Recently, the global consulting firm BlessingWhite released its annual state of the workforce research report. As we read the 2017 report, we were struck by the similarity of thoughts to Roger Herman’s books “Keeping Good People” and “The Process of Excelling,” as well as “How to Become an Employer of Choice” (Herman and Gioia). In this Herman Trend Alert, we will discuss some of the findings of the BlessingWhite study and talk about how those findings inform the future.
Sense of direction
It was Lao Tzu, the Father of Confucianism, who said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” People want to know what their immediate work priorities are for the next three to six months. Having higher levels of alignment with these priorities was found in 92 percent of the organizations with the highest levels of engagement. Good leaders have a direct effect on their employees’ ability to achieve these priorities with the right preparation and support.
Closely related to having a sense of direction is “ongoing feedback.” People want to know where they stand – at all times. Unfortunately, even in the best-scoring organizations, only 80 percent of the employees said they received regular feedback from their managers. In average organizations, only 66 percent said they felt like they knew where they stood with their managers.
Creating a high-performance environment
Enlightened leaders are responsible for creating high-performance environments in which employees can thrive and grow. Among the top-engaging employers, 75 percent of employees agreed that their senior leaders have created an environment where they can thrive; that’s 20 points higher than the average performing employers.
In Herman’s book, Keeping Good People, one of the five reasons why people leave one job and go to another is: “I don’t get the support that I need to get my job done.” This reason corresponds to the third family of strategies, support strategies. Detailed support strategies include providing employees with the information, training and tools and equipment they need to get their jobs done.
There are more factors which we do not have time to discuss in detail:
- Liking the work you do
- Feeling like your employment is “more than ‘just a job'”
- Strong working relationships with managers
- Understanding how you fit into the big picture
- Identifying growth opportunities
The more things change, the more they stay the same
It was fascinating (and validating) to see the tactics and strategies we have been teaching employers for years show up in the results of this engagement survey. (What seemed to be missing from these results was an analysis of the results by generation.) Though we expect to see specific priorities shuffle, the themes we see here will remain the same for years to come.
To download the entire study, click here.