Giving new employees the gift of time

As an executive responsible for people operations and community, my guiding principle is something I learned a long time ago: people are not a company's most valuable or greatest asset. People are people.

People make choices, including where they work, how they work, who they work with, and why they work the way they do. For people leaders, it’s crucial to understand that our employees actively choose to work with us, and that it’s our job to provide them with the best experience possible.

To create an outstanding place to work, we must create a magical employee experience - one that sparks flexibility, builds connection amongst our people, and supports the power of individual choice.

What employees want:

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The rise of environmentally friendly benefits

It’s no surprise that living and working through a global pandemic has created challenges for every person on our planet. As a collective, we have faced situations we never could have imagined before 2020.

Two long years of living and working through a pandemic have taken a toll and we all feel it. 

Some have had to find creative solutions for childcare, new dynamics related to balancing work and home life, missing out on important life moments because of quarantines, or simply feeling lonely even if we weren’t actually alone - all of this while trying to stay healthy and maintaining a positive mindset.

We want to believe that what we do has greater meaning and purpose, but this can feel impossible if we don’t find time to replenish our own energy.

More of us have come to realise the power of taking time for ourselves to refresh and reset. And many have decided to proactively take action and change what they do professionally as part of the Great Resignation or Great Reshuffle.

As an example, giving incoming employees the choice to take a break before starting a new role can be so powerful. Many new employees still only have a weekend between finishing their last role and beginning their new one.

The opportunity to take additional time before embarking on a new stage of their career can mean they’re able to engage in self-care to reset, spend time with family and friends, or reconnect with those who have influenced their lives for the better. All employees should feel empowered to create memories and experiences. Work can wait, your personal life shouldn’t have to.

It’s also important that current employees feel supported in taking the time they need to participate in something that fills up their cup and allows them a moment to pause.

Many companies extoll the benefits of unlimited paid leave policies, but with no guarantee that employees will take advantage of it.

Minimum requirements on top of unlimited annual leave are key: minimising any guilt associated with taking time off, while ensuring they have the space to take as much as they need.

When approaching new programs and benefits, it’s critical that HR teams work closely with their employees to align on their unique priorities and ensure real needs are being met. If a lack of time to take care of family is a concern, expanding childcare, flexible hours, recharge days, or other home and family-focused benefits can help show employees that you truly value them and their needs.

By making a real and visible effort to mould ways of working around the needs of employees, it’s more than possible for companies to turn the great resignation into the great retention and great attraction.

We're in a unique moment, but if leaders play the right hand they stand to lead in the race to attract, develop, and retain the talent they need to create a thriving organisation.

Paul McCarthy is chief people officer of SevenRooms