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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

‘Me’ Versus ‘We’ in the Workplace

By Ahu Yildirmaz, Vice President, Co-Head of the ADP Research Institute

Nearly two-thirds of employees are actively looking for a new job, or open to a new one. Let that sink in for a moment.

T his might not come as a shock for employees, but for managers and executives, the story is different. With wages on the rise, employees are realizing that they hold much more power than in the past to seek out and negotiate for their dream job. In fact, job switching is at an all-time high. ADP’s Workforce Vitality Report found that 27 percent of U.S. workers are changing jobs on an annual basis.
These statistics, at the very least, should give employers pause because they often underestimate how much of their workforce is looking for new opportunities. According to new ADP research, 46 percent of employees are passively looking for new jobs, but on average, employers think only 23 percent of their workforce is passively looking. With unemployment so low, keeping employees engaged is critical. The cost of frequent turnover can also be financially draining.

The ADP Research Institute recently released two major pieces of research that examined these workforce trends, Evolution of Work 2.0 and Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect. The big takeaway from these reports is that employees are looking for engagement, meaning, and opportunity for advancement in their jobs. Meanwhile, employers are focusing on the bigger picture, which includes brand reputation, long-term performance and their bottom line. We call this employee-employer friction "the ‘me’-versus-‘we’ mindset."

This disconnect is not sustainable if employers want a productive, engaged workforce. Today, employees are calling the shots, and if they are not engaged at work, the data shows they are likely to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Here are a few insights on how employers can minimize the ‘me’-versus-‘we’ mentality and better engage their employees.

Demonstrate Opportunity for Advancement

Growth and career development matter to employees. But, the Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect report found that only 15 percent of employees say they have been given defined development goals for their positions. Less than half (42 percent) of employees say they receive recognition for good work and, similarly, just 44 percent of employees feel their managers support their career development. The good news for employers is that many employees still say they would like to find that opportunity for advancement within their own company. Better training is a way for employers to demonstrate that they want to invest in their employees’ futures. Companies should seek to align their training practices with employees’ growth goals, which could have a broader talent management impact.

Make the Work Meaningful

According to the Evolution of Work 2.0 report, 46 percent of employees globally would consider another job opportunity even if it paid the same or slightly less than their current position, proving salary isn’t everything when it comes to employee retention. What matters is the work. The Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect report shows that enjoying the work they do is the most important factor—outside of compensation, for employees to stay at a job. Companies need to ensure that employees are able to do the jobs they were hired to do and that they aren't bogged down by menial tasks. Providing tools and technologies that handle smaller tasks and create efficiencies is one way to help the workforce get back to doing meaningful work.

Build a Better Manager

Our research has shown that poor relationships with direct managers are the top reason that employees choose to leave a company. Does this mean there are just a whole lot of bad managers out there? Probably not. More likely, it means that managers may not have the training they need to support and encourage the employees that report to them. Training managers to better communicate and engage with their employees is one of the most important investments a company can make and ultimately leads to better engagement and retention.

These insights all come back to one important truth: employee engagement is paramount to business success. Employees want to be fulfilled in their work, and as our research has shown, money isn’t everything. If your company is struggling with engagement, changing course doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. Simple shifts in attitude and management style could be the secret to keeping talent in the door.

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