Big bonuses and quirky benefits may help boost office morale, but roles offering real work-life balance are most conducive to job satisfaction, according to LinkedIn.
In a study released Wednesday, the professional networking site said 69% of HR professionals agree that work-life balance is the number one factor impacting the employee experience at work.
LinkedIn's "Global Talent Trends" report, produced in collaboration with employee engagement platform Glint, surveyed over 7,000 talent professionals and hiring managers in 35 countries in August and September to gauge their attitudes toward the new decade's employment trends.
The study found that the ability of employers to strike the right balance between staff's professional and personal lives ranked ahead of all other workplace motivators, including competitive compensation and benefits (67%), colleagues and culture (47%), and open and effective management (36%).
However, almost 37% of hiring managers admit their companies are falling behind when it comes to fostering the right environment.
That presents a huge opportunity for employees to have a greater say in shaping the culture of their companies, according to LinkedIn's vice president of talent solutions, Mark Lobosco.
"In the past, companies made the rules and employees followed them, but now the power has shifted to the employee," Lobosco told CNBC Make It.
"We're seeing that companies are starting to put themselves in employees' shoes and are working for them, not just the other way around."
That shift is due in part to social factors, such as the #MeToo movement, which have helped drive the debate on workplace culture. But economic factors, of course, have a role, too. According to LinkedIn's report, many employers are displaying an increasing tendency to hire internally — up 10% on 2015 levels — as they seek to retain talent amid a tight labor market.
And while it may seem daunting to speak out against the status quo, Lobosco encouraged employees to simply start by taking small steps.
"Employees that get the habit of having frequent conversations is ultimately what helps create a culture of open, honest dialogue that sets the stage for driving continuous improvement across their workplace," he said.
Those looking to shift the needle on work-life balance should be mindful of colleagues' differing interests, however.
Though balanced working hours ranked as a top workplace priority across all age groups, varying expectations on the matter were also a major source of intergenerational conflict, according to 68% of HR respondents.
"With the newest generation entering the workforce and lifespans continuing to get longer, there are more generations in the workforce now than ever before," said Lobosco.
"The multigenerational workforce will play a bigger role in this debate, as companies take into account varying expectations for work-life balance or flexible work options."
Other interests varied across age groups. HR professionals noted that older employers, specifically baby boomers, were most likely to view having a purposeful mission as a top priority. Generation X was most likely to crave challenge in their jobs, while Gen Z was drawn to roles offering on-the-job training.
"Talent leaders today that take the time and effort to understand and empathize with these generational differences, will not only retain their employees but will positively impact their bottom line," Lobosco said.
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