Workforce Engagement – 2012. What does it mean for you as a manager?

December 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

workforceThe 2012  Kelly Global Workforce Index is out.  It surveys 168,000 multi-generational employees from 30 countries and points to changing attitudes related to job mobility, career progression, skill development, and beliefs about the job market.

According to the report,  less than 1/3 of employees believe that their career would benefit from staying with their current employer; and about ½ believe that a constant state of employment motion will help them achieve career growth and skills development.

While the notion of a career-for-life is fading, it is not completely dead.  Here’s some fun facts about our employees:

  • 49% are always on the lookout for new opportunities,
  • 54% believe they are in a position of high demand,
  • 69% think they can find a better, or at least similar position,
  • 53% prefer changing employers to advancing their career where they are.

Age-wise, here’s how many agreed that a ‘career-for-life’ with one employer is still relevant:

  • 32% of Millennials (age 19-30),
  • 29% of Gen Xers (31-48),
  • 28% of Boomers (49-66)

Globally, those that agreed that a work history with multiple employers would be an asset:

  • 65% in the Americas
  • 73%, in EMEA
  • 70% in APAC

Nearly ½ of those surveyed said they are looking at the job market for better opportunities. The break down by region:

  • 40% Amercias
  • 53% EMEA
  • 54% APAC

Of note was the finding that even in regions where economic and market conditions are the toughest,  individuals tended to be optimistic about the chance of finding similar or better positions. This attention to considering switching jobs – and succeeding at the attempt –  could be explained in part by the poor outlook employees see ahead of themselves if they stay in the same job:  Less than 1/3  surveyed believe they will progress in their careers, or get promoted in their current orginzation within the next year.

So as managers, what should we take from this?

Know that your direct reports are eager to advance (read: DEVELOP) in their careers and remain relevant. Especially the high performing ones. Pay attention to them, not just to the squeeky wheels in your unit.

  • Understand that the reality of career development as an ascent up a ladder (with fewer rungs) is outdated.
  • Provide opportunity for job renewal, personal growth, skill development and relevance WITHIN  every job.
  • Instead of a ladder, view career development as a lattice, or a climbing wall.  Lateral moves, moves down and to the side (to gain experience, or manage family issues), growth in place to develop new skills and gain exposure to changing markets and technology, taking on greater challenges and more scope in decision making, are all ways to help people develop, grow and foster engagement.
  • But most of all (and much research converges on this truth), be the manager you would want to work for, and demonstrate, in your own way, how much you care about each of your employees including the challenges and joys they experience in their lives at work and  home.

I can’t tell you home many times (at least 100) I’ve spoken to individuals who tell me that even though the holmespay, the team, the benefits and the work are all great, they are planning to leave because of the way they are treated by their manager.  In many a case, I know these managers, and they are not the kind of people who wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say: “today I’m going to be a jerk.” They eat their Wheaties, get to work, and focus on getting goals and objectives met.  Not much else.

So, if you care about the engagement of your people, you need to think broader about the role you play as a manager in their lives.

Good luck!

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