MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

Over Half Of Employees Feel Empowered To Influence Workplace Change

Flexible working is one of the key priorities for change.
Working in bed at home

New research highlights a shift in the workplace balance of power, with employees feeling more empowered.

According to the “International Workforce Insights Study” over half of all employees say they feel more able to influence change in their workplace. This is compared to a year ago.

Workers commented that they feel they can influence their employer’s business strategy (54%), company culture (55%), and their work experience (59%). Generation Z and Millenials are the workers that feel more empowered to create change.

Responses came from over 7,000 employees from across five industries and six countries between 24 August and 7 September 2021.

COVID-19 Hasn’t Dampened Employees’ Spirit

Despite difficulties caused by COVID-19 across the world for workplaces, the majority of employees say they feel more productive (62%). They also feel more connected to their colleagues (62%) and more valued by their employer (60%).

Since the start of the pandemic, there is a reported sense of workplace community for over half of respondents (59%). Interestingly, employers have also seemingly changed their behaviour since the pandemic. Three-fifths of employees said that they had seen an increase in leadership listening to employee feedback (59%).

Over the same period, there have been improvements to work experience (59%), work culture (58%) and work-life balance (60%).

Flexibility Key Priority For Global Workforce

The research shows that 67% of employees want employers to bring in flexible hours or a hybrid working environment. Other top-ranked demands include meaningful work, feeling supported and valued by managers and team members, workplace benefits and perks and effective leadership.

Interestingly, younger generations say that they will likely leave their employers within the next year. One-in-five Generation Z (21%) and one-in-six Millennials (18%) said they would leave.

However, employers can turn the tide. Employees from these generations said they would stay if they saw a commitment to fostering culture. Additionally, they also cited employee value and the ability for employees to have their voices heard.

“The results show that the increased flexibility and effort made by organisations to connect and engage with employees throughout the pandemic has paid dividends,” says James Morley, head of transformation, BCW. “Employees are feeling more valued, more empowered, and more vocal about their expectations in the workplace. As leaders prepare for the “next normal”—including moves to implement return to office policies—they need to be mindful of these expectations and needs.

“Employees increasingly want their voices heard, and failure to adequately address that will likely lead to high rates of attrition—particularly among younger generations.”

“It’s great to see employees feeling more empowered to effect positive change within their organisations. As people return to work, they’ll expect this to continue,” commented Christine Trodella, director, Workplace from Facebook. “For businesses, this means ongoing investment in the employee experience and continued focus on empathy and authenticity. Employee expectations will continue to increase whether workers are desk-based or on the frontline and businesses will need to make sure they’re turning these expectations around culture, collaboration and connectivity into reality.”

The research was conducted in partnership with global communication agency, BCW, and Workplace from Facebook.