Employee expectations have fundamentally shifted. 

A recent study by Microsoft (March 2021) indicated that over 40% of the global workforce would be willing to leave their job this year.

This mass exodus is driven by many factors, including new job opportunities (that aren’t limited by location) and the emphasis on flexibility and work/life balance. As a result, keeping your top talent will become even more difficult and implementing people-first policies will become a necessity.

First, Some Context

Before the pandemic, 74% of respondents worked primarily in an office. Now, almost half of those people (48%) who used to work in the office are working primarily from home. Although the transition to working from home should help with work/life balance in theory that’s not exactly how it’s played out.

According to Wiley’s July, 2021 survey findings of 4500 working professionals (“Keep Your People: How to Navigate the Great Resignation” Report):

38% respondents report feeling neutral, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied about their work/life balance.

78% of people are experiencing elevated stress levels, with 42% of those people reporting high stress.

Their research found a strong correlation between satisfaction with work/life balance and stress levels and vice versa.


The Top 5 Policies Correlated to Lower Employee Stress:

So what can organizations do to create a more people-centered culture, so employees want to stay?

Wylie asked respondents questions about what policies their organizations have in place that have the biggest impact on lowering employee stress levels:

  1. Additional PTO & Mental Health Days (32% currently experience this benefit). According to their research, providing additional PTO and mental health days had the strongest impact on lowering stress levels during the height of the pandemic and will continue to play a critical role moving forward. Organizations that actively prioritize, discuss, and cater to their employees’ mental health moving forward will be in a better position to retain and attract top talent.
  2. Greater Flexibility (66% currently experience this benefit). As we move into forward in the new world of work, organizations will need to build policies that help employees maintain a work/life balance (when and where they work) that prioritizes their health, well-being, and life outside of work.
  3. Non-Work Time to Connect with Colleagues (59% experience this benefit).  The employee experience rests heavily on the organizations ability to build strong, healthy working relationships.  As the hybrid environment becomes increasingly prevalent, it will be important to build in optional, fun, non-work interactions to help people stay connected.
  4. Listening Sessions with Leaders (58% experience this benefit). People have lower stress levels when leaders reach out and listen. They want to feel heard and acknowledged for their unique needs and contributions and will, in turn, be more committed to their work.
  5. Training Opportunities (82% experience this benefit). The terms upskilling and reselling are showing up all over the place in business literature right now. It is critical to invest in your workforce to ensure they have the most up-to-date skills to navigate uncertain times and stay competitive.


Contact us for insights and tools that can help you better position your organization to navigate this move towards a more people-centered culture.