One of the essential qualities of any strong leader is the ability to continually look forward and ask the question: What’s next? The truth of the matter is that these days building a successful business is so much more than strategy and operational savvy; it’s now also about cultivating an environment where employees can thrive.
Since the Great Recession began seven years ago employers have enjoyed a substantial advantage in the labor market. At the peak of unemployment in 2009, there were roughly five unemployed workers per job opening, creating a buyer’s market in which businesses could afford to skimp on programs aimed at motivating and retaining workers.
Those days are over. Today, there are just two workers for every opening and the unemployment rate dropped in January to its lowest point in six years. Workers are feeling increasingly empowered to pursue opportunities that meet their personal and professional needs. 2015 is the Year of the Employee. The burden is now on corporations to keep pace by developing creative solutions that cultivate healthy, productive and loyal employees.
Employees now have the luxury of looking beyond money and title to something less tangible but far more powerful: Quality of Life. This is not only beneficial to the employee, but also to the organization because an employee’s level of fulfilment or satisfaction has continuously proven to be a key indicator of their overall performance.
The recently released 2015 Workplace Trends Report informs leaders about today’s changing workplace, the workforce of the future and the modifications they will need to consider to remain competitive. The report indicates that organizations that shift their philosophy and invest in programs and benefits that place the Quality of Life of their employees at the center of their thinking can expect to see a significant return in the form of a more engaged, committed, and productive workforce.
For example, in Creating Points of Connection, the report explores how workplace design can foster a sense of community, belonging and personal empowerment by encouraging more meaningful employee connections throughout the workday. Mindfulness at Work examines organizations that bring mindfulness programs into the workplace to encourage greater balance, clarity and productivity for employees.
When the conditions and circumstances associated with Quality of Life are compromised, the performance of the organization suffers. The report explores current issues such as Redefining the Family Friendly Workplace and issues of the future like Rateocracy, which highlights how organizations prepare for an era of extreme transparency.
This year’s report is the culmination of research that will inform leaders about today’s changing workplace and the workforce of tomorrow. It also highlights six newly identified dimensions that illustrate how Quality of Life can be operationalized, reconciling individual priorities with the goals of the organization. As leaders evaluate the potential application of emerging trends, the concept of Quality of Life is a core factor in positively impacting outcomes not just of the individual, but of each worker’s contribution to the overall organization.