Surpass employee expectations and keep productivity strong

Meeting your hybrid workforce where they are — and understanding where they’re going — to help the bottom line.

REPORT | 4m read
January 18, 2022

Two-fifths of US office workers have left a job in the last year or are considering doing so, according to “Talent Shortage: The New Pandemic,” a recent survey from Citrix and OnePoll. Termed the Great Resignation, this exodus of employees is rooted in new expectations forged in the fires — or rather, the lockdowns — of crisis. Over the last two years, employees have struggled with the dissolution of traditional work-life boundaries while enjoying unprecedented amounts of flexibility and autonomy. In 2022, they expect employers to retain that flexibility with hybrid work models while prioritizing their well-being

The surge in resignations, however, reveals that companies are struggling to keep up with these new expectations. As explored in our Pulse survey, part of the problem is balancing employee well-being with competing business demands. But in this new era of humanized employment, where employees expect more responsiveness than ever, can employee demands and business demands really be separated? If your employees are burned out (or worse, have left the company) will you be able to deliver on your business goals for the quarter?

“And so what’s interesting is that often I'll hear business leaders focus on the quantitative side of work. So maybe they're leaving because they can get a higher salary or they're leaving because they can get better benefits but it seems pretty much across the board, what employees are saying they want more of, is meaning, connection and purpose.”

Liz Fosslien, Head of Content at Humu and co-author of the best-seller No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work

While some employers may view these new demands as passing whims, they are anything but. Employee demands may evolve over time, and business leaders must pay attention as they do. But employees’ fundamental desire for a workplace that’s more responsive to their needs is a culture shift that was years in the making. To succeed in 2022 and beyond, organizations need to start listening — and then take action.


of US office workers have left a job in the past year, or are considering doing so

The top employee demands of 2022

Based on our research conducted over the course of the year, we’ve compiled some of the major employee demands as we move through 2022. Think of this list not as a comprehensive guide, but a springboard for diving deeper into the unique needs of your organization.

  1. Flexible working. Eighty percent of workers surveyed for “Talent Shortage: The New Pandemic” said it was “very” or “somewhat” important that they be able to work from anywhere. And 55 percent said they would accept a pay cut in return for the ability to do so. For many companies today, giving employees the flexibility they crave while retaining a strong, collaborative company culture means adopting a hybrid work model.
  2. Improved work-life balance. Burnout has surged over the past year, as employees struggle to disconnect from work in their bedrooms-turned-cubicles. Nearly 70 percent of IT leaders surveyed by Pulse say their teams are struggling with extra working hours, followed by high turnover (56%), low energy (50%), and decreased job satisfaction (49%). Wellness programs and policies are critical in improving work-life balance. For example, consider letting employees set their own “off hours” and giving them “wellness days” to spend time with family or focus on themselves.
  3. Meaningful work. More than ever, today’s workers want to be able to be able to make progress, innovate, advance their careers, and ultimately feel like their work has meaning. In “Talent Shortage: The New Pandemic,” 47 percent of respondents took a pay cut or demotion at their new company because they believe they can do more meaningful work there. Making sure employees are unlocked to do meaningful work starts with building strong relationships between managers their teams — a task that needs to be all the more intentional in a hybrid model, where some employees may never meet with managers face to face.
  4. Tech that empowers, not limits. All too often, tech designed to make hybrid work possible is slowing employees down across departments, from IT to HR.  Over a third of workers surveyed in “Talent Shortage: The New Pandemic” left their jobs because they were frustrated with overly complicated technology and processes. For IT teams in particular, investing in systems to simplify and automate workloads should be a top priority, according to Pulse. Equally critical is choosing digital collaboration tools employees can access securely from anywhere, as is designing a tech adoption strategy rooted in careful assessment of employee needs.

Born Digital, the youngest group in the workforce, have different demands. Consider:

51% of Born Digital workers want to spend most or all of their time working from home.

And while 82% of business leaders believe their organization has accelerated its digital transformation in response to the pandemic, only 62% of Born Digital says the same.

Active listening: A critical tool for addressing evolving employee needs

Pulse and Fieldwork by Citrix can point to general trends in employee expectations, but your hybrid workforce will have unique needs. And while demands for things like flexible work and improved work-life balance are likely here to stay, new demands will emerge over time.

In this shifting and nuanced landscape, you can’t rely on helpdesk tickets to figure out what your employees need. You need to meet them where they are with an active listening strategy.

Your active listening strategy should continuously collect actionable feedback from your workforce with surveys, focus groups, telemetry data, and more. The IT and cybersecurity assessments mentioned in previous chapters should make up part of this strategy. But an effective strategy will examine every other aspect of the employee experience as well, from onboarding to offboarding.

Active listening also involves building strong communication channels between employees, managers, and leaders. Train managers to be better listeners, give employees mentorship opportunities with

leadership, and create a culture that welcomes honest, open feedback.

And as you work to gather feedback across your organization, don’t forget the end goal: action. Employees need to know that your listening efforts are not mere formalities; they are genuine efforts to improve the employee experience that produce results for your people — and by extension, your bottom line.

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Learn more about IT perceptions for 2022