Who is quitting, who’s returning and why?

A new survey from McKinsey & Company looks at both quit and return to work trends as reported in this recent Forbes story by Emmy Lucas. While flexibility ranked highest for why employees returned to work, during my interview I cautioned that flexibility is more than just remote/hybrid work.

“Hybrid keeps people stuck, because it’s keeping us way too focused on the number of days on site versus remote. Really this is about how, when and where an organization operates across workspaces, workplaces, time, technology used, and the pace at which work is done….As we move into the next phase of change, it really is important that [the work itself] is prioritized.”

That means teams determining together WHAT needs to get done and then how, when, and where that work is done best.

Meanwhile, remember a few weeks ago when Gallup reported what was most important to employees when deciding whether to accept a new job:

1) Significant increase in income and benefits
2) Greater flexibility and better personal well-being
3) The opportunity to do what they do best

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, the employers who offer all three are indeed winning the war for talent. The survey found, “that those who quit and are now employed elsewhere are more likely than not to say their current job has:

1) Better pay,
2) More opportunities for advancement and
3) More work-life balance and flexibility.”

Both these recent pieces of research reinforce a point I’ve been making a lot lately — flexibility is just as important as compensation as employees decide whether to stay with their current job or look for a new opportunity.  And it’s a point, I’ll dive into further as I speak to compensation and HR executives at three upcoming Conference Board Council events during April and May.

Flexibility and compensation together are issues I expect to take on even more urgency. Why? Because investors and the SEC are now trying to identify and quantify the drivers that attract and retain employees and how to effectively value employees as an asset per the WSJ.

Interesting timing, as more organizations welcome employees back to the office with some even demanding they come back five days a week.

We’ll see how that turns out.