“Me” vs “We”: How do you compete while 63% of your workforce may be thinking of leaving?
The labour market is tightening, wages are on the rise, and while employers may have had the upper-hand in the past, a distinct shift is underway. Employees are now calling the shots.
What does this mean for employers and how they attract, retain and engage talent? The ADP Research Institute® (ADPRI) commissioned a new survey to find out.
The results, described in an ADP® paper, “Evolution of Work 2.0; The Me vs. We Mindset,” show that employees tend to concentrate on their work environment, look for meaning in their job, and want immediate 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).
A strengthening economy opens doors
The ADP research also found that European employees tend to be loyal to their employers and switch jobs less often than those in other parts of the world – especially the US, where around 27% of workers change jobs on an annual basis, according to the ADP® Workforce Vitality Report. At the same time, employers in Europe underestimate how many of their employees are open to switching jobs. The ADP National Employment Report® shows that more than 940,000 jobs were added since the start of 2017. And the unemployment rate was 4.4% in April. Although many employers can agree that it is difficult to retain top talent, ADP research finds that they also underestimate how many employees are open to switching jobs.
Passive job seeking is the new normal
According to the survey, 64% of European employees believe that there is no such thing as job security any longer, while 47% think that everyone should always be looking for their next job opportunity, either at their current company or somewhere else. These findings suggest that many employees could be passively looking for new jobs, even if they are not – yet – actively searching.
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.
A perfect storm of factors challenging retention
Employees who do not feel valued in their work are the most likely to start looking for new opportunities. So it is worrying that the ADP research found that European employees feel less valued than employees in the rest of the world. This problem is most serious in France, where just 23% of workers feel valued and the UK, where the proportion is 38%. By contrast 58% of Germans feel they are valued at work.
European employees are more aligned with the global trend when it comes to talent management. Most feel that employers are doing a poor job in all areas of talent management, with only 31% giving their company top marks for salary and incentives processes and 38% for performance management.
While there are barriers to overcome, employers have an opportunity to address the “me” vs. “we” disconnect.
Employee training is one way. Currently, fewer than half of European companies (47%) provide general training opportunities for all employees, and just a third offer specific training to help employees excel in their current role. A tiny 8% provide training for future market needs in their industry.
Improved training programmes can provide opportunities for internal advancement, while engaging the workforce and cultivating long-term loyalty. Of course, this is just one step, but it can be a start as employers across Europe take part in the renewed war for talent.
Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute