'Exhausted' Aussie workers prioritise flexibility above pay

Monday, 22 November, 2021

'Exhausted' Aussie workers prioritise flexibility above pay

Researchers have revealed the toll that the past 12 months have had on Australian workers, with 46% of Australian workers feeling stressed, exhausted or fed up. Those doing it tough are more likely to work in education (59%), in Victoria (51%) or NSW (50%), while people in face-to-face roles (54%) and younger employees (45% of those aged 18–34) are also struggling. Meanwhile, 32% of respondents said their job has become more difficult over the past year.

The LiveTiles Employee Experience Pulse Check survey asked more than 7000 employees in Australia, the United States, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland how they are feeling about their employee experience, what is the most important to them and what their employers could do better. The Australian report highlights the experience of employees during what has been a challenging, but potentially transformative, period, with 37% of employees willing to switch to a job offering lower pay in return for a better experience at work; this equates to more than 4.7 million Australian employees.

The survey also asked employees to rank the elements of employee experience that they deemed to be most important, with Australians ranking flexibility as most important to them, after having a secure job. The research found that Australians are more likely to have flexible working arrangements (84% vs 81% globally) but are less likely than their global counterparts to receive wellbeing initiatives, rewards and other perks. Australian employers are also being outperformed on employee experience by all markets surveyed except Ireland, with a mean employee experience score of 66.19 out of 100 given by Australian employees. The research revealed that Australians are less likely to feel connected to their workplace (6.44/10 vs 6.57 globally), feel their workplace has a good culture and they belong (6.54/10 vs 6.85 globally) or have the right tools, technology and support to do their job (6.89/10 vs 7.04 globally). The research found that 48% of Australian employees expect their employer to pressure staff to return back to pre-COVID (normal) work arrangements in the next 12 months.

Sarah Gildea, Global Employee Experience Manager for LiveTiles, said the findings show how after a tough period clouded by the disruption and uncertainty of COVID, many employees are thinking more deeply about what matters to them and prioritising their ‘employee experience’. “Employers need to take note because if they want to hold on to their employees and attract the best talent, they need to be crafting an experience that supports people to be their best, particularly as the economy opens back up and expectations change,” Gildea said.

The survey also revealed that SME employers are viewed as the ‘most caring’; among people who work for an SME, 60% said their employer ‘genuinely cares about their experience as an employee’. This compares well against the average (50%), employees of a large company (46%) and those in a public service role (41%). Employees of SMEs are also the most likely to ‘always’ be offered flexible work arrangements (54%), but the least likely to receive rewards and perks. “A key reason why many SME employers are doing such a good job is that they can better connect with their employees to understand what matters them, and tailor an experience that meets their needs and helps them perform,” Gildea said.

Employer efforts during the past 12 months have also been recognised, with 38% of survey respondents saying their employer has improved overall communication, 33% saying they have implemented new technologies to deliver a better employee experience and 29% saying they have shifted priorities to help create a better work environment for their staff. However, 50% of respondents believe that their employer could be doing more to make their experience as an employee better.

When asked what their employer could do more of, employees said employers could shift priorities to create a better work environment and retain talented staff (43%) or improve overall communications (40%). Employees also suggested offering more or better employee wellbeing initiatives (38%), implementing new technologies to drive greater employee experience (26%) and making it easier to connect with leadership to have their voices heard (26%).

“The foundation of a great employee experience is connection with your workplace and its values, the work itself and your colleagues. Companies and workplaces that also recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee experience are those most likely to avoid ‘a great resignation’ in the months ahead. In fact, they may find themselves at the forefront of ‘a great attraction’ where they win the war for talent while also improving productivity and the wellbeing of their staff,” Gildea said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Prostock-studio

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