According to employment specialist JobStreet, developing a thoughtful remote working strategy and building a value-based workplace culture are what will position employers ahead when attracting new talent and building future workplaces.
JobStreet country manager Simran Kaur (pic above) said that the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted jobseekers to re-evaluate what they want from work – not only the work location (remote vs. on-site), but also the work practices, values, relationships they seek.
“Employers must adapt to stay competitive. For many employees and often the best talent, this time is an opportunity to reflect and search for new employers. Being a pioneer in meeting these expectations can put firms in the frontline in the war for top talent,” said Simran.
She said this in light of a study conducted by JobStreet and parent company SEEK in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group and The Network entitled ‘Decoding Global Talent’.
The study was one of the world’s largest surveys of its kind to date, reaching 208,807 respondents across 190 countries. In Malaysia, the study analysed the feedback from 5,649 respondents.
The facility for remote working (also known as ‘working from home’ or ‘WFH’) was identified as one of the key factors that drive today’s jobseekers.
“Among respondents in Malaysia, the difference between those working completely off-site (or remotely) during the pandemic and those preferring to do so is only 2%. At the same time, while only 43% of respondents combined working from the office with remote working, an astounding 68% would prefer to do so given the choice,” explained Simran.
A previous survey showed that managers expected 65% of employees to work partially remotely post-pandemic, but the latest findings showed that 89% of employees expected this facility.
As a result, Simran noted, employers need to carefully consider what model works for which job role, by evaluating the ‘remoteability’ of job categories (based on infrastructure need, frequency of interaction with stakeholders etc.).
“Models may range from offering remote working as a perquisite (a few days a week based on request) to remote work by design (where most employees work from home and come to office only for special occasions),” she added.
This entails employers coming up with an appropriate strategy for remote working. Such a strategy would need to balance governance and flexibility, ensure the right enablers are in place (such as new collaboration tools and mechanisms, and the right infrastructure both at home and the office), and pilot and monitor the progress of the programme.
Meanwhile, cultural elements such as relationships, appreciation for work, and work-life balance are still of top importance for workers, even – or perhaps especially – when working virtually. Social and environmental issues are also becoming increasingly important, especially for the younger generation of workers.
“Building a value-based workplace culture revolves around several central ideas. Firstly, virtual connections need to be encouraged and facilitated. Organisations need to recognise and organise the various informal communication channels,” said Simran.
“They also need to focus on employee well-being holistically – not just by monitoring their employees’ physical health, but also their mental health. Additionally, the study shows that it’s time to get serious about social and environmental issues,” she added.
“Nearly two-thirds of respondents below 30 years of age would exclude companies that don’t match their beliefs in environmental responsibility and diversity and inclusion.”