What employees really want: how to create a people-first workplace

To ensure high levels of job satisfaction, organisations find themselves asking, “what is it that employees require?” and “how can we take a people-first approach to building more effective and attractive workplaces?” A new report by workplace experience technology expert HqO seeks to answer these key questions. The report, entitled ‘What the Employee Wants’, addresses the key challenges faced by organisations when understanding what employees really want from their employers and their future workplace.  


Creating value

The key takeaway from the HqO report is that there is a growing chasm between what employees want and what employers think employees want. In their findings, employees identified three key attributes they desired from their work:

  • Feeling valued by both their organisation and manager
  • Having a sense of belonging
  • Being able to participate in flexible work schedules.

Through employers thinking not aligning with employee thinking, this symbolises a disconnect due to many organisations adopting a work culture which places monetary success and hitting targets over forming and nurturing a work culture which instils a sense of support.


The report identified different areas which were of critical importance to employees:

  • Feeling valued – Employees value human-centred experiences. Those who do not believe they are obtaining meaningful connections at work are more likely to quit. Therefore, employees seek a fresh and improved feeling of purpose in their jobs. They want to experience a sense of belonging.
  • Workplace flexibility – Due to the expansion of remote and hybrid work, employees are seeking greater flexibility from their companies. In order to develop a people-first work culture and workplace, giving employees control over their work environment is a given.
  • Employee engagement – Both employee and employer recognise the importance of employee engagement in talent attraction and retention. Engaged employees are happier and more productive.


After recognising the needs of employees, employers must take action to modify their agenda to match the shifting expectations of their workforce and take active measures to retain and recruit the finest talent. This report goes some way in identifying where organisations need to start on their journey to understand their workforce.

This article is based on a research piece ‘What employees really want: towards a people-first workplace authored Academy Reporting, for WORKTECH Academy