The digital era has significantly changed the nature of many jobs and professions. Increasing number of roles can be done remotely and remote teams have become a must for matrix organisations with international presence. Under influences of new lifestyle trends set by the emerging millennial workforce, employees have adopted a set of values which they expect their employers to respect and support. But what exactly do employees want and how can employers satisfy their needs?
Meaningful work and continuous professional development
Employees want their work to have a meaning and purpose. They want their long hours, everyday efforts and invested talent to contribute to something meaningful and leave behind a real impact. They also want to learn new skills and develop professionally.
Extra tasks which result in a work overload or another Excel training will definitely not answer this need. Employers should limit spending learning & development budgets on expensive outsourced trainings, which have usually little return and applicability on employees’ every day jobs.
In the US, work psychologists recommend both employees and employers explore the skill-based volunteering. Employees dedicate a part of their working time to a non-profit project that requires specific expertise that they can offer.
An IT expert can build a new network or develop new software for an NGO that doesn’t have any IT resource. A marketer can help to promote and sell handcrafted products of marginalised ethnic minorities.
Volunteering professional skills where they are missing makes a big difference and leaves real impact. Employees can find career purpose and learn from a new working environment. Employers gain new insights and skills. Supporting employee volunteering initiatives also feeds into a company’s Corporate & Social Responsibility agenda making it measurable and human-centred.
Remote work and flexibility
Occasional remote work or home office arrangements became standard benefits to stimulate employees’ work-life balance and accommodate both daily and exceptional life situations. But what if employees want to have a choice of long term remote working and decide from where and when will they work? In the eyes of some employers, long term remote working still has a doubtful reputation and its efficiency is being scrutinised.
But what if location independent working arrangements are exactly what employees need to be satisfied and productive Nowadays, companies can create new partnerships and outsource solutions combining the concepts of remote work and skill-based volunteering and offer both to their employees as part of company benefits.
Organizations have nowhere to hide. They have to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce. If they don’t, they’ll struggle to attract and keep great employees and, therefore, customers. Gallup: American Workforce Changing at a Dizzying Pace, www.gallup.com
The remote work programmes offered by several companies worldwide seem to be a way to achieve a perfect balance between building a career with purpose and having work flexibility. Employers who identify the opportunity and support employees to work remotely and volunteer their skills can only gain, not lose.
Remote work programmes can prevent a drain of valuable talent and, in addition, contribute to their development. Hand in hand with companies needing to do more in the area of CSR, skill-based volunteering and remote working are concepts not to be missed by any employer.
Guest post by Vera Frajtova, Venture with Impact, LLC.