It did not take long for the pandemic to change the way people work and after months or even years of working from home, millions of employees have reassessed their current roles and working conditions and have decided to seek new positions.
Coupled with a shortage of skilled workers and international borders re-opening, a phenomenon named “the great resignation” was born and organisations globally are strategising on how to not only retain their existing workforce but also how to attract the best talent hunting out a new job.
If you are seeking a change it can be easy to be tempted by the lure of promises made by a recruiter or hiring manager, but what should you really be looking out for when you choose your next employer? Here are our tips.
A company’s culture will tell you all you need to know about what it is like to work for the organisation, and for some people a high salary and all the benefits in the world cannot counteract a poor workplace culture.
To ascertain the type of organisational culture a workplace has, check their website and social media for initiatives that might align with your own values and beliefs. This might include the opportunity to take part in volunteer work, charitable contributions or diversity and inclusion initiatives undertaken by the organisation.
The organisational culture may also dictate the dress code and the company’s attitude towards things like visible tattoos or piercings, so if these are aspects of a working environment that are important to you they should also be considered.
It is prudent to search for reviews, such as on seek.com.au left by former staff who might be able to provide insight into what it is like to be a part of that organisation’s workforce.
Working hours, flexibility and work-life balance
Your work-life balance may be affected by your working hours and flexibility, so it is important to understand what hours will be expected of you and if flexible working is a possibility.
These days, flexible working means more than the ability to work from home; it also allows you the opportunity to work hours that suit your lifestyle such as being able to log off to do the school drop-offs and pick-ups or attend appointments and log back on at a convenient time. Many workers find that they can achieve a full working day made up of smaller blocks throughout the day simply by logging on earlier in the morning or staying up later at night.
With a busy home and work life it can be difficult to maintain a precise work-life balance, but with flexible working it is far easier to accomplish.
Should you be required to attend the business’ offices (even if only for a couple of days a week) the proximity to your home and the difficulty of the commute should be factored in.
Whether you would typically drive or take public transport, there are costs involved and these should also be considered when choosing a place to work.
For some, a long commute will not be a problem if it means living in a more desirable location, but others will be put off by having to travel long distances, take multiple forms of transport to reach their destination or sit in traffic for hours per week.
Growth and professional development opportunities
Job seekers seldom move companies simply to have the same experience as their last role. Usually with a new position comes different responsibilities, learnings and room to grow, and even if you are looking to take on less tasks, shorter hours or manage less people, an organisation that cannot offer the prospect of professional development is unlikely to be one that will keep their employees engaged for long.
It is wise to look for opportunities to develop new skills such as through training, the opportunity to undertake informal classes or tertiary education paid for by the organisation to help your professional development.
A higher salary is not always the measure of a good move, but with the cost of living rising a salary increase can be very attractive.
If the jump from your current salary to what your next job is paying seems too good to be true, ask yourself if the big increase is masking something undesirable about the role such as unreasonably long hours or a demanding boss. Depending on the type of role, industry and city, a pay increase of up to 30% for a similar role at a different organisation could be considered within the normal range and anything higher might indicate that something is amiss.
Perks and Benefits
As organisations try to nab the best talent they are likely to be increasing their existing benefits. Things to look out for include:
- bonus annual leave;
- generous parental leave entitlements (including those that include provisions for adoption and surrogacy);
- cultural leave;
- health insurance;
- free or subsidised on-site meals; and
- discounted products or services.
Similarly, it might work in your favour to understand the rewards and recognition offered to hard workers. Unlike benefits, these usually aren’t guaranteed but a bonus structure, awards or recognition in the form of holidays or time off might be appealing.