The rights and wrongs of leadership have been contested for millennia. Ancient Greeks debated, Romans fought, and every culture since has taken its own approach to leadership (just ask Machiavelli!). Recently, however, leadership has taken a turn towards creating a supportive company culture that welcomes a diversity of working styles and routines, such as remote or hybrid work, freelance positions, and flexible hours.
Valuing employee well-being and promoting personal and professional development are other leadership trends which, while separate, also seem to fall under the umbrella of creating a more supportive company culture. We will look at all of these trends, their underlying motives, and their remarkable impacts on the modern workplace and workforce.
Why are these trends important?
These trends in leadership are important for several reasons, one of which is the impact they have on employee well-being and happiness. By building a supportive environment for employees, organizations can improve employee mental health.
According to a study by the Gallup organization, employees who feel valued and respected by their employer are 2.5 times more likely to be engaged in their work. To add to that, when employees feel supported in their growth and development, they are more likely to reach their full professional potential and experience improved mental and physical health. You could argue that simply by being respected, they become greater contributors as a result. This is because these benefits not only improve employee satisfaction but also lead to improved performance and productivity for the organization as a whole.
In 2023, it is crucial for leaders to prioritize employee well-being, and both personal and professional development in order to create a more positive and productive work environment. Failing to do so can have drastic consequences for the future trajectory of the business.
What sets these trends apart from what we’ve seen before?
These trends in leadership are different from previous trends in the workplace in that they place a greater emphasis on the well-being and development of individual employees. In the past, the management team or C-level directors took the route of prioritizing organizational goals and objectives over the well-being of individual employees. Many would now consider this a big red flag.
Fortunately, we now recognise that happy and fulfilled employees are essential for achieving organizational success (it’s hard to believe this was overlooked for so long). By building a supportive culture, we can create a more positive and inclusive environment that allows employees to feel valued and respected, to work in a way that suits them best, and to promote better work-life balance. As managers and leaders, this is exactly what we should want to see and achieve for our organizations. Sometimes, a group of employees laughing and smiling tells you more than any data set, sales stats, or internal survey can.
By valuing employee well-being and promoting personal and professional development, we can also support employees in their growth and help them reach their full potential. This shift in focus is a recognition that organizations are made up of individuals and that by investing in the well-being and development of those individuals, we can achieve better results in the long run. In the past, some organizations have shied away from this kind of development as they fear losing their best talent if they encourage them to reach their potential. Now, they are more willing to take the risk, understanding that if they place their time and faith into someone, it’s more likely to be reciprocal and benefit the business.
Why are we seeing this now?
We are seeing these trends in leadership now because of a number of key societal factors, one of which was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the way we work. It’s hard to suggest that any other event has impacted work as strongly as the pandemic since the introduction of the personal computer.
The pandemic forced many organizations to shift to remote work, which promoted the importance of work-life balance and employee well-being. As a result, employees have been given the opportunity to prioritize their mental and physical health by re-jigging their work-life balance. This has led to greater awareness and recognition of the value of employees, and a desire for more supportive and inclusive work environments. Employee power is higher than ever.
Now, with the shift to remote working and changing attitudes to work, employers need to rethink their hiring benefits, while professionals must think hard about what they truly want to get out of their jobs. Employees have been recognising their true worth and are demanding more from their employers. They are looking for more than just a paycheck, they are looking for a sense of purpose and fulfillment from their work. If any potential employee sees that their wants and needs are aligned with the company, everyone wins.
Leaders are recognising the massive importance of promoting personal and professional development, valuing employee well-being, and creating a culture of support and an environment that prioritizes people. With this, they are able to attract and retain top talent, helping their organizations to flourish.
Why improved employee well-being is a good thing in its own right
We’re keen to reinforce the point that improving employee well-being is more than worthwhile, and still would be even if it didn’t result in productivity increases. This because it has a positive impact on the overall well-being of employees, making them feel valued, respected, and supported in their personal and professional growth.
When your staff are more satisfied with their job and engaged in their work, there are significant mental and physical health benefits which can positively impact their overall quality of life. A healthy workforce is a happy workforce; there is more to running a business than simply driving productivity improvements.
Organizations are beginning to realize that they have a considerable responsibility to take care of their workers. In turn, this can lead to reduced labor turnover rates and therefore reduced recruitment costs. Employee morale and motivation can also improve, so consider that while improving the well-being of one employee might not realize productivity improvements for them in particular, their improved teamwork and collaboration performance could yield impressive results from those around them.
How do employees respond to prioritization of their well-being?
It’s well-known that when employees feel that their well-being, personal beliefs, and professional development are all prioritized, they tend to have a positive attitude toward changes in the organization. Resistance to change is a huge hindrance to employers, so overcoming that and having employees who feel valued and respected will see more engagement and commitment within the organization.
While 86% of people surveyed about workplace mental health believe more flexibility in their working hours would result in improved mental health, only 67% said they had that flexibility. Allowing employees to have a flexible working style and routines can lead to better work-life balance and reduced stress and burnout. Employees who have a good work-life balance tend to have a more positive attitude towards their job, more loyalty to the company, and greater drive and purpose. Combining these factors results in improved employee retention.
What are the indirect outcomes?
Beyond reduced turnover rates, improved employee morale, and greater motivation to contribute, some indirect outcomes include:
Improved organizational reputation
Compliance with legal obligations
Easier to attract top talent
Improved customer loyalty
Reduced recruitment costs
How can you take advantage of these trends?
There’s no better time to engage with these trends than right now. To help your organization build a supportive company culture, contact us for a free consultation today.
Verdict: Why today’s leadership trends really matter
There is a clear and exciting trend towards prioritization of employee well-being and support for personal and professional development. This is completely crucial for the development of the modern workplace, which is often now remote.
The trends explored in this article not only benefit employees by increasing their job satisfaction, reducing stress and burnout, and promoting personal and professional growth, but they also stand to benefit organizations by improving employee retention, reducing recruitment costs, and improving organizational performance.
Today’s leadership trends really matter because all of the signs suggest that organizations that genuinely prioritize employee well-being and development are creating a positive work culture that, in turn, can lead to long-term success and growth for both employees and their employers. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.