Survey: The Majority of “Office” Workers Are Accepting New Jobs Due to Location Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Career Climbers / 22nd September 2021

As employers scramble to recruit and retain talent in a candidate-driven market, human resource leaders and hiring managers seek to uncover the “why” behind employees staying or leaving. While the number-one motivation for starting a new job is still salary, there is more to the story according to isolved’s latest research, “Voice of the Workforce: What Employees Say They Really Want“.

In its survey of over 1,000 full-time employees in the U.S., whose positions are performed from an office (home or company) and a desk, isolved found several non-compensation areas to be key motivators for starting a new position. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said location flexibility (including remote) is the biggest motivator for accepting a new job offer, followed by interest in the role (57%) and work-life balance (52%). Surprisingly, workplace diversity was the least-likely reason for a candidate to accept a new position. 

“If a company finds itself unable to compete for talent on compensation alone, they may find solace in the fact that there are other non-financial motivators candidates and employees value meaningfully,” said Amy Mosher, chief people officer at isolved. “Total-reward strategies that include employers offering flexibility in location and schedule and greater alignment with career interests, stand a better chance at not only hiring new talent but also keeping them engaged for longer too.”

The research, however, shows some new hires are tempted to leave before even getting started. Fifty-one percent of full-time employees said they have considered leaving a job immediately due to the onboarding experience (e.g., limited transitional training, unorganized first day). Some things as standard as having a computer on the first day of work is not always the case.

For those employees who do stay despite a bumpy start, they likely have negative feelings about the employee experience in general as 85% of respondents said the onboarding experience is important. Perhaps it’s the length of onboarding that is the problem. Fifty-two percent of full-time employees think the onboarding experience should last over four weeks. Breaking down those figures further, 23% think onboarding should be two months or longer.

Other key findings impacting recruiting and retention include:

  • The majority (80%) of respondents’ report feeling “engaged” at work.
  • Successful engagement tactics according to respondents are, in order: (1) team meetings; (2) learning opportunities; (3) in-person events; and (4) ability to monitor their own performance.
  • Sixty-eight percent of full-time employees, whose jobs are performed from a desk or in an office (home or otherwise), indicate there is a skills gap within their company.
  • Employees noticing a skills gap in their company think the top reasons are: (1) lack of training for new technology implemented over the last year; (2) lack of tenured employees to knowledge share; (3) not able to fill open roles; (4) little to no collaboration between teams at my organization; and (5) internal training programs don’t focus on relevant skills they need to succeed in their role.
  • When asked what employer-provided reskilling, upskilling, and learning and development programs employees would be most interested in, the top answers were leadership skills, communication skills and teamwork skills.

Download the full, “Voice of the Workforce: What Employees Say They Really Want” study here.

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