What price happiness?

There is a growing trend amongst all age groups that people are no longer willing to work for a job that doesn’t make them happy.

As a recruiter, people are still interested in pay, but there is more flexibility (within reason) than there ever has been.  Pay cuts are not off the table in exchange for more intangible benefits; culture, autonomy, growth, creativity.  Talking to people from graduates to seasoned executives, there has also been a shift in mindset, probably directly correlated to the boom in successful tech companies.  The wounds of the 2000 bubble have been well and truly healed, lessons learnt and a technology start up is no longer the risky place it was in the past.  Big companies are seen as encumbered in process and entrenched in old, slow ways of doing things.  When people say ‘big’ they don’t mean ‘big’ through; there is no Facebook or Amazon included in their thinking.  What they mean is traditional, the accounting and consulting firms working in the sector that have yet to figure out how to have agility and rigour as bedmates.

Suddenly, prestige and brand name are not a part of what people look for an employer. What do people want?

  • Autonomy
  • Trust
  • Flexibility
  • Inclusion
  • Interesting work

When creating a new vacancy, articulate how you address each of these and you a should see a big increase in the number of strong applications.

Once a hire has been made, ensure you stay true to them and invest the time in tailoring a role to the needs of the individual.

Day 1 During their induction, ask them what they are interested in and see how it can be incorporated into the role.

Week 1 Find out their first impressions – what expectations have/haven’t been met? What would make it a better place to work?

Month 1 What would make the biggest improvement to their enjoyment of the role?

Listen to what they have to say and make whatever changes you can.  The business benefits:

  • Higher staff engagement & productivity
  • Increased loyalty
  • Lower attrition
  • Increased referrals

In conclusion, in today’s market, it is too expensive not to consider the happiness of employees as a top business priority.

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