What your future employees want most


The past year has forever changed the way employees perceive and approach work, but one thing is true: Companies that want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward must understand the top priorities of business. their future workforce. They need to embrace new flexible working models and train a workforce capable of designing their own careers. Employees want to know when and where they work. They want to work with a diverse team. They want to be measured by the value they deliver, not the volume they deliver. And they expect to be given the space and confidence they need to do their best job, no matter where they are. Companies that understand and embrace these wants and needs will not only boost the motivation and engagement of their existing employees, but will also grab the attention of the brightest new hires and propel their business to new heights.

The past year has accelerated digital transformation across all industries. Along with the universal recognition that resilient employees are the true lifeblood of a business, it has come to be understood that a business’s workforce is crucial to business recovery. This has prompted organizations to completely rethink the way they attract, retain and manage their talent.

My organization, Citrix, wanted to understand what the current attitudes of HR managers and knowledge workers are towards their future workforce. We did a study that we called Talent accelerator, as part of Citrix’s Work 2035 project, a year-long review of global models and workplans designed to understand how work will evolve and the role technology will play in enabling people to be their best. The Talent Accelerator study combines the research of more than 2,000 knowledge workers and 500 human resources managers in large established companies and mid-size companies with at least 500 employees based in the United States. When the study was commissioned, both groups of professionals were working on open-ended contracts and were currently working or had recently worked from home due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Research findings on the future of talent management

When it comes to what talent management might look like in the future, our study identified three overarching priorities among knowledge workers:

1. Employees overwhelmingly expect flexible options.

According to the study, 88% of knowledge workers say that when looking for a new job, they will look for one that offers full flexibility in their hours and location. Additionally, 83% predict that in response to the global shortage of skilled talent, companies will take advantage of flexible work models to reach the right candidates, regardless of where they live. What else:

  • 76% of workers surveyed believe that employees will be more likely to prioritize lifestyle (family and personal interests) over proximity to work, and will look for jobs in places where they can focus on both, even if this implies a reduction in salary.
  • 83% of employees believe that workers will be more likely to leave cities and other urban places if they can work remotely most of the time, creating new work centers in rural areas.

In order to position themselves to win in the future, companies will need to meet employees where they are.

2. Employees want to reinvent the way productivity is measured.

Going forward, businesses will need to rethink how they measure productivity, as traditional metrics – and views that real work can’t be done outside of the office – will no longer suffice. According to the study, today’s employees want to be measured on the value they deliver, not on the volume. And they expect to be given the space and confidence they need to do their best job, no matter where they are.

  • 86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritizes results over results. What does it mean? New hires want to work for a company that cares less about the skilled work they are able to produce, and more about the impact they can have on the business in a holistic sense.
  • But there is a gap here, with just 69% of HR directors saying their business currently operates that way, and only half of HR directors saying their organization would be more productive as a whole if employees felt that their employer / senior manager trusted them to do the job without monitoring their progress.


Forward-thinking companies will focus on bridging this gap and design people-centered experiences that give employees the space they need to unleash their full potential and deliver transformative results.

3. Employees want to work with a diverse team.

Something that employees and managers seem to agree on? Employees want to work for a company that values ​​diversity.

  • 86% of employees and 66% of human resources managers say that a diverse workforce will become even more important as the roles, skills and demands of the business evolve over time.
  • Honest and accessible metrics about your diversity progress and remaining gaps are critical to ensuring efforts to build a diverse team are measurable, focused and impactful.

Take-out for executives

What should be the main takeaways for business leaders regarding the implications of these findings?

1. See the forest through the trees.

Without location restrictions, business leaders need to look at their recruiting from a broader perspective and expand the potential to attract employees who can boost an organization’s creativity and productivity.

They could, for example, tap into untapped pools of talent such as ‘domestic strength’ and bring back parents who put their careers on hold to care for children, or people who quit their jobs to look after children. caring for aging parents. It could also mean turning to baby boomers who have retired but still want to work a few hours a week. And that could mean enlisting more part-time, contract and gig workers – who represent a higher percentage of the workforce than ever before – to take on more hours. And, of course, that means looking for global talent who can reside anywhere.

2. Prioritize learning and development.

New business models triggered by the pandemic and changes in customer preferences and needs have given rise to new roles and opportunities for companies – and their employees – to grow. Upgrading skills and retraining will be key factors in reaping the benefits. As the study found:

  • 82% of employees and 62% of human resources managers believe that workers will need to upgrade their current skills or acquire new ones at least once a year in order to maintain a competitive advantage in a global job market.
  • HR managers believe that ensuring an organization has the latest collaborative technology in place to enable agile learning is the most important factor in recruiting and retaining top talent, and 88% of employees confirm this notion, stating that they are looking for this when looking for a new position.

It bears repeating: Organizations will need to prioritize retraining and upgrading skills to attract and retain the talent they need to grow their businesses. Those who do will not only increase the motivation of their existing workers, but will grab the attention of the brightest new hires and position themselves to emerge from the pandemic not only where they were, but in a stronger and better position to go. forward.

The past year has forever changed the way employees perceive and approach work, but one thing is true: Companies that want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward must understand the top priorities of business. their future workforce. They must embrace new flexible working models and train a workforce capable of designing their own careers. By doing so, they will not only increase the motivation and engagement of their existing employees, but also grab the attention of the brightest new hires and propel their business to new heights.



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