- While "company purpose and values" and "company leadership and culture" top the list of incentives now being offered by a plurality of executives (at 48% each) responding to a pulse survey on the future of work conducted earlier this month by PwC, workers are looking for more concrete benefits. A plurality of employees listed schedule flexibility and expanded benefits as the most attractive work incentives (both at 38%), with compensation changes coming just behind (at 37%). In comparison, 18% of employees listed company leadership and culture and 16% listed purpose and values as attractive incentives.
- Executive respondents across all sectors (9 in 10) reported higher turnover than usual, but concerns varied depending on executives' positions. CHROs were most concerned with retaining employees, while chief marketing officers reported concern about the impact of worker shortages on customer experiences.
- Regardless of sector, a common theme that emerged from the survey is the need for businesses to practice agility in decision-making as change continues, Kathryn Kaminsky, vice chair and trust solutions co-leader at PwC, shared in a call with the media Aug 19.
"Pandemic-weary" employees are "tired and looking for change," Neil Dhar, vice chair and consulting solutions co-leader at PwC, said in the call. With quit rates recently reaching an all-time high and workers reporting extremely high rates of burnout, the survey results suggest that many employees are looking for fundamental, tangible changes to their work life — whether that be tolerance for flexible work hours, increased compensation or a better slate of benefits.
It isn't surprising that schedule flexibility tops the list of desired incentives. The pandemic both complicated home lives for many and showed what remote work could make possible, leading some companies to embrace flexible, hybrid work specifically to support female and caregiving employees.
Workers have also reported a wide range of preferences for post-pandemic work locations. While close to one-fifth (19%) told PwC they'd work remotely all the time if they could, about as many (22%) said they'd work almost entirely in the office. Another fifth (21%) said the nature of their work would not allow remote or hybrid work, while the remaining two-fifths picked some number of days in between all-remote or all in-person work. Given the range of preferences, employers who can offer a choice will likely be able to satisfy more employees.
Compensation strategy seems to be playing a role in industries with more positions that tend to hover at the lower end of the pay scale — and, not coincidentally, are losing more employees — such as food service and retail. Chipotle upped its average hourly wage to $15 at the end of June, and Starbucks committed to at least the same wage for all workers by late 2023. Retail companies like like Kohl's and Dollar Tree also have offered signing bonuses.
While "expanded benefits" was at the bottom of employers' talent acquisition and retention strategy list, with 31% of respondents selecting it as a differentiator, HR Dive has seen companies from all sectors make big commitments on benefits in recent months. And a Gallagher survey found that nontraditional and voluntary benefits were still up overall, with 40% of respondents saying they had added more or different voluntary benefits to meet recruitment goals.