Employee Engagement: What is Top Talent Really Looking For?

Molly Robottom August 25 3 min read

Attracting and retaining top talent has been challenging over the past three years. In 2021 alone, 23% of the total U.S. workforce (47 million people) resigned from their jobs to move into entirely new or parallel positions, followed by more than 50 million in 2022.  

Research shows that low pay, a lack of opportunities, and feeling disrespected were the top reasons employees decided to make such a drastic change, followed by childcare considerations, health benefits, and paid time off. Toxic work environments and a desire for a better work-life balance were also significant contributors.  

According to Gartner, though the reasons cited above are more than valid, this shift within the employment sector boils down to three simple truths:  

1.) Employees want to be treated as people, not just production, 

2.) Work is now viewed as a part of life and not separate from it, and 

3.) Value isn’t measured by features but by feelings.  

With 70% of employees finding fulfillment through their careers, lines between what’s personal and what’s professional have blurred, with a large burden placed on employers to deliver a productive experience. This requires companies to create work environments that draw and retain top talent, enticing them to stay through a dynamic culture filled with robust offerings and opportunities.  

Here are just a few ways employers are doing just that.  

Work environments that inspire and engage. 

While many employees do want flexibility within their schedule through hybrid work models, most employees are, in fact, searching for an in-office component to their work week, understanding that these in-person interactions are integral to their continued growth, development, and long-term fulfillment.  

As such, companies are creating spaces that foster mentorship, collaboration, and privacy, ensuring that the office is conducive to individual and team work styles. This way, the office isn’t just a place to go but a way to connect with peers, explore a particular submarket, and have face-to-face time with leadership—all key to cultivating a more profound sense of meaning.  

For example, LERMA/, a premier ad agency in Dallas, TX, that has worked with brands such as Anheuser-Bush, Avocados from Mexico, The Dallas Cowboys, Keurig, Dr. Pepper, The Home Depot, and more, recognized that though their team was continuing to deliver while working from home, the company’s culture suffered. So, they created an office space central to supporting culture, collaboration, and creativity, which increased employee engagement and growth.  

The Honey Pot Company in Atlanta experienced the same success by creating a headquarters conducive to their employees’ needs. 

A work culture committed to health, wellness, and greater community.

There’s no question that compensation and benefits are of the utmost importance to employees and always have been. But today’s employees aren’t just searching for an increase in pay or health benefits. They want to know they are supported far beyond the employment standard, with mental health support, employee assistance programs, and increased vacation and sick time growing in popularity.  

Employees want to be a part of a company where people, not just profits, are the highest priority. According to the Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM’s) annual Employee Benefits surveys of HR professionals, 47% of U.S. companies offered community volunteer programs in 2022, with employees, especially younger workers, preferring to work for organizations committed to corporate social responsibility.   

At Stream, we look to enrich our teams, our clients, and our communities at every turn. Through paid volunteer time off and our Community Impact Program, our employees logged more than 4,614 volunteer hours and supported more than 50 organizations in 2022 alone—further enhancing the places we live and work.   

Transparency and opportunity. 

According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a distinct corporate culture increases engagement, productivity, and retention. This is because employees in a positive work environment feel valued and are more likely to be motivated and committed.  

Additionally, employees want a work environment that is transparent—where expectations are defined, setbacks are shared, feedback is provided, and the “why” behind significant company decisions is known. With many employees coming from work environments that were otherwise unhealthy, this open and positive environment helps them to feel both a part of the decisions made as well as secure within their roles.  

When transparency combines with a clearly set trajectory and plan for growth, employees feel as if they are working towards something greater, both individually and as a collective.  

Employers must remain open to evolving to meet employee needs. 

Doug Conant, founder and CEO of ConantLeadership, and former president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup, once said, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace,” a statement that couldn’t be more true. By taking the time to identify and capture employment trends, employers can ensure they appeal to top talent across the board. That’s why I’m thankful to be working at Stream.  

Our people-first approach to talent and business is why we continue to attract and retain the very best, with no sign of slowing down.  

Visit our career page to learn more.  

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Stream Press

Related Stream Expert

Molly Robottom

Senior Vice President, National Recruiting Contact