Recently, ADP Research Institute surveyed over 5,000 workers in 13 countries to find out what makes employees stay with a company and what makes them leave. The results indicate a serious disconnect between employee values and those of their employers. Although most employees take pride in their work, the impersonal, one-size-fits-all management strategies of many companies are a barrier to attracting and keeping talent, ADP found.
The underlying difference in attitude is summed up in the title of ADP’s report, Evolution of Work 2.0, the Me Vs We Mindset. Employees take a micro view of their work environment, the report concludes, while employers focus on long-range goals. Thus, employers often pay little attention the day-to-day issues that fuel workers’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction on the job.
Many Employees Open to Change
The report highlights a gap between employer and employee perceptions about job security and company loyalty. Of those responding, 56 percent of employees said they felt “there is no such thing as job security” and many said they were actively looking for work. What’s more, 42 percent of those who were not actively looking said they were open to changing jobs. By contrast, employers thought that only 21 percent of their employees felt this way.
At the same time, employers also said they were always looking for new talent, an attitude that may play a role in workers’ lack of trust.
Meaning and Connection Are Important
In all 13 countries, the vast majority of employees said they want to play a meaningful role in the company. Yet many reported feeling undervalued and alienated from those in management roles. Employees “want personal direct connection, [while] employers want to see the ROI, measure performance and have predictable career progression through stable hierarchies,” the report says. “Employees, though, are skeptical about whether these processes are meaningful and fair. In fact, these efforts may come across to employees as more generic and perfunctory than personal and meaningful,” it concludes.
Employees also gave employers poor marks in the area of talent management. In the United States, only about one-third of employees rated their companies highly on measures such as “career performance, compensation or learning management, onboarding and succession planning and recruitment strategies.” They gave their employers the highest marks in the areas of training and orientation. Yet even these numbers were startlingly low at 38 and 39 percent respectively.
Why Employees Stay or Leave
Oddly enough, employees stay on the job for different reasons than they choose to leave. According to the ADP data, employees stay at their jobs largely because of the day-to-day work environment, interactions with peers and because they enjoy their work. Work hours, flexibility, and the opportunity for advancement were also key factors in choosing a job.
By contrast, employees tend to leave their jobs because they feel no connection to their direct supervisors or because the corporate culture is too impersonal. In fact, 46 percent of respondents said they would leave their jobs for a lower paying one if other factors, such as work hours, flexibility and company culture, were a better fit.
Take Home Message for Employers
In highly competitive job markets, employers need to implement creative strategies to attract and keep the best talent. What the ADP report points out that is many companies are missing the mark, relying on outdated thinking that leaves talented employees always in search of something new. A better approach, the report suggests, is to recognize the importance of human connection in creating a motivated, satisfied and stable workforce.
“Perhaps it’s time to change the familiar refrain: ‘It’s business, not personal’ and challenge corporate leadership to make business personal,” the report concludes. “It may not initially resonate with everyone. But it’s a first step in shifting the collective corporate consciousness towards more contentedness.”
What can you do to create meaningful connections with your employees? We’ll talk about that next week.
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