I’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion (a staffing and recruiting organization) and am participating in the release of findings from Spherion’s 2014 Emerging Workforce Study. All opinions are mine. My first in this blog series, Employee Engagement and Company Mission: What’s the Connection?, covered the first three elements of the employment life cycle: attraction, recruitment and engagement. This post covers the second set of three elements: advocacy, retention and leadership.
What impact does employee advocacy, organizational retention efforts and company leadership have on the overall employment “life cycle”? With the help of Harris Interactive, who conducted this year’s research, Spherion has tracked and reported upon these trends for over 15 years. Here’s my take on these three elements. You can view the full, detailed PDF infographic from Spherion here: Emerging Workforce Study 2014 Infographic.
No doubt about it—employees can be an excellent source of free PR for your company. But before workers become those highly desirable “brand ambassadors” companies covet, consider this: Spherion’s research discovered that a mere one-third of employees in the survey had something “very positive” to say about their company when they talk with others. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. In fact, most employees felt that their company did a far better job serving external customers than they did serving employees. Clearly, many organizations have some work to do when it comes to internal customer service.
When it comes to how to get employees to stick around, there’s an interesting gap reported between what the management team thinks employees want and what employees say they want. When asked what’s important in retaining employees, managers cite things like company culture, and the employee-supervisor relationship. Employees see it differently: they want better wages and benefits, and chances for career growth. I’m not surprised by these findings, yet, I’m also not convinced of the size of the gap.
For nearly two decades, managers have been pummeled with the Gallup’s urban legend of “people leave their managers, not their company” so it stands to reason that leaders believe that these are important issues. But, there are also more recent studies that soften, if not outright dispute the Gallup claim.
As the Emerging Workforce Study results show, people are concerned about the more tangible elements of their work life such as how much they get paid. That’s not to say that management practices and organizational culture aren’t important; they most certainly are. My take on this is that everything being equal – if pay at company “A” is market rate and the same as pay at company “B” then employees will choose the company that has what they deem the most favorable culture. So, yes, there’s a gap, but it might not be huge. Just be sure you’re paying your employees fairly. Then, in conjunction with fair pay, leadership should get to work on “what it’s like to work around here”, aka “company culture.”
Subtitled “The Clog in Succession Pipelines”, the Employment Life Cycle infographic points to the impending departure of the Baby Boomers and the potential leadership gap that may result. It’s encouraging to see that 63% of employers do have plans in place to fill the talent pipeline. The infographic asks, “Is the workforce ready for Baby Boomers to leave and Millennials to lead?” To me, that question is slightly off the mark because it leaves out an entire section of the workforce: Gen X. Entirely too much has been made about the “generations”. It’s my opinion that as long as there are leadership development plans in place (regardless of employees’ age), there will be ample leaders in place to steer the organizational ship. This is especially true as less traditional workplace configurations such as holacracy take hold.
Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers (like yours truly) for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. I was free to form my own opinions about the data supplied by Spherion and all opinions are my own. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.