By Claudine Kapel
A new survey paints a grim picture of how employees feel about their work and futures – highlighting that some employers could be facing talent challenges if they’re not in touch with what staff really value.
The survey, conducted by Kelly Services, found many Canadian employees have become disengaged from their work, with less than half feeling valued by their employers.
Only 41 per cent of the Canadian respondents said their current employment provides them with a sense of meaning. Similarly, only 47 per cent said they are happy in their jobs.
In addition, more than one-quarter of the Canadian survey respondents said they frequently think about quitting and more than two-thirds said they definitely intend to look for a new job with another employer within the next year.
“Employees across the globe have experienced unprecedented economic turmoil, and they are restless,” Kelly Services observes in its report.
“Many are unhappy in their jobs and are actively looking for new opportunities... The new norm has employees keeping one eye open for the next opportunity. Unless employers can offer meaningful work and ongoing opportunities for growth, many feel it is in their best interest to keep their careers in a perpetual state of motion.”
The survey findings suggest that delivering “meaningful” work is essential to attract and retain talent in these turbulent times. But what exactly does that look like?
The survey results, which reflect the perspectives of almost 170,000 respondents in 30 countries, offer some interesting insights in this regard.
The global results indicate the extent to which work that is meaningful is shaped by five key considerations:
- Ability to excel/develop (74 per cent).
- Connection with co-workers (41 per cent).
- Alignment to personal values (41 per cent).
- Connection to corporate strategy (31 per cent).
- Community involvement (28 per cent).
In short, the survey results suggest employees place a high value on opportunities for growth and connection. If your organization seeks to maintain or strengthen its ability to attract and retain talent, it may be helpful to consider these findings within the context of a total rewards strategy.
How much emphasis does your organization place on employee development? How much is being invested in training and development? Have investment levels been increasing or decreasing in recent years?
And beyond the actual dollars invested in training, what else does the organization do to ensure employee development needs and career aspirations are addressed? Consider the extent to which there are formal or informal processes in place to encourage dialogue and planning to address employee learning and growth.
Similarly, how much emphasis does your organization place on building points of connection? How does the organization approach employee communications? Are leaders visible? Do employees understand the business strategy and how they contribute to its achievement? Is community involvement encouraged and supported?
Meaningful work is a multi-faceted concept that can be challenging to define and quantify. It is, in truth, far easier to measure whether compensation is market competitive than to measure whether people find meaning in their work.
But organizations that take steps to really understand what employees want and value can create a vibrant workplace dynamic that can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Claudine Kapel is principal of Kapel and Associates Inc., a Toronto-based human resources and communications consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of compensation and total rewards programs. For more information, visit www.kapelandassociates.com.