Belonging or bean bags: what are VCSE workers looking for in their jobs?

Image Credit: 
Ketut Subiyanto
6 October, 2021

As employers open up offices again in line with pandemic restrictions easing, some organisations are feeling the need to offer incentives to returning workers. Having provided free snacks, pool tables, table football and cool, casual workspaces in the past, free ice cream and cash bonuses are now offer from the likes of Goldman Sachs and PWC. But big businesses are also recognising that some of the things that staff in the VCSE sector value most are gaining currency with a broader range of the workforce after the pandemic.

Multiple studies have shown, for example, that COVID and its lockdowns has given rise to employees having a major rethink about their relationship with work and workplaces. Flexibility has become a much more of a priority in the last couple of years. A survey of 10,000 ‘knowledge workers’ worldwide about what mattered to them most in a job showed that ‘flexibility is very important to people … in terms of a benefit and a perk, after compensation it’s the second-most important thing in our results.’ Greater recognition of “individualised needs,” for example has also proved ‘beneficial to previously disadvantaged groups in the workplace, like working mothers and caregivers.’

The pandemic has also highlighted that people want to work for organisations that has values and purpose itself – and trusts and listens to them and values the work they do. The Institute for Employment Studies points out that young people in particular “really value” contemporary issues like climate change and racial equality, and want to be seen to work for organisations that actively support these causes. People here in Bristol along with many other workers across the world, are now looking for workplaces that accommodate their changing, individualised needs and fosters a genuine sense of belonging. So unless a pool table and bean bags really are what people want, the VCSE might start to look like a more attractive career path. 

For help with Being a Good Employer in your organisation, this VCSE Academy course next year is a good place to start.