How to keep your workplace thriving in an era of non-linear career paths

Nearly gone are the days of people sticking to one job – or even career – for their entire working life. Research from The Foundation for Young Australians reveals that traditional, linear career paths are on the decline. This same report goes on to predict that a fifteen-year-old today will more likely experience a portfolio career, which means having a number (potentially up to 17!) of different jobs over approximately five careers in their lifetime.

This trend poses a real challenge for employers – especially as it relates to time and resources spent ramping up new hires. While this new era makes it harder to retain top talent, there are a few key business practices to consider implementing to keep your employees happy and stay on track for success in today’s world.

Flexible working is the new norm

Offering the ability to work from any location at any time is a huge drawcard for employees –  whether that be as a competitive selling point during the recruitment process or offered later on to ensure existing talent is retained within the business. Thankfully, the rise and accessibility of communication and collaboration technologies has been a significant driver in keeping employees from around the world better connected. From video conferencing solutions to chat apps and shared working documents, these tools have ensured flexibility in the workplace is a positive experience for everyone involved.

In fact, research from the Queensland Government shows a strong flexible work program reduces employee stress levels, both at work and at home, leads to a higher level of job satisfaction, allows for more time to pursue personal goals and hobbies and provides the opportunity to participate more in family and social life. In turn, the report found a workforce with a positive mindset will lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and increased productivity through greater focus.

Opportunity equals motivation

To keep employees engaged and invested in the business, you must provide them with ongoing development opportunities. I can’t stress this enough. While this will vary in form from business to business and person to person, in general, disengaged employees are the first to look for the door.

Whether this employee development includes investing in external training, creating a mentorship program, or offering a greater leadership role in a particular capacity, all of these factors can be drivers in keeping employees engaged. Ultimately, providing opportunities for growth will give your employee a feeling of purpose and drive – a bonus for the organisation and the employee.

Culture Club

The way we live and work is changing. If you expect your employees to spend a lot of time at work, you have to create a fun, enjoyable environment for them to go to. This focus on building a strong culture must be representative from the top down. Whilst the reality is stress and other conflicting priorities mean we’re not always going to be jumping for joy working each day, culture can really dictate how an employee feels about their workplace. Whether it’s a weekly team lunch, drinks on a Friday evening or a team coffee run, it’s often these small things that build a positive feel amongst the team.

Whilst there is a lot of change coming through from the next generation of workers, there are clear strategies SMEs can implement to ensure employees feel valued and engaged whilst at work. Not only will this boost productivity and benefit the business, it will also be a key player in retaining talent in the business.

Adam Noall, APAC Channel Director, BlueJeans

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