- More than one third of 1,000 U.S. workers ranked work-life balance as the biggest contributor to finding meaning in their work, a report from online learning platform Udemy found. "Contributing to the greater good" trailed other factors in the report, accounting for only 14% of respondents.
- Although balance mattered most, mission also mattered to respondents: 62% said they'd accept a pay cut to work for a company with a mission that mirrored their values, and that figure jumped to 78% for millennials polled. Almost all (91%) of the respondents employed at organizations with formal diversity and inclusion initiatives think the impact on the workplace is significant.
- Among millennial employees polled, career development was more important than work-life balance. A quarter chose work-life balance as the top source of meaning, but 40% of Gen X respondents, 42% of Gen Z respondents and 48% of boomers polled said the same. In total, 90% of all respondents said they agree or strongly agree that they have a source of meaning in their careers, according to Udemy.
Meaningful work has shown up in studies as crucial to employees' happiness for some time. A 2017 report found that meaningful work topped the list of positive employees experiences. Since "meaningful work" can mean different things to different people, as the Udemy report showed, the challenge for employers is finding what factors resonate with certain employees to engage and retain them.
Flexibility is a priority for a growing number of employees, many of whom want more balance between their work and personal lives. In fact, speculation is that flexible work schedules could become a default option in the workplace; 74% of respondents in a recent survey already see flexible work as the norm. Job seekers have said in myriad studies that flexibility is a major draw, and many workers have said that they're willing to leave their current position for a job offering flexible work options, including work-at-home and telecommuting arrangements.
Based on Udemy's findings, employers might not discount the importance of providing development opportunities, especially to millennials in the earlier stages of their careers. Employees cite career growth as vital to their experience and satisfaction on the job, which makes career development a powerful recruiting and retention tool for employers.