Our second annual Employee Pride survey revealed that the reputation of UK employers has slumped to a disturbingly low level. When asked if they would recommend their employer as a place to work only 21% of employees said they would, down from 30% when we asked the same question 12 months ago. (And we thought 30% was bad then….)
We partnered with data, market research and advisory company Savanta to take the temperature of the UK’s workers to find out what’s motivating them and what’s getting in the way of a great employee experience.
Here’s a snapshot of the key findings and the implications for leaders.
→ The number one expectation of an employer is that it takes care of its people
When asked to rank specific employer behaviours that were important to them, top place was given to an ‘employer that takes care of its people’ (78%). In second and third place respectively was being a ‘diverse and inclusive employer’ and a ‘brand that is loved by its customers’ indicating that UK employees want to work for successful companies that work responsibly on behalf of their people and customers.
Employers are expected to exercise a duty of care both to employees and wider society. Employees want to see their employers playing an active role in reducing social inequality and that starts with their customers.
→ People are putting work in its place
When asked to pick where work featured in their lives, 80% of respondents ranked their family, social life, and passions ahead of work. In a further sign that employees have an increasingly passive relationship with their work, the survey found that the importance of ‘being given challenging and motivating work’ was down by 9% on last year.
For the majority of UK employees, work is not the most important thing in their lives. Employers need to remember that and work hard to make work meaningful.
→ Employees’ demand for flexible working sees no sign of decreasing
For many people, the priority is now security – they need to be able to pay the bills. When asked to prioritise the top three factors that mattered most at work, ‘competitive pay’ remained on top with ‘flexible working’ moving up the rankings from 4th to 2nd place, and ‘a safe working environment’ coming in 3rd. Flexible working isn’t just more convenient, it also helps people make significant savings, from childcare to commuting expenses.
In an economic climate driving social inequality, supporting employees to work flexibly is not just a perk, it could be a deal-breaker in a highly competitive market for talent. Employers need to think about what kind of flexibility is relevant to their people.
→ Employers are increasingly expected to play their part in reducing social inequality
In comparison to last year, employees have greater expectations of their employer’s contribution to broader society, with the importance of an ‘employer playing an active role in reducing social inequality’ increasing by a significant 8%.
Employees need employers to recognise the financial pressures they have. Pay must keep up with the cost of living. Pay, flexibility, and safety are highly valued by employees during a time of economic uncertainty. Performing well on these factors drives a sense of fairness and trust.
→ Employees will work harder for companies who put people first
For those who were advocates and scored their organisations highly, the factors most important to them were about leaders being committed to customers and delivering to their employees. Factors such as ‘working for a leadership team that I respect’, ‘my business will go the extra mile for customers’, and ‘working for a business that delivers on its promises to employees’, ranked high for the advocates.
Trust, recognition and respected leadership are seen as key to progression. Trust is vital and is a two-way street. Leaders need to be trusted and employees need to feel trusted. Living up to your values and putting your customers and people ahead of profits is key.
What turns an employee into an advocate?
The survey’s results show that businesses with leaders who are committed to purpose and values, who deliver an outstanding customer experience and an outstanding employee experience are the ones their employees recommend.
For those businesses that fear they may be one of the 79% their employees would not recommend, the levers to improve NPS are quality of leadership, appropriate levels of autonomy, mastery and purpose and customer focus. In a nutshell, in order to improve overall employee advocacy, improve leadership. And give all employees the right levels of autonomy, mastery and purpose to deliver what the business promises.
We commissioned an independent survey of 1000 UK employees with the objective of understanding their expectations around what they want or expect from work and what drives employees to feel proud of where they work.
As the UK’s workforce faces new pressures amidst a cost of living crisis and economic, political and global uncertainty, the time is right to explore what employees want and need from the companies they work for. And to reveal the implications for leadership if they fail to address these needs.
If you’d love to learn more about ‘what drives employee pride’ please download our White Paper here.