The question is almost as old as employment itself: Do we work to live or live to work? 'Better work, better life' are two terms that have become inextricably linked. In today’s fast-paced working world, achieving a good work-life balance has become a key priority for employees. In 2023, workers want to thrive both personally and professionally. As an employer, understanding what your employees want and taking steps to support them is crucial if you want to ensure higher job satisfaction, improved productivity and overall success for your organisation. So, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

The 2023 Indeed Better Work, Better Lives 2.0 Global Study has revealed that the top four concerns of Aussie workers are:

1)     A sufficiently high income

Ideally, Australian workers want to accumulate wealth and be able to build for the future (21% of respondents), but 36% would simply be happy to be able to afford life in today's turbulent economic times. For over 50% of respondents, money is therefore a main concern.

In addition to an attractive remuneration package, consider offering a bonus scheme for top performance, along with other perks such as extended company-funded parental leave, a company vehicle, a public transport or parking allowance, health insurance cover and generously paid overtime, to name just a few examples. In times when the cost of living has reached a record high and interest rates are still on the rise, your employees will thank you.

If workers can't meet their basic living expenses on their current salary, they're sure to look for better-paid employment opportunities elsewhere. This means you'll risk losing talent to the competition, and your business may eventually suffer. So, investing in employee salaries and remuneration is likely a sound investment that will benefit your organisation in the long term.

2)     More flexibility in working hours and location

OECD data shows that Australia ranks among the worst OECD countries for work-life balance, with many respondents reporting excessively long working hours and insufficient leisure time. This can lead to stress and health issues and have a negative impact on mental health, too. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that, according to Hiring Lab’s Senior Economist Callam Pickering, Australians are showing growing interest in a four-day workweek.

As an employer, consider offering your staff flexible working arrangements, including flexible working hours and working away from the office. In fact, post-COVID, most workers have come to expect hybrid working models as the rule rather than the exception. Treat your workers as human beings, and they will likely be loyal to your organisation and put in their best efforts for the company because they know you value their time.

3)     More training, growth and advancement opportunities

It’s essential for good employers to know how to support employees in the workplace. One way to show support is by providing your staff with ongoing training and development opportunities. Employees are generally motivated by learning new skills and being able to complete interesting training courses in areas that relate to their practical work. You may even want to consider funding university degrees and professional certifications for your staff.

After all, this will give them new skills and eventually help them secure a more senior role in the company. And, of course, any organisation will benefit from new employee skills and expertise. By the same token, your workers will appreciate your investment in them and enjoy greater job satisfaction. Investing in professional development and further training is, therefore, a mutually beneficial arrangement for any organisation and something well worth considering if you don't have a training and development policy in place yet.

4)     Feeling appreciated by management

The Australian Better Work, Better Lives 2.0 survey respondents indicated that they want to feel a sense of purpose in their role. It’s no secret that recognising and appreciating your workers’ efforts and achievements can significantly contribute to their overall job satisfaction and well-being.

After all, who doesn't like praise and appreciation? Therefore, consider taking the time to regularly acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments, both individually and as a team. Implementing a rewards and recognition scheme, for example, can also help foster a positive work environment. Satisfied staff will spread the word about your business and your employer brand will thrive. And, of course, you'll foster a pleasant working atmosphere in your organisation.

Symbiotic success through employee well-being

According to the recent Indeed Better Work, Better Lives 2.0 Global Study, 69% of Australian respondents are unhappy in their current roles and believe that there is a better job out there for them. If you bear in mind the above study results and recommendations, you can make your mark as a caring, proactive employer. And word may quickly get around – in your industry and beyond. Happy staff means great results, and a great employer reputation means happy customers and stakeholders – in sum, the key to a successful business.