Workers seek deeper relationship with their workplace, ISS survey finds

Survey highlights potential for employers to increase focus on culture, employee well-being, and belonging.

Workers increasingly view their work as more than just a source of income, as they seek a deeper relationship with their workplace, a new ISS public opinion survey has found.

The research, ‘Belonging in the Workplace’ was conducted by Opinium on behalf of workplace experience and facilities management company, ISS A/S.

The survey highlights the opportunity for employers and HR professionals to improve the social contract with employees and foster a greater sense of workplace belonging, says Margot Slattery, group head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging at ISS.

The survey of 4500 workers across the five countries found that while pay is still the main factor for the majority (96 per cent) of respondents as a reason for why they value their job, more than a third (39 per cent) of respondents think that their workplace is ‘mostly’ or ‘only’ important for other reasons than just the pay.

When delving deeper into these ‘other reasons’, 83 per cent of the respondents pointed to ‘a sense of purpose’ as the most important reason for why they go to work.

This is closely followed by ‘the general culture of the workplace’ (78 per cent), while ‘opportunities to develop and progress my career’ was ranked somewhat lower (67 per cent).

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of the respondents also cited that, if they had the choice, they would prefer a ‘somewhat’ or ‘much’ deeper relationship with their workplace. This figure is even higher for young people, aged between 18 and 34 (36 per cent).

The respondents were also asked what ‘a sense of belonging’ at the workplace means to them. Over half (59%) associated this with ‘a place where I feel respected and am treated fairly’, whereas 42 per cent pointed to ‘a place where I perform well’, and 36 per cent mentioned ‘a place where I feel wanted’.

For Slattery, the survey results demonstrate the great need, but also the huge potential, for employers to increase their focus on culture, employee well-being, and belonging:

“Beyond the paycheck, we witness a powerful shift in worker’s motivation, where non-financial factors have taken on immense significance. Rather than simply living for the weekend, workers want to feel the hours they are putting in at work are worthwhile, contributing to a positive goal, and making an impact, all while feeling safe”, she said.

“This reality demands that employers adopt a holistic approach to employee attraction and retention, always keeping people at the core. Many workers, not least the younger generations, are eager to forge deeper connections with their workplace. By establishing a compelling ‘social contract’ with employees and nurturing a workplace culture centred around well-being, safety, and a sense of belonging, both companies and employees will greatly benefit.”

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