How to Retain Top Talent In 2021: Here's What Employees Expect From Their Workplace

In the past two years we have seen cataclysmic shifts in how work is done, what employees expect, and what employers need to offer in order to attract, engage, and retain top talent. We at Gift Better Co. are a little obsessed with employee engagement and have read countless studies to better understand how our clients can better support their teams. Here are the biggest things that employees expect, according to leading surveys. 


In their Talent Accelerator study, which dives into the expectations of employees and emerging trends in the global workforce, Citrix highlights that 88% of employees agree that, when searching for a new position, they would look for a company that offers workers complete  flexibility in their working hours and location. What does this mean for employers? Flexibility needs to come from the top-down, with leaders committing to meeting employees where they’re at as often as possible. 


The same Citrix study revealed that 69% of employees think they’re more productive (by an average of 72%) if they feel that their employer trusts them to get the job done without monitoring their progress. The takeaway here? Put a high value on outcome over output in order to make your employees feel more trusted and therefore more empowered to do fantastic work. 

Stances on Social Issues

Gartner research shows that 74% of employees expect their employer to become more actively involved in the cultural debates of the day. A Gartner survey found that the number of employees who were considered highly engaged increased from 40% to 60% when their organization acted on today’s social issues. Being conscious about the vendors that you choose to work with is a great way to become a more socially responsible business. 

Mental Health Support

Supporting the mental health of your employees is supporting their overall health. According to McKinsey,Employees need, and increasingly demand, resources to help them cope with mental health problems.” Although benefits can be expensive for small businesses, leaders are encouraged to consider creative ways to support the mental health and wellness of their teams. Harvard Business Review curated a list of 8 Ways Managers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health.

Room (and tools) to grow 

Employees want to know that you are invested in their personal and professional success. Check in with them regularly (our CEO Olivia Villalta recommends quarterly) and allow them to open up about their goals, and work together to come up with a strategy to accomplish them. Aside from personal checkins from management, enabling employees with opportunities to acquire new skills and expand their existing skills can be mutually beneficial for companies and their employees.

Team-building retreats, such as those hosted by Unicorn Labs, are an excellent way to give your employees a chance to connect with one another, improve employee engagement, and build skills that enhance performance. Learn more about the benefits of a team-building retreat here

What are you doing to adapt to these evolving employee expectations?

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