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Executive Education

The changing face of the workplace

Our latest Executive Horizon survey reveals that corporate loyalty hinges on a number of key factors - pay, benefits, recognition, wellbeing, training, mobility, participation in decision-making, and skills development. But which of these aspects should be prioritized?

Changing work- banner


How can you attract the digital experts and millennials that everyone wants to snap up? Give them flexibility, argues Anne Donovan, transformation leader for human capital at PwC. In a 2011 PwC survey, 95% of millennials stated that the balance between their professional and private lives was of crucial importance, with 25% complaining that it was difficult to maintain the right balance. But the kind of flexibility that employees are looking for goes far beyond organizing their working day to avoid the rush hour traffic. Flexibility for them means a genuinely agile work set-up, where they can operate in multiple ecosystems - at work or at home, at their client's or supplier's offices, in a co-working space or anywhere with good internet access. It is a revolution that will even shift the status of employees - the Intuit 2020 Report found that 40% of US workers will be freelancers by 2020.



A 2016 internal survey by Deloitte discovered that 70% of employees who were considering changing jobs within the next two years were motivated to leave because there were not enough opportunities to develop their expertise and soft skills within the company. In response, Deloitte decided to double its training budget. But the challenge is not limited to training, explains Tony Delmercado, COO of Hawke Media - it is also about creating exciting personalized career plans with new fields to explore. The aim is to encourage employees to see their relationship with the company from a long-term perspective.  For this approach to work, much more feedback needs to be given to - and asked of - employees. Many companies, including IBM, General Electric, Accenture and Adobe, have revised their annual appraisal interviews and increased their frequency so that they take place at least every quarter.


This is one of the factors highlighted by the Executive Horizon survey. Making work meaningful is a key driver for boosting employee motivation and loyalty. It is not just about giving employees the feeling that they are doing something useful but also that their work serves a clear purpose and produces visible results, within a corporate culture that promotes transparency. At HubSpot, for example, employees have access to financial information about the company that is usually restricted to managers.
Employees are also strongly motivated by the employer brand, since the name of a prominent company can be a valuable addition to their CV. This is an asset that helps well-known groups retain talent without having to pay them more - until, that is, they appropriate the prestige of their employer to qualify for a higher salary. It is, in other words, a double-edged sword!
Based on "Five Things You Can Do to Attract Millennial Talent" by Claire Groden (Fortune, March 2016); "How to Attract and Keep Top Talent in 2017" by Tony Delmercado (Entrepreneur, December 2016); "40% of America's workforce will be freelancers by 2020" by Jeremy Neuner (Quartz, March 20, 2013); and an interview with Roxana Barbulescu, "Employer brand: the value of a name" (HEC Executive Education, January 2015).