Productivity equals outcomes.
This might sound obvious, but many people measure productivity as “the number of things” they’ve done in a day. They see efficiency as the number of tasks that can be completed in a given period of time—and not the effectiveness of the outcome you’re able to drive by leveraging the time, energy, and resources you put to work. Today’s employee applicants desire companies that ‘walk the walk’ on work-life balance and productivity is the key variable component.
In every business, there are two types of productivity:
- Company productivity: outcomes in relation to work assignments and tasks.
- Personal productivity: the balance between business responsibilities and life responsibilities.
In order to build a business that can make it through the startup phase and become a trusted provider or platform in the industry, both company productivity and personal productivity need to be accounted for and optimized over time.
1. Desired companies prioritize results over “hours worked.”
We are seeing this trend occur across a wide variety of sectors in the business world.
More and more companies have shifted to remote-first. More companies are allowing employees to create their own schedules given most work is no longer serial-based tasks, thanks to digital transformation change. More companies are getting away from nurturing a “clock-in/clock-out” mentality and instead encouraging employees to use their best judgment when arriving and leaving the office. More companies are beginning to realize that it’s in their best interest to give their employees the work/life balance they desire. According to a study from Flexjobs in 2019, 65% of surveyed employees said they were more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace.
Companies of the future are realizing that both “time spent working” and “physical location” are both poor measures of success. Instead of focusing on whether an employee is in the office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., companies are encouraging employees to instead focus on driving hyper-specific business results—and if those results can be accomplished in half the time, then so be it. The more the employee can attain personal wellness, the better the business results.
2. Desired companies spend more time, energy, and resources ensuring their employees are emotionally connected to their day-to-day work.
According to Forbes, “79% of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving.”
Conversely, according to a report by Kronos, “87% of HR leaders are aware of the importance of employee retention and consider it a primary concern.”
We are now in a day and age where, because of the opportunities the internet has unlocked, people are beginning to realize they have quite a bit of freedom when it comes to choosing a job—and if they don’t feel appreciated or connected to the work they’re doing, they can leave. For companies looking to retain talent, this is a big issue (especially if it’s high-performing employees who are jumping ship), and one that companies of the future are thinking about building their teams.
- Does this employee value the work they’re doing? Why or why not?
- Is the company’s leadership team taking the time to explain how each and every team member’s responsibilities fit into the larger vision for the company? Do employees feel like their role matters?
- Are employees burned out? Is too much being asked of them? Is the company under-resourced?
These types of questions are exceedingly important in the digital age.
3. Desired companies encourage employees to take care of themselves in healthy ways.
Workplace mindfulness as a trend has been accelerating over the past five to ten years.
Thrive Global curated a handful of interesting research here on how the Millennial generation is the largest employee group in the workforce today, and yet their expectations for benefits and company culture in general is drastically different from generations prior. For example, the Millennial generation is looking for mentorship more than just a paycheck; they want to work collaboratively as opposed to competitively; they want to integrate their work life into their day-to-day life and not feel like they have to be “someone different” when they’re at the office.
As a result, companies of the future are going to need to prioritize mindfulness in the workplace, covering everything from employee wellness and providing resources for team members to take better care of themselves (exercise, time for self-reflection, time for creativity, etc.), as well as cultural wellness (team-building experiences, one-on-one time to chat with leadership, and so on).
Overall, entrepreneurs and company leaders are beginning to realize that it’s far more effective to build a business that supports the human needs of its employees rather than expecting them to conform to a set of ’common’ work styles. If someone is more effective working at night, and the job requirements permit, they should be allowed to be less computer-attached during the day. If someone needs to come in early but leave early to take his or her child to soccer practice, that should be encouraged and not frowned upon.
Companies of the future treat their employees like family members. This is not a new approach—it is now part of the mainstream employee expectations. Making this part of company culture within a global corporation is a competitive advantage.