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What Top Talent Really Wants and How to Give it to Them

3 min read.



Employer Branding

To attract and retain the best talent, organisations need to be attuned to the needs and wants of a workforce that is redefining the nature of employee satisfaction. But what is it that they really want?..

Whether you appreciate the value of employer branding or not (and the evidence supporting it is conclusive) there’s no getting away from the fact that today’s talent want more from a job than ever before.

Aside from the traditional motivators such as salary and benefits, job security, and career progression, the ability to be able to do what they do best is cited by 58% of US employees as most important to them when deciding whether to accept a new job offer.

More and more employees are searching for something far beyond just a paycheck and a package. They want to find purpose, impact and belonging in what they do.

Gen Z in particular is re-writing the list of demands for workplace fulfilment, with diversity and inclusion, wellbeing, and learning and development high up on the list.

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2023, The youngest workers (age 18 to 34) are most likely to value opportunities for career growth, learning, and skill building.

Meanwhile, some 46% of Gen Z employees experienced a decline in their mental health due to the pandemic. 

They want to feel like they are part of something meaningful, that they are making a positive impact, and that they belong to a community that shares their values. They prioritize purpose over profits and are seeking a deeper connection with the brands they work for.

And whilst these attitudes are particularly prevalent amongst Gen Z and Millennials, since the reset of the pandemic, they are visible to varying degrees in nearly every talent audience demographic.

The ongoing phenomenon of so-called ‘quiet quitting’ is not confined to any one group.

According to Resume Builder, workers somewhere in the middle of their career, aged 35-44, are most likely to be ‘quiet quitters’, with 24% of them saying they don’t do more than what’s expected of them. On the flip side, only 17% of 18–24-year-olds, 18% of 45–54-year-olds, and 7% of those over 54 say the same.

That is not to say, however, that they are a lost cause. The vast majority (91%) of those who are just doing the bare minimum say they could be motivated to do more.

Whatever it is that motivates them, as a business leader, it is important to understand the current wants and needs of your talent audience and the value in your employees feeling that sense of purpose, impact, and belonging.

Not only does it lead to happier and more engaged employees, and increased retention rates, but it also positively impacts your organization's bottom line.

Here are some tips on how to achieve this:

Define and communicate your organization's purpose
Your employees need to know what your organization stands for and how their work contributes to the larger mission. Clearly defining and communicating your company’s purpose can help employees feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. The best and clearest example of a company with an authentic commitment to purpose is outdoor clothing firm Patagonia, which now donates all its profit to environmental causes. Go to work - help save the planet. Couldn’t be much clearer.

Empower employees to make an impact
Giving employees autonomy and opportunities to contribute to important projects and initiatives can help them feel like they are making a difference. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and a deeper connection to the organization. Where you can, involve them in company decision-making and allow them a degree of autonomy in other choices. Make sure that any contributions that they do make are recognised and rewarded. Communicating individual success and endeavour within the company fosters a sense of recognition and worth.

Foster a sense of community and belonging
Creating a positive work culture where employees feel valued and respected can lead to a sense of belonging. Encouraging team building and collaboration can help foster those relationships. Instead of trying to feel out the vibe, find out just how engaged your organisation is with an employee engagement survey and if you can, dig into the responses to find a human element that can be conveyed using storytelling. If you can discover a unifying emotional connection between teams and individual, you have struck gold.

Provide opportunities for growth and development
Investing in your employees' professional development shows that you value them and want them to succeed. This can lead to increased motivation and a sense of purpose in their work. As previously mentioned, it is particularly important to Gen Z employees to have the chance to continue to learn new skills and know what steps to take to advance their career within your organisation. Regular career development discussions and a transparent progression path are key motivators.

Align your values with your employees
Make sure that your organization's values align with those of your employees. It will help employees feel like they are working for a company that shares their values and that they are making a positive impact in the world. Some 70% of job seekers say they would not apply to a company with a bad reputation even if they were unemployed and according to TalentLyft, 80% of job seekers research a company’s Employer Brand before applying. The values of your company matter more than ever. Be sure to recruit people who are the right fit and turn away those not aligned.

In today's competitive job market, it's more important than ever to prioritize employee purpose, impact, and belonging. By doing so, you will attract and retain top talent while also creating a positive impact in the world.

Remember, a strong sense of purpose and community will lead to happier employees that stick around longer and that’s nothing but good news for your bottom line.

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