How are employees feeling amid the pandemic? Through a series of LinkedIn polls, we set out to find some answers.

As it turns out, there are a lot of changes happening in the workforce, particularly when it comes to the demands of employees. With unemployment numbers shrinking, employees are in the driver’s seat in this hiring market. So what keeps employees in their jobs, and what lures them away?

Culture club or clash                                 

What matters most to employees aside from money? Findings from our report revealed that 38 percent of employees said company culture is most important to them in a job. That’s almost twice as important as the next factor: their direct manager. As recruiters, we’ve found that the pandemic has made job seekers more mindful than ever about company culture. Candidates want to work for employers with missions and visions that align with their personal values. And with remote work challenging how company culture is reinforced and experienced, employers must increase their efforts to communicate and connect teams to a shared purpose and vision.

Security during uncertainty

Thirty percent of employees said having a clear career path at their company gave them a sense of job security at work. But 17 percent said there are no specific indicators that make them feel secure. In a time of upheaval (like say, a global health pandemic), employees look for signals from their employer that their job is safe. Managers who are apprehensive about losing top people in a hot hiring market must amplify communications about job security. This is no time for employers to be evasive about workplace plans, corporate growth strategies, and career opportunities, or to be slow or stingy with raises and promotions

Hand over the remote control

More than half of workers believe that the employee should control where and when they work. The pandemic has proven that most white-collar work can be performed from home — and usually in less time (with in-office distractions and productivity pitfalls removed). Most of today’s job candidates are interested in employers that offer some level of remote work. And they increasingly want autonomy over their work hours, too.

Managers make a difference

More than half of employees (57 percent) said that their manager influences their decision to stay in their job. Managers have an important impact on employee retention, as each team leader creates a microculture that either bonds the employee to the company or pushes them away. Companies should invest in management training to reinforce positive leadership and set managers up as the frontline of defense when it comes to top performer retention.

Pandemic or not, employees want to feel in control of their careers. They want ownership over their responsibilities so that they feel valued and seen in their roles. And perhaps most importantly, they want to work for a company that aligns with them. Sharing the same vision and purpose is a win-win for both employees and employers. When everyone is working together toward a common goal, anything is possible.