A new Towers Watson research paper is shedding some light on what attracts employees to an organization (and what keeps them there after they’ve joined.) The 2012 Global Workforce Study includes responses from 32,000 employees in 29 markets around the world.
Here’s what people said attracts them to an organization and what would cause them to leave.
|1||Base pay / Salary||Base pay / Salary|
|2||Job security||Career advancement opportunities|
|3||Career advancement opportunities||Relationship with supervisor / manager|
|4||Convenient work location||Trust / confidence in senior leadership|
|5||Learning and development opportunities||Manage / limit work-related stress|
Adapted from Top Five Global Drivers of Attraction, Retention and Sustainable Engagement Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study At A Glance
The study also looks at the factors that create an engaging work environment. It’s interesting to note that Towers Watson has expanded their definition of employee engagement—which they are calling “sustainable engagement”—to include enablement (having the tools, resources and support to do their job effectively), as well as energy (which means a work environment that actively supports employees’ well-being.)
Overall, the study showed that:
- Only 35% of workers rate high in all three areas and are engaged, energized and enabled.
- 22% are classified as unsupported, meaning they display traditional engagement, but lack the enablement and/or energy required for sustainable engagement.
- 17% are detached, meaning they feel enabled and/or energized, but are not willing to go the extra mile.
- 26% are completely disengaged, with less favorable scores for all three aspects of sustainable engagement.
Wondering where to get started in addressing some of these factors in your organization?
Abhishek Mittal, a senior consultant with Towers Watson in Singapore shares some possibilities for specifically addressing the enablement aspect of sustainable engagement in a separate, but related article, Building a Sustainable Engagement Strategy.
In the article, published late last year, he describes a Towers Watson study with a large Asian bank that identified:
“The analysis of over 300 branches found that the direct manager has a large impact on ‘enabling’ employees. When we look at branches where employees are more satisfied with their managers on a range of parameters, the employees tend to feel much more well-supported or enabled to deliver in their roles. Their perceptions about work resources, tools, condition and work organisation are much stronger than other branches. In turn, branches with more “enabled” employees clearly have a higher percentage of engaged customers. And, we saw clear links between engaged customers and higher target achievement on branch-level operating profits.”
What’s worth as much as a 25% increase in your labor force, or a 65% increase in the amount of your invested capital? A one-point improvement in your company’s management practices! That’s the shocking conclusion of in-depth study conducted by researchers at McKinsey, Stanford, and the London School of Economics that looked at more than 4,000 companies in the US, Asia, and Europe. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1: Output increases associated with improved management practices. From Management Practice & Productivity—Exhibit 4.
The results are detailed in the white paper, Management Practice & Productivity: Why they matter. The research team scored companies on 18 topics in three broad areas: performance management; talent management, and shop floor operations.
Surprising disconnect in most companies
The researchers were surprised to find that even though good management practices are well known and the correlation is clear, the reality is that many firms are still poorly managed.
To examine possible causes of this disconnect, respondents were asked to assess the overall management performance of their firm on a scale of one to five. The researchers found that part of the problem was an inflated opinion of current management practices. In most cases, respondents over-estimated how they scored on the objective management measures. This situation applied in all regions and across all firms.
The researchers found this lack of self-awareness striking. It suggested that, “…the majority of firms are making no attempt to compare their own management behaviour with accepted practices or even with that of other firms in their sector. As a consequence, many organizations are probably missing out on an opportunity for significant improvement because they simply do not recognize that their own management practices are so poor.”
How would you score the management practices in your company?
Here are three well-known manager behaviors essential to good performance. Consider the degree to which these practices are used in your own company. Remember that the key is not knowing about these practices, but actually using them. How would you score your organization when it comes to actually implementing these performance management basics?
- Performance Planning: Employees have written goals that clearly identify their key responsibilities, goals, and tasks.
- Performance Coaching: Employees meet with their supervisors on at least a twice per month basis to discuss progress, identify roadblocks, and get the direction and support they need to succeed.
- Performance Evaluation: There are no surprises when it comes to annual reviews. Managers and direct reports are “in-synch” because performance against goals is being measured on a regular basis instead of once a year.
Don’t let an indifferent attitude toward implementing good management practices keep you and your organization from performing at a high level. Take action today. Good management matters!
To read the entire report, check out Management Practice & Productivity: Why they matter
Leadership development training is a smart, prudent investment that drives economic value and bottom line results. But if senior executives don’t care about development then—guess what—development will not be a priority in the company.
That’s what Scott Blanchard, principal and EVP with The Ken Blanchard Companies, found out the hard way when his company lost a critical long-term account. An ongoing contract was terminated overnight when a new senior leader removed the entire learning and development department.
In a new article for Ignite! on Making the Business Case for Developing Your People Blanchard shares how that experience drove him to explore why some organizations see and believe the tangible value of investments in training while others don’t. He also shares how it provided the impetus to build a business case that would satisfy even the most hard-nosed of executives.
Understanding employee development
Blanchard discusses how the key was showing the correlation between leadership practices and employee development. He combines research that shows how strategic and operational leadership impacts organizational vitality together with some personal experience he’s had in making presentations to senior executives. In those presentations, Blanchard asks senior leaders to consider a typical employee in their organization and the key goals or critical tasks they are asked to perform as a part of their jobs.
In most healthy growing organizations, people are highly accomplished at some aspects of their job, decent in others, disillusioned with a few aspects, and just getting started with the new tasks.
Blanchard asks the group of leaders to self assess where their own people are at with the various tasks they are responsible for. Once that’s completed, Blanchard puts together a group composite. The senior executives are surprised to see that the distribution is generally stacked up at the Disillusioned Learner or Capable, But Cautious, Performer levels. (See Figure One: Typical Task Development Levels.)
Typical Task Development Levels (Blanchard Ignite! Newsletter June 2012)
Blanchard goes on to explain that, “If you operate with 75% of your people at a Disillusioned Learner or only a Capable, But Cautious, Performer level, you are going to have very anemic financial performance and low levels of passion and engagement.
“This is exactly what we are seeing in today’s work environment. The result is an organization operating at 65 to 70% of potential. In our research into The High Cost of Doing Nothing, the impact of this untapped potential is costing the average organization over $1 million per year.”
Leverage development levels effectively
For senior leaders looking to develop their people more effectively, Blanchard has some recommendations.
- “When people start off as Enthusiastic Beginners it’s important that you grab a hold of their momentum and enthusiasm and prepare them for the inevitable Disillusioned Learner stage. It will come, so it’s important to acknowledge it, make it OK, and help people push through it.”
- “When you get to the Capable, but Cautious, Performer stage remember that you can’t stop there—that will only get you lackluster financial performance. Instead, push through to a place where employees become Self-Reliant Achievers.”
What’s the development level of the people in your organization?
The best companies invest in their employees, supervisors, and managers. They know that people are the key to bringing plans to life and creating a sustainable advantage for your organization. Take time to develop your people. It’s one of the best investments you can make!
To learn more, check out Making the Business Case for Developing Your People
A survey that The Ken Blanchard Companies conducted together with Training magazine last summer asked 800 readers their thoughts on who they felt was responsible for 12 different job, organization, and relationship factors that lead to a passionate work environment.
Respondents could assign responsibility for each factor to either the senior leaders in the organization, their immediate manager, or themselves. Surprisingly, in six out of the 12 categories, respondents identified themselves as the person most responsible for impacting that factor in their work environment.
Here’s the breakdown by factor.
Chart 1: Who in your opinion has primary responsibility for influencing and improving the following JOB factors?
Chart 2: Who in your opinion has primary responsibility for influencing and improving the following ORGANIZATIONAL factors?
Chart 3: Who in your opinion has primary responsibility for influencing and improving the following RELATIONSHIP factors?
Implications for Organizations
The good news is that employees see the creation of a passionate work environment as a partnership between themselves, their immediate managers, and their senior leaders. While some factors (Growth and Distributive Justice for senior leaders and Feedback, Performance Expectations, and Procedural Justice for immediate managers) are clearly seen as leadership’s primary responsibility, all of the other factors are seen as a joint responsibility. Senior leaders can take advantage of this partnership attitude by encouraging conversations at all levels in their organizations.
What can you do to encourage the people in your organization to begin discussing these factors and working together at ways to improve conditions in each area? Give people a chance to share what they know about improving their work environment and the environment of others. Tap into that knowledge and experience. You’ll be surprised at the small things you can do that will make a big difference.
To learn more about the survey and to access the complete results, be sure to check out Employee Work Passion Volume 4: What’s important in creating a motivating work environment and whose job is it?
Gallup’s latest report on The State of the Global Workplace 2011 identifies the levels of engagement and subsequent wellbeing of workers from over 120 countries. It’s another great report from a pioneer in the field of employee engagement. Overall the report shows that only 11% of workers are engaged, with 62% identified as disengaged, and 27% identified as actively disengaged.
One item buried deep in the report was something that I hadn’t seen Gallup talk much about in the past. In a section looking at implications for leaders, the report identified the two factors among the twelve that Gallup measures that are consistently among the lowest rated worldwide. Can you guess what they are?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s something you can do personally and it won’t cost you a thing.
The two lowest rated items are, “In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work” and “In the past six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.”
In looking at why this might be occurring, Gallup researchers identified three possible causes
- Larger spans of control might be making it more difficult to give the kind of individualized attention required to ensure these needs are met.
- When it comes to jobs with a high degree of routine, feedback and recognition may be overlooked because managers do not differentiate individual contributions.
- It might just be that we are “…better wired to receive praise than to give it. We feel our own hunger more than we empathize with others around us.”
How are you doing with the praise and recognition of your people? If you are a little rusty, here are three tips for getting started.
- Make it timely. Praisings are most effective when they are delivered as close to real time as powerful. Don’t “save up” your praisings for a specified time. Praise in the moment!
- Give specific examples. A general comment like, “You’re really doing good work,” is nice, but a praising that identifies a specific action is better.
- Repeat often. You really can’t overdo it—as long as you are specific and sincere in your praising.
For over 30 years, Ken Blanchard has asked audiences worldwide, “How many of you get too much praise at work?” No one ever raises their hand. We all have a deep-seated need to be recognized and appreciated. Everyone enjoys a pat on the back. Don’t be stingy with your praise. Catch someone doing things right this week. Guess what? You’ll feel better too!
A new white paper from The Ken Blanchard Companies shows that poor leadership is costing the average company an amount equal to 7% of their annual revenue. That’s over a million dollars a year for any organization with $15 million dollars or more in annual sales.
The three big culprits?
- Employee turnover. Poor leadership is responsible for up to 30% of the reasons why people leave their organizations according to exit interviews conducted by The Saratoga Institute.
- Customer turnover. Poor leadership negatively impacts employee satisfaction, which in turn negatively impacts customer satisfaction and retention. Research published in Harvard Business Review calculated that every 5 point change in employee satisfaction scores caused a 1.3 point change in customer satisfaction scores.
- Employee productivity. Poor leadership leads to poor employee productivity. Research from Blanchard shows that direct report productivity can be improved 5-12% through better management practices.
Most senior executives instinctively know that leadership impacts the bottom line, but quantifying that impact has been a challenge in the past. This new white paper (and the free online calculator that the information is drawn from) is a great way for leaders to put some facts behind their suspicions.
You can download a copy of this new white paper, Making the Business Case for Leadership Development: The 7% Differential here. If you are interested in calculating what poor leadership practices might be costing your organization, also check out Blanchard’s free online Cost of Doing Nothing Calculator. This is the same free online calculator used by survey respondents in the white paper.