2021 was quite a year. Many continued to work virtually, some returned to the office, and onsite and frontline workers adjusted to public health measures to ensure essential services continued to operate. As we kickoff 2022, employers and employees globally are once again being asked to adjust their workplace expectations as the pandemic lingers. The silver lining is that we are resilient and can adapt to whatever the world throws at us – we know this now more than ever.
In anticipation of the year ahead, we wanted to gauge employees’ sentiment to their work lives – namely, what is it they want to accomplish? Are they happy, or are they seeking different experiences and challenges? How do they feel about the year ahead, given everything they’ve been through?
According to our latest online poll of global employees* in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK, conducted earlier this month on behalf of Ceridian by The Harris Poll, optimism reigns, even in these challenging times. However, many global employees want more from their employers in 2022:
So what should employers have top of mind with an eye on attracting, retaining, and nurturing all employees?
First thing’s first – a note on optimism. The fact that a clear majority feel this way heading into 2022 says something about the resilience I noted earlier. The past two years have brought a lot of bad news, but it has also shown us that we can thrive even under the most difficult of circumstances. Optimism is a stated value at Ceridian – and core to our culture and our thinking. Preparation leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to confidence, and confidence leads to optimism. In 2022, let’s try our best to keep those positive fires burning, and celebrate our successes, big and small.
Secondly, it is no surprise that promotions are top of mind. And while not everyone will be in a position for a promotion, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for growth – moving “up”, in the traditional sense, is not the only way. According to the poll, one in five (21%) are seeking a series of different roles with one employer when it comes to their work life in 2022 and beyond. This poses a unique opportunity for employees to embrace new skillsets, learn from new leaders and colleagues, and uncover other opportunities for growth. This is what we call “elastic hiring,” which is adopting the tenets of the gig economy inside the organization. Increasingly, companies are thinking this way – aligning individual skills with projects and company priorities and moving employees around within the organization as needed. It might be what some employees are looking for – this kind of professional flexibility can lead to greater efficiency, retention and new thinking.
Finally, offer meaningful benefits beyond the status quo – covering mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. Our research revealed that a greater focus on mental and physical health benefits is something employees want employers to invest in. Since December, communities around the globe have reverted to some version of lockdown, and this impacts everyone differently. Some are tasked with managing children and households as virtual learning returns; others are caring for aging or sick parents or relatives. All the while we are trying to maintain our own physical, mental, and emotional health.
Employees need to feel that their employers are prioritizing their best interests, and workplaces that recognize their role in lessening these burdens will be the employers of choice moving forward.
If they haven’t already, now is the time for employers to review vacation policies, benefits, and other resources to ensure they are meeting their employees where they are from a well-being standpoint. Financial wellness is a key part of this, including access to earned wages and retirement planning.
It’s been a challenging few years for the workforce. However, the fact that employees feel optimistic about their work life and have clear, defined goals is very encouraging. I know that if employers take employees’ feedback and desires to heart, work life and company culture as it is today will continue to improve, and we’ll be even better positioned to thrive through any challenge the world of work faces in 2022 and beyond.
This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ceridian from Dec. 17-22, 2021 among 2,946 adults ages 18 and older employed full-time, part-time or self-employed in the US (n=1,181), UK (n=568), Canada (n=625) and Australia (n=572). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Rachel Kreuter, Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org.