Peakon, an employee success platform, released its inaugural 2020 Employee Expectations report. With 59% of the global workforce being disengaged as of January 2020, the report reveals what employees expect from their employers in 2020.
By analyzing more than 14 million employee survey comments, we found that the topics of the environment, flexible working, wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion are rising sharply in importance among employees all over the world.
Climate action — Globally, comments about environmental issues increased by 52% in 2019 (year-on-year). Plastic, single-use, and carbon footprint were among the most prevalent topics employees discussed. 2019 also marked the first time that Greta Thunberg was mentioned in employee survey responses.
- Employees in the manufacturing sector were among the most vocal on climate change in the past year, with a huge increase of 595% in environment-related terms year-on-year, followed by the Consumer industry (up 106%) and Professional Services (up 79%). The spike in environment-related comments among manufacturing employees meant it went from being one of the least vocal sectors on the topic in 2018 to one of the most in 2019.
- Employee discussion on the environment grew 128% among Generation Z, followed by Millennials and Baby Boomers with 62% and 59% increases, respectively.
- Australia and New Zealand both saw nearly 220% increases in discussion about climate action between 2018 and 2019. This spike was more than double the growth seen in the UK (85% increase), and almost five times that in Germany. However, employees in Germany still commented the most on climate change overall.
Flexible working — Over the past year, employee comments featuring flexible working-related terms have increased by 18% (YoY), with terms such as ‘WFH’ and ‘flexible work hours’ rising in prevalence.
- Generation Z employees saw a 36% increase in discussion on flexible working. Millennials weren’t far behind them with 34% growth.
- Employee discussion on flexible working grew 52% in the Transportation sector.
- Employees in the UK and Germany are the most vocal about flexible working.
Wellbeing — Over the past year, employee mentions of wellbeing-related topics in survey comments increased by 17% (YoY).
- Generation Z employee comments on wellbeing grew by 28%.
- Discussion on wellbeing increased by 51% in the Finance sector.
- Employee comments on wellbeing jumped by 37% in New Zealand.
Diversity and Inclusion — Peakon found a 19% increase in diversity and inclusion-related terms in employee comments. This included terms such as ‘POC’ (stands for people of color), ‘race’ and ‘minority’ rising in prevalence.
- Mentions of Diversity and Inclusion increased by 31% among Silent Generation employees. Age, bullied and discrimination were some of the highest-ranking terms they mentioned.
- Mentions of Diversity and Inclusion grew by 43% in the Education sector.
- Employees in Denmark are the most vocal about Diversity and Inclusion overall; this topic rose in prevalence in New Zealand over the past year, with a 44% increase in mentions.
These shifts in employee expectations are being felt across all generations, industries, and regions, with employees no longer feeling that they have to leave their personal lives at the office door. Businesses that don’t keep pace with these evolving trends will fail to connect with their most critical audience – their current and future employees. Eventually, they will risk losing the people that define their culture, build their product, and ultimately drive their business success.