NEWS + ADVICE
Two Ways to Create a Culture Where People Want to Work
Company culture, like many aspects of life, has evolved over the years. Just think back to how smoking in the office was once more common than women in the workplace. The passage of time brings change, and the 2020s are no different.
The pandemic fueled a shift in employees’ priorities. We’re now in the era of human-focused company culture, meaning employees want to be cared about as human beings.
If the “Great Resignation” or “Reshuffle” has shown us anything, it’s that employees’ appetites are changing—and they’re willing to make career changes because of it. Companies that adjust with the times will have an edge over those who stay stagnant.
So what are employees hungry for? Two things they want in a company culture is flexibility and mental health / wellness.
1. Flexibility in the Workplace
Flexibility in where, when, and how an employee works is a key point of consideration for today’s job seeker. According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report, 48% of respondents selected “flexible work support” as a top area to invest in to improve company culture. 1
The report also noted that employees who are satisfied with their companies’ time and location flexibility are 2.6 times more likely to report being happy, and 2.1 times more likely to recommend working for the company.1
The government contracting landscape differs from the commercial sector in many ways, but don’t let that deter you from rethinking your culture. It’s true that many security-cleared roles can’t be done from home, but the “flexibility” we’re talking about isn’t just a synonym for “working from home.”
In fact, an upcoming Lighthouse Research & Advisory report on flexible employee benefits asked workers what flexibility meant to them. “Autonomy and control over my daily tasks,” “flexibility in how and when I access pay and benefits,” and “more options for suggesting ideas and innovation in the business,” ranked above “where I work.”2
Whether a role is fully remote or in a SCIF, there are ways that companies can support flexibility. The 2022 Global Talent Trends report added, “Companies are offering job shares, different shifts, compressed workweeks, and other forms of flexible scheduling to make sure onsite employees can also shape work around their personal lives.”1
The pandemic showed us that work can be done outside the office, but employees have also shown they can work during the hours of their choosing successfully. If a company prioritizes results instead of work hours, they can offer a range of flexible work options, from hybrid work to flex-time arrangements.
There’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to flexibility. A culture that supports flexibility might look quite different between a government contractor and commercial company, simply due to contract requirements. The key is to care about your employees and make flexible work arrangements where possible. Otherwise, the government contracting community stands to lose talent to employers who will meet candidates’ needs.
2. Mental Health and Wellness
The pandemic helped shine a light on mental health, as the amount of people struggling increased. Thankfully conversations about mental health support in the workplace are becoming more common—amongst government agencies and contractors too. Even the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has said its dedicated to increasing the understanding of mental health to foster a healthy and supportive work environment.
LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report also highlighted the importance of prioritizing mental and physical well-being. 42% of respondents selected “mental health and wellness” as a top area to invest in to improve company culture. Additionally, when employees feel cared for at work, they are 3.7 times more likely to recommend working for the company. 1
On the flip side, “One out of every two workers say that they have thought about leaving their job because of mental health struggles,” according to a new Lighthouse Research & Advisory report published on workplace mental health.3
However, when employers get mental health support and benefits right, employers and employees agree these are the benefits:3
- More productive
- Perform better
- More satisfied or engaged
- Less likely to leave job
- Easier to recruit/recommend job to friends
- Few sick days/absenteeism
While wellness ranked just after flexibility in the 2022 Global Talent Trends report, the two really go hand-in-hand. Supporting flexibility and well-being both come down to providing care and compassion for your employees. The LinkedIn report noted, “A critical driver of employee well-being is the flexibility talked about earlier.” 1
The Lighthouse Research & Advisory report asked respondents which methods would best improve mental health and well-being. Interestingly, “workers ranked flexible schedules as number one, while employers ranked it number five in terms of priority.” The report added, “Workers were 39% more likely than employers to select this option, indicating a clear mismatch of priorities.” 3
Furthermore, “every single worker that had a positive mention of flexibility rated their company as having a strong culture of mental health support.” 3 Thus you might infer, creating a company culture that supports mental health and wellness is difficult to achieve if you don’t also support flexibility.
In addition to flexibility, employers can promote wellness by giving access to experts, openly supporting mental health conversations, offering counselor support and fitness options, giving time back with half-days or shutdowns, shortening meetings, and using more asynchronous communications like email.
“In a tight job market, employers will have to continue to innovate their mental health offerings to lure and retain talent.” 1
Leverage Your Human-Focused Company Culture
Flexibility and wellness are key aspects of a human-focused company culture—and great selling points that can benefit recruitment and retention. But before you have an employer brand that is known for being a great place to work (due to your fantastic culture), you need to get the messaging out into the world.
As the Global Talent Trends report conveyed, employees who are happy with their level of flexibility and feel cared for are more likely to recommend their workplace to others, but you can go a step further. Put a spotlight on your company culture.
You may already take advantage of social media platforms for your recruiting efforts, but make sure you are also using this opportunity to showcase your company culture. In fact, there are 35% more engagements when a company post mentions flexibility. And it’s 41% more likely for women to engage with well-being company posts, compared to the average post. 1
As you develop or enhance a company culture that supports flexibility and wellness, be sure to share your improved employee value proposition. Consider communicating information about your company culture in your job postings and company description on ClearedJobs.Net. You can also share insights about your culture directly with candidates, when interacting at virtual or in-person Cleared Job Fairs. Job seekers are looking for a glimpse into your company culture, so foster one you’d be excited for them to find out all about.