Knowing how to adapt and respond in times of change can be a challenge for us all. And more than the natural evolution of how we work, there are now more millennials in the workforce than any other generation. This group tends to seek authentic experiences with employers who have a culture and mission that reflect what they value at their core. So what may have motivated workers in the past, has now gone decidedly well beyond financial incentives. Luckily, with these changing times, it turns out there are a few things every company can do to stay competitive with the changing workforce.
The nature of work these days is that workers are notably more mobile and flexible. They’re saying goodbye to rigid hierarchies, formal business attire, and to the executives sitting in a corner office. Instead, they’re more often attracted to welcoming workplaces known for flexibility, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. That may be why an increasing number of workers—more than a third of the overall workforce—are choosing to be their own bosses and embarking on freelance careers. Those who don’t turn to freelancing tend to change jobs more frequently. In fact, according to Deloitte, nearly half of millennials, who are projected to comprise 50% of the workforce by 2020, believe they’ll leave their current workplace within two years.
Focus on the people
Happy employees, along with their experience, are core drivers to the success of a business, but finding and retaining them can be a challenge. More importantly, the price of replacing them can be quite steep, with studies showing costs ranging from a third of annual salary to over 200% of annual salary for highly skilled employees. Companies are starting to realize they need to go well beyond salary and healthcare benefits to compete in today’s competitive talent market.
In recent years, companies have been finding new success when they put employees at the core of everything they do. From business strategy to unique workplace design, the employee experience is at the heart of it all. Purpose-driven companies, who believe in turning more than a profit, in particular attract today’s workforce.
Moreover, companies that give workers a sense of belonging and empower them to be their authentic selves at work are more likely to have happy, engaged, and productive employees. Happy employees also drive a bigger bottom line. According to Bain & Co., over a seven-year period, companies with highly engaged employees grew revenue by 2.5x compared to those with low engagement.
But it turns out many companies aren’t yet taking the opportunity to help employees feel more of a sense of belonging at work. In fact, according to Gallup, just one-third of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and only 13% globally. If companies truly want to attract, motivate, and retain talent, then organizations need to do more. They need to live and breathe a more talent-centric approach to everything they do, from hiring top talent to professional development to facilities design, and reinforce it through established programs, practices, and policies.
Build a new culture
Many of the world’s leading companies understand the importance of giving employees a sense of belonging and purpose. They focus on creating inspiring cultures and more human environments that map to employees’ preferences—like building diverse, collaborative cultures with benefits ranging from flexible work options to designing employee-centric workplaces. They understand that transforming a company’s mission, values, and culture requires commitment, and research. They know that tuning into the human side of the organization matters—and that real change doesn’t happen overnight, but will be well worth the effort.
Companies who develop their workplace to match the changing times:
- Embrace the evolving workforce — from employee satisfaction to relocations
- Infuse design-thinking in work environments and talent management
- Strategize around expansions to new locations
When it comes to understanding how our customers innovate on new ways to attract, motivate, and retain talent, we at Airbnb for Work are lucky to be able to learn from them. That’s why we’re kicking off a new Airbnb for Work blog series on what the future of work looks like. It’ll include everything from the latest workforce trends to employer success stories to interviews with industry leaders and much more.
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About the author
David is the Global Head of Airbnb for Work, where he oversees everything from strategic direction to daily operations with the aim of helping companies attract, motivate, and retain talent. Prior to Airbnb for Work, he established and built Travel Leaders Corporate into one of the country’s largest travel-management companies. He began his career in sales at American Airlines, where he led international sales and marketing efforts at the Boston, New York, and Miami hubs. He is father to three independent-minded daughters, and credits them with broadening his perspective and keeping him grounded.