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Young employees pressuring employers to ‘take a stance’ on global issues

Younger employees drive demand for open dialogue on 'uncomfortable' issues.

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62% of employees expressed a desire to have difficult conversations at work.
The report’s findings highlight the growing demand for transparency.
Women were identified as the least likely to trust their managers or co-workers.

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A recent report by the Achievers Workforce Institute sheds light on shifting workplace dynamics, indicating that younger employees are increasingly urging their employers to address “uncomfortable” topics. The report, based on a survey of 1,500 employees in North America, highlights a growing demand for open dialogue and employer engagement on societal issues.

According to the report, 62% of employees expressed a desire to have difficult conversations at work, reflecting a departure from traditional workplace norms. Additionally, half of the respondents indicated a preference for their organizations to take a public stance on global events. Notably, this sentiment was particularly pronounced among Gen Z and millennial employees, who were twice as likely as other generations to advocate for corporate involvement in world events.

Caitlin Nobes, head of Workforce Research and Content at Achievers Workforce Institute, emphasized the evolving expectations of modern employees. Nobes remarked, “Younger generations are urging their employers to make space for the uncomfortable, take a stance, and acknowledge and meet their multifaceted needs.”

However, the report also highlighted a persistent challenge: a lack of trust in workplace relationships. Despite the call for difficult conversations, a third of employees expressed discomfort in discussing such matters with their managers. Notably, women were identified as the least likely to trust their managers or co-workers, indicating deeper issues in workplace dynamics.

Women aren’t bringing their true selves to work, begging some difficult questions – do we really know the women we work with, how much are they holding back, and how much energy does that take?

Nobes underscored the significance of this finding, suggesting that it reflects the unease experienced by women in professional settings. “Women aren’t bringing their true selves to work, begging some difficult questions – do we really know the women we work with, how much are they holding back, and how much energy does that take?” Nobes questioned.

Addressing the complexities of discussing global issues at work, Hannah Yardley, chief people and culture officer at Achievers, acknowledged the challenges of navigating diverse perspectives within the workforce. However, Yardley stressed the importance of maintaining spaces for both serious discussions and lighter interactions in the workplace.

In addition, the report emphasized the crucial role of managers in facilitating tough conversations. It recommended training managers in essential skills such as communication, recognition, and coaching to foster trust and effectiveness in workplace relationships.

As workplaces continue to evolve, the report’s findings highlight the growing demand for transparency, open dialogue, and inclusivity in addressing complex societal issues within organizational settings. Employers are encouraged to adapt to these changing dynamics by fostering environments that support both meaningful discussions and employee well-being.

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