The 10 things employees really want from their employer

Hiring employees is growing more and more difficult for small business owners. With a record number of team members quitting or showing signs they’re about to quit across the US, it’s more important than ever to not only attract the right candidates but also give them a reason to stay. 

In a recent Homebase survey of 2,000 small business employees, one-third of respondents told us they plan to look for a new job in the next year or two. The good news is, they also shared the top 10 things they prioritize in the search. Keep these in mind as you recruit top talent and engage your team. 

1. Company leadership

Today’s job seekers value a good business leader over everything else — even pay. Take a look at your current leadership style and how effective it is. Are you communicating with your team on a regular basis? Do you set clear goals and help employees achieve them in a realistic way? Check out our page on leadership advice from top CEOs. 

To be a great leader, make sure you’re exercising the following skills: 

  • Strategic planning
  • Clearly tying the work to your company’s mission
  • Leading by example 
  • Employee engagement
  • Providing constructive feedback 
  • Encouraging collaboration 
  • Knowing when to delegate

Dive deeper into what it takes to be the right kind of leader by checking out our article on how to lead your team like a boss. And be sure to emphasize your commitment to great leadership in every job post to help attract the best talent. 

2. Competitive income offers

It comes as no surprise that a fair wage rate is one of the top priorities for employees. Analyze your current pay scale and compare it with other industries in your area. Are you providing the right compensation for your employees? 

A good rule of thumb is to dedicate 40% to 80% of your revenue toward employee wages, according to NerdWallet. You can also use the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ average pay rate comparison to better understand what employees in your area are being paid depending on your industry. 

Job seekers are going to come into an interview with an expectation of what they want to earn, so be open to negotiating within a range if you want to further entice them to take the role. 

3. Great co-workers

Relationships with colleagues are important in today’s labor market, so it’s critical that you keep this in mind when building your team to keep both your current and future employees happy on the job. 

Focus on building camaraderie among your employees. You can start by avoiding ruthless internal competition or showing favoritism and fostering a team bond by encouraging social activities outside of work. 

Give existing employees a chance to gain an understanding of how your top candidates operate so they can provide feedback on how they’ll fit into the team. Doing so will not only convey trust but will also show your candidates that you’re dedicated to ensuring a cohesive and positive vibe at the workplace and you provide a positive employee experience. 

4. Flexible work hours 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the future of work means providing a better work/life balance for many employees. Giving your team the chance to take care of their personal needs beyond paid time off is a highly impactful perk that has been proven to increase retention. Examples of flexible work hours can include: 

  • Adjusted work arrival or departure times: Employees can arrive early and leave early, or arrive late and stay later, depending on their family schedules. 
  • Four-day workweeks: Employees could work longer days instead of five shorter days while still completing the same amount of work.  
  • Job-sharing: Two employees perform the tasks of one full-time position. They both work part-time schedules and divide the responsibilities in a way that meets both of their needs. 
  • Remote work options: Team members with the ability to work from home can do so for an agreed amount of time. 

Not all types of flexible work strategies fit the needs of every type of business, so it’s important to find a program that works best for you and your team. Additionally, flexibility in scheduling can be as easy as creating an open-door policy where your team isn’t afraid to ask for a modified schedule one week or to come in later so they can take care of a personal matter. 

5. Predictive work scheduling 

Today’s employees don’t just value flexibility — they also consider predictability a top priority. And in some states and cities, it’s actually the law to implement a predictive scheduling process. This means you provide posted, predictable work schedules to employees in advance. 

With Homebase, predictive scheduling is easy thanks to a ton of features we offer to make scheduling in advance streamlined and efficient. Plus, you can notify your employees instantly after publishing the schedule, giving them as much advance notice as possible.

6. Relatable company culture

Employees want to work in a place where they can feel happy, that they can relate to the company’s values, where they feel respected, and included. Promoting a strong company culture based on business values helps increase retention and well-being. If your job candidates can actually see what the atmosphere is like when they come in for an interview, they’ll be more likely to understand if it’s the right fit for them. 

To build great workplace culture, focus on rewarding good efforts, cultivate strong relationships, and create a sense of transparency to ensure trust among your team. 

7. Learning and development opportunities

Today’s job seekers aren’t just looking to be trained for the role they have today — they also have career goals for the future. Helping to foster the necessary skills to move up to the next level will empower your team to grow professionally, and they’ll appreciate you for giving them the opportunity. 

Take a look at our article on how to build an impactful employee development program for more tips on how to provide this meaningful benefit. 

8. Commitment to sustainability and the environment

Employees want to be proud of the company they work for, and that includes being able to point to your genuine inititatives of decreasing the business’s environmental footprint. Doing so can start with a few simple activities: 

  • Use sustainable products where possible
  • Provide public transit commuter benefits
  • Recycle and compost
  • Upgrade to energy-efficient utilities
  • Work with green vendors

Highlighting your efforts to keep the environment clean and healthy in your job posts is a great way to attract more potential candidates, so remember to include them. 

9. A short commute

No one wants to spend hours a day in their vehicle to and from work, so it’s not surprising that a short commute is a top priority for job candidates. Still, the US Census Bureau says the average commute to work and home again is over 52 minutes.

Your best bet to offering this benefit is to look locally for new employees. Participate in local job fairs, ask your existing team members for referrals, or use job boards focused on nearby candidates. 

However, there are also ways to combat commuter burnout. Offer flexibility in leave times so employees can beat traffic, or if you can, allow them to work from home a couple of times a week. 

10. Health insurance benefits

Health insurance is a great benefit to offer your team if you have the ability to do so, and it’s clearly something job candidates are looking for when seeking a new role. Take a look at’s coverage comparison page to learn more about your options. 

If you don’t have enough employees to meet insurance participation requirements, you might still have an option under the Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment Period. Check out our article on the program for more details. 

Taking these factors into account when building your job posts will give you the best chance of hiring the best team members. Homebase can make it easier to get those job posts out to find top talent in no time. 

With customizable job descriptions, free posting to top job boards, and paid boosts, we take the hassle out of hiring. Try Homebase for free today

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