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The Internal Comms Review: What employees want from employers

There are many factors that employees take into consideration when they look to change companies. It’s one of those ‘big moments’ in life that individuals want to get right, with endless elements being considered and priorities being prioritised.

But these priorities appear to be changing. New data from SEC Newgate has demonstrated that workers are becoming ever more demanding in their consideration of potential new employers. The data is also beginning to reveal a divergence in priorities for younger vs. older generations of employees.

The ‘Employee Focus’ special of SEC Newgate’s latest ESG Monitor takes a deep dive into what employees are really seeking from employers. Our survey (of 1009 people) asked those currently employed the question: “If you were considering a potential new employer, how important would the following things be for you, personally?” We identified “important” as 7+ on a 10-point scale.

This question threw up some findings that employers could do well to take note:

Compensation remains the key driver. Naturally, we all expect to do better financially when moving roles, and unsurprisingly, the top consideration for employees is the financial package on offer, with ‘salary, benefits, and rewards’ important for 9 in 10 (87%).

However, the ‘S’ in ‘ESG’ follows right behind. All employees are looking for strong evidence of credibility in how a ‘company treats its employees’ (85%), and ‘an employer’s adherence to workplace rights and conditions’ (80%). It’s essential that employers consider how they are communicating their actions in this space - and that this topic is front and centre in any recruitment process.

It is flexibility rather than ‘hybrid working’ that is now most prized. While 63% of workers feel that hybrid working is an important consideration when appraising a new employer (and this is most important for Gen Y), it is more important that an employer can demonstrate ‘flexibility to support work and life priorities e.g. flexible hours, part time options, study leave etc.’, with 8 in 10 (79%) of all employees rating this as important.

Authenticity and purpose are key. Although salary, fair treatment and flexibility are key priorities, the research also suggests an elevated desire for fulfilment in the workplace. 76% of UK employees told us they want a workplace that gives them the ‘ability to be yourself without judgement’, 72% want to ‘do work that matters’, and 70% are seeking ‘autonomy within their role’. People are seeking to build their identity into their careers and want the space to express their own personality and unique approach in how they work. Underscoring these drivers of choice, it is unsurprising that 7 in 10 take a company’s ‘purpose, culture, and values’ and their ‘overall reputation’ into account as evidence that the organization can match their values and deliver on their personal aspirations.

Younger generations are more demanding of employers. Across the board, GenZ and GenY are evaluating new employers more keenly, rating more factors as important, reflecting the early-mid stages of their careers. And, although ‘opportunities for career development, professional development and training’ are important for all generations, nearly 9 in 10 GenZ and GenY prize this especially, at a similar level to salary and benefits.

It is also important for these generations to feel holistically supported by their workplace, and they are much more likely to evaluate ‘the well-being support and initiatives offered’ by a company (nearly 8 in 10 select this as important).

Work is so much more than a job for GenZ. This cohort is also seeking social and intellectual fulfilment, with 76% selecting ‘your ability to meet like-minded people’ as a key consideration, much higher compared to other generational cohorts.

Just as the wider SEC Newgate ESG Monitor found that the public expect companies to be more than just profit-driven - for employees, work is now so much more than a way to earn money. This is especially the case for the younger generations and potential workforce of the future. Companies would do well to communicate how their working practices will work for future employees.

This PRmoment Internal Comms Review is written Leyla Hart-Svensson, Head of Research, of PR Agency SEC Newgate

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