Friday, June 27, 2008

Talent Management: Satisfied Employees Innovate More Effectively

Talent Management is becoming harder and harder. CEO's world wide rank their top three business priorities consistently as Talent Management, Innovation, and Profitable Revenue Growth.

Positively influencing staff is one way to develop an environment and culture where people want to do their best and want to stay. This is critical to developing innovation capacity and depth of knowledge in the organization to continually experiment and evolve new ideas into new or current markets.

Success comes through people. If you understand what motivates people, you have at your command the most powerful tool for dealing with them to get them achieve extraordinary results. When companies are effective in satisfying their employees, employees stay longer, make a deeper commitment to the business, recommend ways to improve the company's products and services, and work harder to satisfy the customer.

In almost every survey of factors that motivate employees in the workplace, job satisfaction is at or near the top of the list, far surpassing pay and benefits. Creating a work environment that encourages rapid response to customers' needs and attentive follow-through is the key to leveraging the power of your service-profit chain. This is only possible when people are empowered to make decisions and are motivated to solve problems. Encourage employees to go beyond the literal boundaries of their jobs – to make suggestions for improvement – and you will gain not just a part, but the full potential of their contributions to the business.

The recent Randstad's 2008 World of Work survey, focused on the changes in the workplace as a result of the recession, specifically how the lackluster economy is impacting employers' and employer' expectations and demands. Likewise, it discusses the role of "employership" as a recession-proof practice that employers should incorporate into the work environment. The balance of this blog discusses this research report findings. Getting into the psyche of our employees is important in order to build a strong innovation culture. Two of the major failures in innovation is lack of leadership, and having an effective culture. Culture is all about people -their beahviors, values, norms, rituals, and the stories they share. When employees are satified, customer satisfaction increases, as does innovation capacity.

The Key findings:

- More employees say now is a good time to take on more work; fewer think it is a good time to look for a job that pays more;
- Employees’ job satisfaction is at its highest it four years;
-Fewer employees report flexible work hours, more paid time off and opportunity for advancement as important to keeping them happy on the job;
- Employees expect their companies to provide for basic needs such as health insurance; and
- Employees feel they deserve a share in company success, including bonuses based on company profits

An electronic copy of the survey report

Current Employee Outlook in North America

Fears of a recession have North Americans nervous about job security, and they are quickly understanding that compromise is a must in this lackluster economy, according to Randstad's ninth annual 2008 World of Worksurvey.

As once-plentiful job opportunities become scarcer, workplace expectations and demands are shifting and employee power is transferring back to the employer. Despite this, employee satisfaction is on the rise with the highest levels reported since 2004.

For the past five years, Randstad has tracked a trend of increasingly confident employees – switching jobs, taking risks and demanding benefits. These employees were emboldened by what seemed to be a strong economy in which jobs were plentiful and the right people were not. Today, employees are re-evaluating their own on-the-job performance and what is reasonable to expect from employers. Randstad’s survey suggests that, as the economy softens and good jobs are harder to find and keep, employees’ expectations are lowering and they are more appreciative of their current jobs.

As a result, employers are finding it easier to ensure employees’ happiness with less effort and investment than in recent years. Yet, Randstad cautions that securing a good balance is critical to long-term business success and suggests that now is the time for employers to incorporate the ongoing practice of “employership” into their work environments. Despite tightening budgetary constraints in the workplace, businesses should continue to invest in and focus on building professional relationships with their employees, developing employees’ skills, and recognizing the value that each individual brings to the organization -- just a few of many characteristics that create an atmosphere of employership.

“Even in a downshifting economy, it’s important for companies to stay focused on ‘employership’ and continue building highly-rewarding and productive relationships with employees who can make a positive difference in a company’s long-term success,” said Eric Buntin, managing director, marketing and operations for Randstad USA.

“Employership is recession-proof and employers must continuously encourage their employees to provide input on key business issues, think innovatively, and leverage their strengths to help create an organization where employees want to work and achieve company goals.”

Job satisfaction is on the rise

Feeling the pressure of a less secure job market, employees today want to guarantee that they are recession-proof at work. Since last year, more employees surveyed say now is a good time to take on more work, fewer think it is a good time to look for a job that pays more, and less are asking for help to lighten their own load at work. While employees are feeling the pressure of a less secure job market and added leverage is shifting back to employers, the Randstad survey tracked that employees’ job satisfaction is at its highest it four years.

Four major aspects of employee satisfaction have risen sharply in the past four years:

- Number of hours worked
- Opportunities to learn new things
- Amount of work expected to handle
- Level of compensation

Employees lower expectations, yet demand basics

Maintaining employees’ satisfaction may be easier for employers in the current economic climate as employees are expecting less from their companies. Fewer employees report flexible work hours, more paid time off and opportunity for advancement as important to keeping them happy on the job.

However, even in an economic downturn, employees expect their companies to provide for basic needs and feel they deserve a share in company success. While competitive pay continues to be important in keeping employees happy, it has dropped in importance from last year’s survey, indicating that employees understand that compromise may be unavoidable. Health insurance, the most critical, remains important, showing that even with economic pressures employees expect and require basic needs. Bonuses based on company profits have not eroded in importance, indicating that employees feel that if the company succeeds, they deserve to share in that success.

Employees Say What is Important to Happiness on the Job

- Competitive Pay
- Health Insurance
- Flexible Work Hours
- Bonuses Based on Profits
- Increased paid time off
- Opportunity for advancement

In today’s uncertain workplace, cultural and soft benefits are not as important as economic well-being begins to overshadow emotional well-being. Employees and employers alike view all 15 soft benefits noted in the survey as less important than in 2006, including such intangible benefits as:

15 Soft Benefits that Employees and Employers Say are Less Important Now Than in 2006

- feeling valued
- recognition & appreciation
- supportive environment
- leadership I can relate to
- being part of a team capable workforce
- lack of stress
- shared vision
- personal growth
- empowerment collective commitment to objectives
- sharp individual accountabilities
- fitting into culture
- platforms for collaboration
- rigorous performance management

Expectations vary among generations

Some of the steepest declines in employee expectations of benefits and job security have occurred in Gen X and Gen Y, the two youngest generations whose expectations are traditionally highest. In particular, competitive pay has declined among Gen X (70%, down 9 points) and Gen Y (71%, down 15 points) in the past two years, indicating that it is no longer as important to keeping them happy in their current jobs.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States on behalf of Randstad USA between December 14, 2007 and January 16, 2008 among 3,494 U.S. adults (age 18 and older), among whom 1,295 were employers and 2,199 were employees. The sample for employees consisted of U.S. residents who are currently employed full-time or self-employed in a company with at least five employees.

The employer sample consisted of U.S. business professionals who make or strongly influence strategic Human Resources decisions and have been doing so for at least six months. The employee universe is segmented into three categories: small (5-49 employees), medium (50-499) and large (500 or more) companies/organizations; and four generational categories born between the respective years: Gen Y (1980-1988), Gen X (1965-1979), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Matures (1900-1945).

The data from this survey was weighted to “match the characteristics of” and to remove potential biases so that the data is “projectable to the population of interest.” Propensity Score weighting, a proprietary weighting technique, was used to adjust for differences between the online population and the offline population to ensure that the data is representative of the general populations in question.

Concluding Comments

As corporations strive to boost earnings in an increasingly competitive environment, they inevitably turn their attention to the issue of employee productivity. When employees are unsatisfied with their current work situation, productivity decreases, tension builds in the workplace, and morale becomes very low.

Companies have known historically that morale affects productivity, yet management has struggled to come to terms with the factors that can create positive morale and an environment that attracts and retains workers and encourages them to produce. Many programs focused on enriching jobs and supporting self-directed work teams have proven to be effective.

General Electric has applied these concepts to its workplace and, subsequently, has become one of the most successful and most competitive companies in the United States.”

RHR has also found that employees are most likely to stay put when they are both satisfied with their jobs and also committed to the organization. The question then becomes: What constitutes job satisfaction and how can one gauge organizational commitment?

Job satisfaction consists of three core dimensions: meaningfulness of the work, felt responsibility, and knowledge of the results of work efforts. These components are enhanced through attention to five areas: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback.

Work is motivating when the employee perceives the enhancement of these job characteristics.

In summary, organizations that want to transform their business organizations and grow their talent to enable stronger innovation capacity will need to ensure they know how their employees are feeling about their work environments. Typically the attributes to watch closely for employee satisfaction in relationship to innovation capacity are:

- Collaboration and Team Work Skills
- Risk Taking
- Supportive Work Environment
- Knowledge Management
- Openness and Transparency
- Reward and Recognition
- Diversity
- Creativity and Experimentation

If you have any questions on this post, welcome a continued dialogue.

1 comment:

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