The vast majority of employees today need some type of workplace flexibility, and new research confirms how just important flex is when it comes to talent acquisition: Inflexibility is a dealbreaker for more than half of all job seekers. And that news should come as a call-to-action for employers.

In Alight's 2018 Workforce Mindset Study—a survey of 2,501 employees representing a cross-section of the U.S. workforce—51 percent of respondents, including 59 percent of high performers, said that they would not even consider a job with less flexibility than what they have today.

Meanwhile, those who said they would consider a less flexible job reported it would take an average pay increase of 31 percent to compensate for the relative inflexibility. Consider that more proof that you don't need to provide raises to improve employee retention. And with these stats in mind, it shouldn't be a surprise that work-life balance ranked as the top characteristic of the desired employee experience.

By implementing a flexibility program based on employee needs, you can also change the way your company is perceived by current and prospective employees, increasing levels of trust and respect. As we've previously discussed, recent research has shown that flex is one of the best ways employers can show empathy, and empathetic companies tend to be better performers. Plus, employers who offer flex are showing their employees they believe in them to be productive wherever and whenever they work.

"When you work with people to customize their work-life fit, you aren't imposing anything on them," Talent Culture CEO Meghan M. Biro writes for Forbes. "You're treating them with respect and trust. Which will be returned."

Reporting on Alight's study, The Motley Fool's Daniel B. Kline observes that employers—especially those who oversee the 30 percent of respondents who said their employee experience is "below expectations"—would be well-advised to heed these statistics:

"Workers have more leverage today than they have had traditionally, thanks in part to the tight labor market. That means it's important for employers to understand what employees want their workplace experience to be like."

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