in the aviation industry. In the U.K., aviation doesn’t disclose information regarding racial inequities in the workforce or racial wage gap statistics.
However, the lack of gender and racial diversity has negatively affected aviation worldwide. According to Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook 2021–2040, newly-qualified and highly-trained personnel are in demand for operating the global commercial fleet in the next 20 years. The report also estimates that the industry — which is currently facing substantial pilot shortages — will need to fill the following vacancies:
- 612,000 pilots
- 626,000 maintenance technicians
- 886,000 cabin crew members
Corporate success requires overhauling outdated recruitment and retention strategies, and providing better care for employees’ physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being. When workers feel empowered, respected and valued, their performance improves and helps drive your company’s mission.
7 Ways to Meet Employees’ Needs
After nearly two years of work-from-home during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.K. has begun to experience the Great Resignation. Roughly one-fifth of U.K. workers are planning to leave their current companies by next year for higher pay and increased job satisfaction.
These seven tips can help you meet your workers’ needs and improve recruitment and retention.
1. Develop Better Communication
Opening the lines of communication boosts workplace morale and is one area you should pay attention to. Your employees require praise for a job well done as much as feedback for improvement.
Some ways you can develop more effective communication could include:
- Scheduling one-to-one meetings with employees to discuss their work and career goals
- Actively listening to their concerns about their current role or the company’s trajectory
- Encouraging them to make suggestions and share ideas
- Helping them come up with a plan for ongoing learning or skills development to improve performance
- Getting to know your employees on a more personal level and focusing on team-building practises
If you have shy employees working for you, feeling seen and heard is even more essential for their jobs. Following a survey about workplace communication, Executive Director Chris Mullen of The Workforce Institute at UKG commented that 34% of employees would rather resign than share their concerns with managers. To him, developing trust is vital if you want quiet workers to be open with you.
2. Compensate Fairly
Considering most employees intend to resign due to poor wages at their current jobs, compensating your employees appropriately is perhaps the most critical for ensuring you’re meeting their financial needs.
A Gallup report recently found that 13% of women ages 18 to 60 worldwide are unmarried with children 15 or younger living in their households. In the United Kingdom, the demographics of single-parent families with a dependant are 87.3% Caucasian, 8.3% Black and 5.8% Asian or mixed races.
Females and people of colour in the workforce are particularly in need of fair compensation. For single parents with children to feed, their income is an absolute means of survival.
Run annual reports on gender and racial wage discrepancies at your company and seek solutions to close the pay gap. Employees who feel they’re receiving adequate wages and feel financially secure will be much happier working for you.
3. Promote Health and Well-Being
Studies have shown that workers’ health and well-being tie into productivity. For example, workers experience increasing fatigue, insomnia, body aches, frequent headaches, colds and flu, anxiety and gastrointestinal issues due to poor health conditions.
The workplace also impacts mental health. In a recent survey regarding return-to-the-office mandates, 49% of respondents anticipated cognitive decline with onsite work, while 36% of those who’ve already returned are currently experiencing poor mental health.
Invest in your workers’ physical, emotional and mental health by offering quality benefits, health insurance, access to mental health services and onsite amenities. This could include an office gym, counselling, fitness classes or other ways to help employees improve their well-being.
4. Provide Opportunities for Career Growth
The current job market is highly competitive, especially in careers lacking diversity. According to research by Glint, the number one driver of work culture in 2020 was development and learning opportunities.
Ensure your workers’ professional needs are met by delivering onsite or off-site professional and skills-based training and development. Paving a path for promotions and leadership opportunities is another excellent way to enhance employee performance and boost morale.
Additionally, having workers who are adept in the latest industry trends and technologies is highly beneficial for your bottom line. Companies that offer professional development have a 34% higher retention rate than those that do not, with most employees willing to stay for another five years at a company.
5. Improve Work-Life Balance
Workers in the U.K. currently work 3.9 hours of overtime per week — usually unpaid. Further, female employees tend to work 4.5 hours overtime every week, unlike the additional 2.8 hours that men work.
While it may not seem like four to five hours is a lot now and then, this uncontracted work adds up by the end of the year.
Employers who value their workers’ time ensure they have the proper work-life balance. Proposing flexible work weeks, allowing remote or telecommuting options and offering ample or unlimited paid time off can help prevent work-related stress and enhance focus.
Encourage breaks and vacations and communicate with your employees to remind them they can take time off for their families or personal needs without disciplinary action.
6. Generate Belonging and Purpose
Workers spend a lot of time tied to their desks and work. In some ways, companies and teams become a second family. As such, it’s essential to instill a sense of belonging and purpose to make your workers feel valued.
Ask about your employees’ families, hobbies and interests and encourage participation in fun team-building activities, outings and volunteer work.
Additionally, remind your employees that their work is meaningful to you and the company. Everyone wants to know what they do carries a significant purpose and that they are contributing to the company’s mission in some way.
7. Become An Effective Leader
The support of effective leaders can help meet workers’ needs. Leadership lays the groundwork for expectations and company goals, providing clear communication and work ethic for everyone involved. The best managers are also adept at mediation for handling toxic workplace situations and ensuring everyone feels safe and valued, regardless of gender or race.
Employees want to work for leaders they can respect — who they can trust to steer the company forward.
Transparency regarding corporate or budgetary challenges and performance is critical for employees to help reduce their anxiety and unwanted surprises. It also enables employees to make better work-related judgements that benefit the business.
Are Your work Needs Being Met?
A happier, more productive workplace demands that workers feel seen and heard by corporate leaders. What are your thoughts about employers ensuring they meet workers’ needs? Share your comments and suggestions below.