Forget the table tennis: here’s what *really* attracts top talent.

by Karen Felton

[Approx 3 min read]

As Hr and recruitment specialists, we are well placed to observe the emerging trends impacting recruitment and selection through the perspectives of our candidates and clients.

A key trend we have been observing is well known to most in a post-COVID business world – a persistent focus from applicants on the importance of workplace flexibility.

No so well documented is the impact of a positive company culture.

In talking with my Hr colleagues here at Quantum Hr, they agree that in the current talent market, providing BOTH these benefits is not merely an extra; it’s essential for attracting and retaining the best talent.

Encouragingly, they also tell me that more and more clients are recognising how crucial culture is to their business success – beginning with consistently identifying it and integrating it into the company’s people practices.

The Power of Flexibility

We saw the move to remote and hybrid arrangements rapidly take place through the COVID era and this fundamentally changed employee expectations. Many people discovered they were just as (if not more) productive working remotely or with altered arrangements.

Now candidates are increasingly seeking out roles that offer a healthy work-life balance through options like:

  • Four-day work weeks or part-time.
  • Flexible start and finish times.
  • The ability to work remotely.

A Seek survey found that 41% of candidates were looking for flexibility as a key priority. Additionally, a third of candidates claim they would be willing to take a pay cut in order to secure a role with increased flexibility.

41% of candidates look for flexibility as a key priority.

SEEK (2024)

For many, flexibility is essential not just a convenience. For people with disabilities or caring responsibilities, working from home can remove significant barriers.

In this sense, flexibility is also an inclusion strategy and opens up an even wider talent pool.

Building a Positive Workplace Culture

As we mentioned at the start of this article, let’s not forget the crucial role of workplace culture. Statistics show a clear connection to engagement and a strong culture. SEEK research shows that, of applicants:

83% have left or would leave a job due to poor culture.

61% would turn down a job with a bad reputation.


A positive and supportive culture goes beyond flexibility and free lunches. It’s about creating an environment where employees feel:

  • Trusted
  • Valued
  • Supported
  • Empowered to do their best work

Adapting can be easy.

What’s the challenge and why isn’t everyone doing it?

Planning– it takes planning to provide employees with the flexibility they crave, while still maintaining the in-person connections and the ability for a business to provide its customers with support.

However, the upside to planning this element of your business can be dramatic.

Numerous studies (just Google “Gallup engagement study”) show that businesses with highly engaged employees generally enjoy:

  • Greater profitability
  • Increased performance
  • Higher retention of staff

Four strategies that work

Here are four tips that can immediately help you towards improving culture and considering flexibility in your workplace:

  • ‘PVVM’ it: Clearly define your Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values. Besides being THE foundation for a strong culture, if you can’t name these how can you hope for your teams to do it!?
  • Support managers: Yes, they may be technically proficient or have been with you for a long time- but have you trained them in effective leadership and team support? Their job is to now manage through others and knowing this is critical to success.
  • Determine your flexibility: Explore options that suit your business, including various start and finish times, condensed work weeks or additional leave options.
  • Invest in your people: Provide opportunities for professional development and growth – many successful clients simply do this through on-the-job training.

By prioritising flexibility and beginning to cultivate a positive workplace culture, businesses can position themselves as preferred employers in a competitive talent market—a trend that is expected to persist throughout 2024.

And if it’s all still confusing?

Contact one of our team who will be happy to help you navigate these changes- simply click the link below and reach out to us now.