A Good Job Isn’t Just About Flexibility

A Good Job Isn’t Just About Flexibility

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Just down the hall from my desk sits HBR’s ping-pong table. It’s a reminder of that era—not long ago, really—when employees clamored for fun office amenities, so companies delivered them.

Today workers are demanding something else: flexibility. Like many organizations, ours is still figuring out what it means to be a hybrid workplace, how best to use our offices, and how to integrate our growing ranks of all-remote employees with those of us who still go into our Boston headquarters. Sometimes the conversations around flexibility can get emotional: People have strong feelings about how, when, and where they do their best work.

In this issue Mark Mortensen and Amy Edmondson caution companies against getting too focused on what employees want right now. “Temptingly simple as this response is, it can be a trap,” they write in their article “ Rethink Your Employee Value Proposition.” “It tends to focus discussions on the material aspects of jobs that are uppermost in employees’ and recruits’ minds at the moment.

Instead, they urge leaders to adopt a longer-term, holistic view of the company’s offerings—one in which material aspects (including compensation, benefits, and flexibility) are just one ingredient. Other key elements include opportunities to grow and develop, community and connection, and meaning and purpose—topics we’re covering frequently as companies put more energy into understanding how to recruit and retain great people.

As employees continue rethinking what they want from their professional lives, the question of how companies can best meet their needs won’t go away. I hope you keep turning to HBR for help figuring out the answer.

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