What Employees Want And How You Can Look After Your Biggest Asset



Over the years, employee needs and priorities have shifted. Attracting and retaining the best talent is crucial to business success, and with this shift in employee priorities there is an increase in competition between businesses to provide the best environments for their teams. Understanding what employees actually want is a good first step to ensuring your business can cater for the needs of today’s talent pool. What might have been attractive to potential candidates in the past is no longer as relevant in today’s world of work, which has changed drastically over the last few years. Knowing what is important to employees should be at the top of any organisation’s priority list; after all, a company’s biggest asset will always be the people who work for them.

Based on the latest industry research and our first-hand knowledge and experience, we have put together a list of what is becoming increasingly more important to employees, with tips on how you can implement these into your business practices to ensure you are looking after your biggest asset. Take a look at the list below:

  • Flexibility 
  • Work-life Balance 
  • Recognition and Employee Development 
  • Workplace Culture 
  • Open Communication and Transparency 


More than half of UK workers are in favour of some form of return to the office policy, but flexibility is key to any office mandated approach according to a new poll from Owl Labs. The survey suggests that whilst UK workers recognise the benefits in returning to the office, they want the flexibility and the option to work from home. While the majority of UK managers champion return to office mandates in some capacity, they don’t necessarily expect their teams to be in the office full-time. According to the report, a flexible return to the office approach driven by task-based working is key to maintaining an engaged and motivated team.

Similarly, according to Modo Labs, 85% of people say the office is important to them, however, it must be flexible. Employees see huge value to flexible working, and working from home when required for personal errands such as doctors’ appointments is favoured. The office now needs to offer more than just a desk and a chair, workspaces need to be a gathering space for human interaction. It is said that adding various amenities to your office spaces such as gyms, laundry services or free lunches can help, however, it is important to remember the best amenity is always other people. Taking a view on return to office policies, forcing employees back to the office has been proven to have a negative effect on productivity and workplace culture, and therefore is not a sustainable answer.

Work-Life Balance 

Work plays a huge role in our lives; we spend such a considerable amount time working that sometimes it can be hard to separate our personal lives from work. According to Standout-cv, the latest data for 2024 shows that 66% of employees feel as though work life balance is a crucial consideration when applying for a job and 55% of employees want to work for a company who will actively support their mental health – it is reported that this percentage has doubled in the last 10 years. As an employer, it is crucial to ensure that employees are taking care of the areas of their lives that keep them happy and healthy. For team leaders, managers, and directors, leading by example and setting boundaries is one way of doing this, as well as having policies in place such as flexible working hours, which is something we champion here at Ben Johnson Interiors.

Mental health and phycological safety are huge topics of discussion within the workplace at the moment. One way businesses can ensure best practice is by training senior team members to spot the signs of any colleagues who may be struggling with their mental health, and learning to communicate effectively and empathetically with them. This will help to create a supportive environment, encouraging open communication and checking in with your employees regularly. A good work life balance supports those struggling with their mental health; an article by GoodRx health suggests that people who report to have a good work life balance tend to be more satisfied with their work and have fewer symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Offering employees a good work-life balance can also increase productivity and is a great example of how a positive workplace culture can ultimately help businesses to maximise their team’s potential. Here at Ben Johnson Interiors, we strongly believe that happy employees lead to a successful business.

Recognition and Employee Development 

Recognising hard work not only expresses appreciation but also motivates employees, and the same can be said for investing in employee development. Setting manageable goals and targets on both a company and individual level benefits everyone and most importantly helps to retain members of staff. Employee development can look like many things such as training courses, setting new KPI’s for the months or year ahead, or mentoring, which can help people both personally and professionally. Employees are more likely to be motivated and satisfied with their jobs if their hard work and achievements are acknowledged. As a business, having regular appraisals or formal recognition programmes in place can be a great way to ensure you’ve got this point covered to keep your teams happy. If you’re having difficulty retaining staff, this might be one crucial aspect that you’re missing out on!

Workplace Culture 

We talk about workplace culture a lot; this is because it defines the values and attitudes of an organisation. For employees, positive workplace culture creates a sense of belonging and increases job satisfaction. Using data such as turnover rates and employee surveys to track your organisation’s progress on improving workplace culture can provide valuable insights and will help you plan ahead. A healthy workplace culture starts with leadership, and it is crucial that leaders embody the values they promote and set the tone for the rest of the business. Good consistent leadership fosters respect, transparency, and trust, all of which are vital to a positive workplace culture. According to Qualtrics, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a positive workplace culture is a core part of business success, leading to higher employee engagement.

Open Communication and Transparency 

No one wants to work for a company with poor communication. This can lead to problems such as losing valuable team members, stress, poor performance and lack of appreciation. Open communication in the workplace creates an environment where employees can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. It is important to ensure that every member of staff feels heard, and it is important for senior staff to understand and utilise the most effective way of communicating between different employees – don’t forget that everyone is different! Bettercup suggests that when employees receive transparent communication at work, they engage better and boast a large increase in job satisfaction compared to those who believe their organisation lacks good communication and transparency. Open communication should exist within your employee engagement strategy, as poor communication between teams can create problems, thus negatively affecting how well your company operates.

Finally, an inspiring workplace can really do wonders for your business. Creating an amazing space will not only encourage employees to come back to the office to collaborate with one another but will also boost productivity and provide employees with a sense of belonging. This means happier colleagues and a more positive workplace overall. If you’re struggling with any of the points we’ve raised, such as staff retention and understanding the latest advice in workplace strategy, get in touch with us to find out how we have helped clients nationwide, from our roots in Yorkshire, to London, the North East and beyond with their workplace challenges. We would love to hear from you.