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“Me” vs “We”: How do you compete while 58% of your workforce may be thinking of leaving?

Posted by: on 29 November 2017 in Human Capital Management

Over half of Chinese employees are actively looking, or open to a new job. Yet, employers report a continual struggle to find the right talent for their organizations. What’s going on? While employers may have had the upper-hand in the past, a distinct shift is underway. Employees are now calling the shots with labour market tightening and wages on the rise.

In an effort to better understand what workers consider when deciding to stay at their current job or accept a new position, ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) surveyed employees and employers in 13 countries. The results, described in an ADP® paper, “Evolution of Work 2.0: The Me vs. We Mindset”, shows a disconnection between workers and their employers around important factors such as talent management, recruitment, retention and corporate performance.

Employees tend to concentrate on their day-to-day work environment, look for meaning in their job, and want advancement opportunities (the “me” mindset). Employers, on the other hand, generally focus on bigger picture areas like financial performance, reputation, and long-term career pathing (the “we” mindset).

Passive job seeking is the new normal

According to the survey, 43% of Chinese employees believe that there is no such thing as job security any longer, while 54% think that everyone should always be looking for their next job opportunity, either at their current company or somewhere else. Lack of confidence in job security makes employees almost always open to new opportunities. 58% of Chinese employees said they’re actively looking, or open to a new job. The percentage is even higher on a global level.

The rise in new recruitment technologies has likely helped here. It is easier than ever for employees to see job listings online and connect informally with recruiters, since worker profiles and areas of expertise are just a click away.

Employees feel undervalued, yet believe in themselves to succeed

In all 13 countries, more employees feel undervalued than what employers believe. In China, fewer percentage of workers feel undervalued but still more so than employers believe. This is not to say that feeling undervalued diminishes workers’ beliefs that their work has meaning. Around 60% of Chinese workers surveyed feel a sense of purpose in their jobs, and near 80% said they understand how to contribute to their companies’ success.

Employees feel undervalued and under-recognized, but still believe strongly in their own abilities to excel and be successful on the job. Given this, a first step for HR professionals to motivate workers may be to approach employees on their own terms: focusing on employees’ individual positive attributes and strengths – and how they contribute to the overall team – rather than a broad, generic measures of productivity that eliminate a personal approach to talent management.

A perfect storm of factors challenging retention

64% of Chinese workers surveyed said they feel loyal to their current jobs. However, this does not mean employees are super stable and employers are therefore carefree and can sleep tight at nights. Still, over half employees claim they will walk away from a job opportunity if their expectations are not met.

Employers tend to overestimate how often Chinese employees hear about new job opportunities within the company and also the extent to which employees believe they have a fair opportunity to advance to higher position in their current company. This is really important as “lack of career development” and “lack of personal connections” turns to be the Top 2 most important factors that would influence employees’ decision to leave a company.

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Important levers at different stages of employee journey

What’s next?

While there are barriers to overcome, employers have an opportunity to address the “me” vs. “we” disconnection.

HR professionals should look for ways to strengthen employer/employee relationships by abandoning a one size fits all approach to managing talent. While such blanket practices may be easier to manage for multinational companies, it has the potential to de-humanize the actual work experience.

It’s also worth thinking outside-the box on what an enhanced, consultative role for HR professionals might look like on this front. Asking employees to quantify and detail the attributes and strengths that they feel make them successful in their current roles, soliciting their ideas on future roles they’d like to pursue and perhaps discussing these ideas in the context of broader industry career trends can help build feelings of individual attentiveness and connection that are currently lacking.

Click here to access the full report of Evolution of Work 2.0: The Me vs. We Mindset.

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TAGS: attrition Employee engagement meaningful work retention talent management

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