What Motivates Employees in 2022 | Survey Results

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The events of the past two years changed the corporate landscape significantly, as the pandemic exposed areas of vulnerability and gaps in company identity and culture. As such, employee motivators and what they look for in a long-term position have also changed drastically, forcing companies to adapt to stay competitive in the job market. It’s clear that business leaders have struggled to keep their teams motivated and engaged as a record 47 million workers, representing one-fifth of the US workforce, voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021. Our team at Onyx Offsites & Trainings recently conducted an anonymous survey of employees across various industries to find out what really motivates employees in today’s landscape.

As a new generation of workers search for job opportunities, company decision makers need to understand what employees really want if they want to improve overall productivity, retention and recruiting efforts. It’s no surprise that competitive pay and comprehensive benefits came out on top, with 72% of respondents naming it the top factor in their decision to join and stay at a company, but the new corporate landscape has shed light on a number of benefits often overlooked by companies.

Following pay and benefits, according to our research, being part of a strong team and having opportunities for growth and personal development, were noted by 47% of respondents as being extremely important. Not far behind in importance were autonomy with 44% and flexible work arrangements at 38%. Offering these benefits to employees is a great start but how can you continue to invest in your team to keep them motivated and connected in the new workplace environment? Below are what we found to be employees’ top four motivators in 2022 and solutions to help businesses to better meet their employees' needs.

  1. Prioritization of Wellness

Our research shows that 65% of participants care about prioritization of wellness, making it the top employee motivator. As work environments have undergone the most significant changes in decades, recognizing employee health and wellness has never been more critical for success, especially in a post-pandemic world. When employees feel overwhelmed at work, they often forget to take care of their own health. This can lead to poor productivity and a stressful work environment. 

Implementing comprehensive wellness programs or simple wellness offerings are effective ways to prioritize wellbeing and boost satisfaction and productivity, while also demonstrating company values to prospective employees. These programs allow employees to invest in their wellbeing and become happier and healthier individuals overall. Eventually, some employers may find themselves seeing the benefit in a complete company wellness retreat. No offering is too small, and employees will truly value the opportunity to take a step back to focus on themselves.

  1. Company Retreats

Company retreats, which includes overnights, offsites or travel came in at a close second with over 63% of participants ranking it a top workplace motivator. Corporate retreats are now more important than ever but the traditional corporate retreats where employees are cramped into conference rooms and expected to show up to stuffy corporate ballrooms for never-ending meetings are now a thing of the past. In a post Covid-19 corporate landscape, where encouraging employee engagement has become more challenging, corporate retreats now need to be more engaging, increasingly held outdoors and have more fun built in. Corporate offsites can take a variety of different forms and should always be customized to fit your team’s needs, some unique retreat ideas include wellness programming such as a spa day, adventure activities like kayaking and hiking or fun team games, like a scavenger hunt or sandcastle building competition.

  1. Community Service + Volunteer Opportunities

It’s not surprising that community service was indicated as the third best employee motivator as a recent study found that Gen-Z is the first generation to prioritize purpose over salary. Job seekers in today’s market are pursuing opportunities with organizations whose values align closely with their own personal values. Volunteering time to the community or a worthy cause has many benefits and can improve both employees’ and employers' personal lives and overall wellbeing, in addition to the effect it will have on the work environment.

Companies can bolster their CSR initiatives through intentional and cultivated programs, by identifying causes that are important to their team and by providing opportunities for employee involvement. CSR programs may include volunteer events, fundraisers or diversity, equity and inclusion trainings. People want to make contributions to a greater purpose beyond their personal responsibilities and they expect their employers to do the same. Companies that have cultures with strong social impact programs are not facing the same recruiting and retention challenges as companies that ignore the importance of CSR to employees. Whether it’s a canned-goods drive, a community garden or a collaborative art project for good, there’s something out there for every team.

  1. Training & Development

Rounding out our list as the fourth best employee motivator, as indicated by respondents, was training and development opportunities, which are something that has fallen to the wayside for many businesses in the new work landscape. Employees today are looking for ways to improve their skills and learn from other industry leaders in order to grow personally and professionally. Companies that choose not to provide the chance for their employees to do so may find that they’re losing their team to companies that are. 

Providing employees with the opportunity to grow and thrive will reap enormous benefits, which include increased retention, improved team morale, increased employee autonomy and more. But we aren’t talking about traditional seminars filled with notetaking and presentations. There are many unique ways to develop a team’s knowledge and professional skillsets without making it a snooze, some examples include workshops on emotional intelligence or self-awareness, resilience trainings or inviting an interesting guest speaker that your team admires. Training and development programming will help teams learn new skills, tools and habits to encourage personal and professional growth. 

Looking for even more information? Contact us today to get the conversation started about Onyx Offsites & Trainings.