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It’s the balancing act that nobody saw coming. To go from daily commutes, poor office coffee and air-conditioned meeting rooms, to having a better work-life balance and greater flexibility. Covid has changed the way the world works, literally.

For the most part, companies across the UK have been trying to find their feet since 2020, looking for the best ways to help their employees maintain their work-life balance and adapt to new ways of working. Fast-forward 24 months and every HR director across the country now finds themselves asking the same question: in this new world of work, how can they retain employees?


Employees want flexibility

Employees want different things now. Gone are the days of booking two-hour meeting room slots or scheduling a 1-2-1 during a 45-minute commute. Today, employees want options on-demand, to match their on-demand lives.

Hybrid working has gone from a rarely available option to a can’t live without for many employees. More than half (59%) of HR decision makers (HRDMs) surveyed agree hybrid working has had a positive effect on the mental wellbeing of their workforce, so it’s now an important consideration for both employees and business leaders.


Employees want to learn, inclusively

Looking for upskill opportunities was a top area of focus for senior HR professionals in 2021, but now it’s on the radar for most employees too.

Papers Owl highlighted that e-learning increases employee engagement by up to 18%; and 56% of employees learn at a point of need (Elucidat Bite-Sized Learning Guide).

And according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report, employees, on average, stay twice as long if the company invested in their careers.

The Elucidat Guide also states that the average employee actively sets aside only 1% of their time for learning – that’s just 14.4 minutes per day, and 28% of employees learn on their commute. Interestingly, studies from the National Centre for Education Statistics show that a further 58% prefer to learn at their own pace and in the comfort of their homes.

If learning and development increases employee engagement and retention, it’s a no-brainer! But with limited time dedicated to learning, and the majority of employees preferring to learn outside of the office, the challenge is to make learning more appealing as well as accessible and inclusive.

Consider what learning was like back in school; one dimensional, which left many students disinterested, unenthusiastic and switched off. Modern-day workplace training that doesn’t challenge this traditional method with a multi-faceted approach will be equally as monotonous and ineffective.

In other words, employees want to be able to choose where, when, what, how, and for how long they learn.

There’s no doubt, then, that engaging, dynamic learning, that’s delivered in different styles to suit a variety of learner types and reflects their changing habits and busy working lifestyles has become an even greater priority for businesses seeking to increase their employee retention.


Employees don’t want to be overworked and overwhelmed

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, we all have lives outside of work and employees want to be able to enjoy this time guilt-free, not stressed or stuck on a computer late into the night trying to keep up with over-heavy workloads.

A 2020 survey found that more than 40% of employees worked longer hours from home. Now that we’re able to get back into the office, even if only a few days a week, this is less likely to be the case, but it’s still true to say that employees don’t want to feel overworked with no choice but to work long hours just to stay afloat.

Small tokens of gratitude create a great working community and enjoyable workplace environment, helping us all to feel valued, appreciated and have our hard work recognised, even if it’s just a “Hey, great job today” or “I really love what you’ve done here.”


Employees want promotions

When a business is looking to fill a new role, it’s not uncommon for them to look for internal promotion opportunities first. It’s not only more cost effective for employers to promote their internal staff, but it can also increase retention rates by fostering a culture that encourages internal growth and movement as a first port of call instead of jumping ship.

In fact, 51% of learning and development professionals said that internal mobility is a higher priority now than before the pandemic, and that a general strategy moving into 2022 should be that skill building and internal promotional programmes can help make talent a renewable resource.


Employees want to influence

In a recent article from, Jayson Demers, Founder and CEO at AudienceBloom highlights that in todays’ modern workplace, “influence is power… no matter who you are, where you work, or what your professional goals are, achieving more influence in the workplace is critical for success.”

There are, of course, many ways to stand out in the workplace and demonstrate your value and influence as an employee. Above and beyond the core responsibilities of their individual roles, employees are increasingly coming together as learners, sharing knowledge and insights across the whole organisation, meaning they can quite literally grow their presence as a thought leader in their business, show their expertise and grow their online educator status.


The employee experience

It’s clear to see that employee wants have shifted from what they were pre-pandemic. The traditional motivators of recognition and appreciation still hold firm, but with personal development, flexibility and a more balanced work-life split now being equally as important, if not more so for some, it’s the whole employee experience which really is the key to retaining employees.

Of course, how far you go and the specific measures you choose to adopt will be individual to your business – the same things won’t necessarily work from one industry or team to another – but investing in your team’s personal and professional wellbeing and development doesn’t have to be costly or complex.

Indeed, with Thirst, it couldn’t be simpler! Thirst is packed full of innovative features designed to truly engage your workforce including relevant, personalised content based on each learner’s skills and interests, a strong focus on community and social learning with commenting, liking and sharing, and accessible from any web-enabled device so learners can learn as, when and wherever they choose.

That’s not all. Everyone gets two whole weeks to try Thirst for free with access to all features and unlimited users, and when it’s time to upgrade (which we’re sure you’ll be falling over yourself to do) Thirst is so affordable and you’ll know exactly what you’ll be paying with our transparent pricing.

Explore our website to find out more, and if you’d like any further information, or a demo, drop us a message via the chat button.

The learning platform you and your employees will want to use – that’s Thirst!

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