Add something else to the list of what’s changed in the working world over the past year: Employees now consider opportunities to learn and grow as the top driver of a great work culture.

According to Glint’s latest Employee Well-Being Report, employees’ feelings on what constitutes a positive work culture have shifted—owing largely to the pandemic.

Opportunities to learn and grow jumped eight spots to become the top driver of work culture by the end of 2020. Belonging is now the second most-important driver, surging four spots. And organizational values—the extent to which employees believe their organization lives its values—moved up five spots to become the third most-important culture driver.

“Why did the drivers of a great work culture change so drastically in 2020? Because the way we work changed drastically in 2020,” says Glint People Science Senior Consultant Alice Wastag

“In the past, work culture was shaped heavily by in-person interactions: water-cooler chats, shared meals, team retreats, and the like,” Alice says. “So when the pandemic not only stripped away physical interaction but also threatened our safety, the less tangible drivers of work culture—growth opportunities, belonging, and values—became much more important to employees.”    

Remote work can foster inclusion and psychological safety

The latest Employee Well-Being Report also revealed that organizations investing more heavily in remote work appear to be creating more inclusive and psychologically safe work experiences.

Compared to their peers at other organizations, employees at remote work-friendly organizations were: 

  • 14% more likely to agree they feel safe to speak their minds 
  • 9% more likely to report that their leaders value different perspectives 

“Virtual work creates many circumstances that, when done well, can actually bolster employees’ feelings of inclusivity,” Glint Head of People Science Strategic Development Amy Lavoie says. As examples, she points to remote work’s potential to: 

  • provide flexibility to people with caregiving responsibilities; 
  • bypass location bias; and
  • reduce the amount of time and energy required to conform to biased “professionalism” standards. 

“In many ways, remote work has also equalized opportunities for employees to be heard and seen,” Amy says. “As organizations reexamine how to foster diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the new world of work, early signs indicate they’d do well to build on virtual work and expand habits, programs, and tools that help people bring their authentic selves to work.”

Click on the image below to read the full report. 

Learn more about Glint’s People Success Platform.