I want fair pay, a voice in decision-making and a competent boss. Is that too much to ask?

Data Point Tuesday
In previous posts I’ve discussed data about Millenials’ perceptions and expectations in the workplace, a hugely popular topic, which makes sense considering that this demographic cohort accounts for 77 million workers between the ages of 18 and 35 (according to FORTUNE). Here at Great Place To Work, we’ve recently released a “10 Great Work Places For Millennials List,” accessible on our employer review site Great Rated!, which identifies companies offering the best benefits and perks for this group. When it comes to Millennials, what companies snagged the top spots? Intuitive Research and Technology came in at number one on the list, followed by David Weekly Homes and Allied Wallet. You can check out the full list here for the full 10 company rankings and culture reviews.

The research conducted for this list of workplaces that stand out as exceptional for Millennial employees is highlighted, but also identified are the sorts of practices and programs that move the needle for these employees. When looking at workplace culture features that differed most between the top 10 Great Workplaces for Millennials and the 10 least-great Workplaces for Millennials, a few areas stood out. Survey data revealed “fair pay” as a very important feature of great workplaces for Millennials. There was a 37 percentage point difference between the top 10 companies for Millennials and bottom 10 companies based on responses to the statement, “I feel I receive a fair share of the profits made by this organization.” Millennials also place a high value on having a say in decisions at their organization. Our study recorded a 28 percentage point difference between the top 10 and bottom 10 companies on “Management involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment.” Additionally, competent management is a highly valued feature for Millennials, with a 26-percentage point difference on “Management does a good job of assigning and coordinating people.”

The analysis also highlighted some surprising workplace features that don’t move the needle much for Millennials. One such feature is interesting considering it’s been such a hot-topic: work-life balance. There was just a 10-percentage point difference between the top 10 workplaces for Millennials and the bottom 10 on the question: “I am able to take time off from work when I think it’s necessary.” This statement was one of the 10 with the least amount of difference among all 58 survey statements. The response calls into question the attention that has been placed on Millennials’ desire for work-life balance. Has this dynamic been overblown? It’s possible, but perhaps it’s more likely that many employers have considerably improved programs and policies that promote work-life balance, making it a mute point for Millennial respondents.

Another two surprising work-place dynamics that were not greatly distinguishable between the top 10 workplaces for Millennials and bottom 10 workplaces were self-expression (with just a 10 percentage point difference on the statement: “I can be myself around here”) and friendly, welcoming workplaces (with an 8 percentage point difference on the statement “When you join the company, you are made to feel welcome”). Again, these percentages beg the question of whether the importance Millennials place on such dynamics has been hyped up, and are not necessarily an accurate reflection of Millennial expectations. Considering the top features that Millennials did identify as highly important though (fair pay, say in decisions, and competent management) it seems more likely that these aren’t necessarily features that Millennials don’t value, but features that companies have greatly improved versus features that are often problematic for companies.

Do these trends accurately reflect the workplace programs that are important to your Millennial employees?

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, FORTUNE Magazine, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Great Rated!, Millennials

Trust Is In Short Supply – All Over the World!

Data Point Tuesday

The recently released 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, highlights a degradation of trust between people and the institution of government, recording the biggest gap in trust since the study began in 2001. Edelman attributes this gap to “a continued destruction of trust in government that began in 2011, and a steady rise in belief in business since its nadir in 2008.” In almost half of the 27 countries surveyed, Edelman recorded a gap of 20+ points, with some countries reporting a divide of nearly 40 points. This means that people trust business more than they trust their government. The study is the firm’s 14th annual trust and credibility survey; it sampled 27,000 general population respondents with an over- sample of 6,000 informed publics ages 25-64 across 27 countries.

Globally, and overall, trust declined over the last year. Edelman cites the reason for this decline due largely in part to falling trust of government in many countries. Poland, the United States, and Mexico experienced the most major trust declines (-13, -10, and -9 points), while the biggest increases in trust occurred in UAE, Indonesia, Australia and Argentina (+13, +10, +8, +8 points). General public populations reported substantially lower trust levels than informed publics, with a global trust difference of 9 points. Government saw the largest decline in trust of any institution in 2014, with the largest drops in trust in government seen in the U.S., France and Hong Kong (16, 17 and 18 points). Media also saw a decline in 2014, with nearly 80 percent of countries reporting trusting media less over the last year.

Edelmam Graphic 1Edelman’s Trust Barometer reports that trust in business has achieved an amount of stability since the implosion of trust in 2008 and 2009. With trust in business leveling out, and trust in government declining, comes the historic gap of 14 points globally between trust in business and trust in government. Despite this decline in trust of government though, the survey reports a strong demand for government regulation of business to protect consumers, with over 50% of respondents viewing government protection of consumers from business as important. The majority of respondents did not, however, see government as capable of delivering the necessary regulations on its own. 79% of respondents agreed: “when policymakers are developing new regulations on businesses and industries, they should consult with multiple stakeholders (i.e. NGOs, academics, the affected businesses/industries, etc.) before making final decisions.” As the survey states, this indicates “a significant level of permission for business to play a role in the debate and design of regulation”.

Edelman Graphic 2When it comes to trust in specific industries, technology leads the front with a trust level of 79% among informed publics. Media companies and banks trail when it comes to trust, seeing little improvement since 2009. The top five countries with the highest levels of trust in markets were (in order): Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and the U.K.. BRIC countries recorded the lowest levels of market trust. When Edelman asked respondents to rank levels of trust based on business ownership structure, family-owned and small- & medium-sized business outperformed big business in all regions but Asia, where publicly-traded and big business companies received higher trust levels. A major concern however, is the plateauing and distrust in leadership that the Trust Barometer records. Academics and experts (67 percent), technical experts (66 percent) and “a person like yourself” (62 percent) are the most trusted sources of information about companies (trust in “a person like yourself” increased significantly since 2009). CEOs and government leaders however, remain at the bottom of the list for both informed and general publics, with extremely low levels of trust.

Edelman Graphic 3Though concerning and perhaps daunting, this speaks clearly to an opportunity that leadership has to engage and communicate transparently – an opportunity to begin to regain a credible voice and change perceptions. For leaders of companies, trust in them is explicably linked with the trust in the company, and the influence they wield because of that cannot be ignored. The Edelman Trust Barometer identified specific actions CEOs can take to build trust, and each actions level of importance to the general public. The highest-ranking actions included: communicating clearly and transparently (82%), telling the truth regardless of how complex or unpopular it is (81%) and engaging with employees regularly (80%). Other high-ranking actions include being visible during challenging times, and having an active media presence. Though the low levels of trust in business leadership seem to indicate it’s a complex thing to build, respondents indicate it’s simply about going back to basics. Engage, support, and don’t forget that important rule folks, honesty is the best policy!

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Promoting from Within: Not as Easy as it Seems

Data Point Tuesday
A recent survey by the College for America, “The 2014 Workplace Strategies Survey”, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, reveals that employers prefer developing employees to hiring new ones by a 2:1 margin. A smart and cost-effective talent management strategy to be sure. But preferring to promote and being able to promote are two quite different things – as this study points out.

73% of survey respondents stated that for low-level team leader positions and middle management roles, developing current employees’ skills (vs. hiring new) best reflected their company’s talent strategies. For senior management and executive roles, 67% of respondents reported that developing the skills of current employees (vs. hiring new) best reflected their company’s talent strategies. The results are clear, companies want to promote from within! The College of America’s survey sourced information from 400 senior business leaders responsible for HR and/or administration at companies of 500+ employees, between December 6th and 16th 2013.

College for America
Though these employers prefer promotion to new hiring, the data show that developing leadership skills and addressing skill gaps remain significant issues to overcome. When asked about the challenges faced when developing employees, 94% of respondents reported that the need to build talent and leadership was a very or somewhat important challenge; 87% reported that employees missing skills for promotion was a very or somewhat important challenge; and 85% reported that finding well qualified candidates was a very or somewhat important challenge. The survey also shows that companies with 50% or more full time employees were hit harder by the skills gap than companies with 50% of more part time employees. “Heavily full-time” organizations reported that the three biggest challenges their organizations faced were: talent and leadership, qualified applicants, and employees having the right skills for promotion. Companies with 50% or more part time employees reported their top three challenges as: talent and leadership, retaining workers, and having sufficiently engaged employees.

The good news though, is that many organizations are instituting employee development programs, and a high percentage of organizations are offering tuition reimbursement. The College for America’s survey reports that 76% of organizations offer tuition reimbursement to employees to help them pursue a college degree. With this, 79% of organizations report that tuition reimbursement is available to the majority of employees (executives, senior level managers, supervisors and middle managers, and workers without a college degree). So the beginning step of making degree programs affordable for workers of all levels is being offered by a majority of employers. The next steps of supporting degree completion and further supporting internal mobility are next if employers will truly be able to meet their strategic plan to promote from within rather than buying new talent in the open market.

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Where’s the Trust?

Data Point Tuesday
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey released last Wednesday, only half of U.S employees believe their employer is open and upfront with them, indicating that despite the mending U.S economy and the return of many organizations’ profitability employees are still struggling to trust their organizational leaders. This distrust comes with serious negative consequences. The APA reports that trust and engagement play important roles in the workplace, accounting for 50.8% of the variance in employee well-being. In predicting trust, the dimensions of employee involvement, recognition, and communication predicted 54% of the variance. Employees reported having greater trust in companies when the organization endeavored to recognize them for their contributions, provide opportunities for involvement, and communicate effectively. In predicting work engagement, employees’ positive perceptions of their employer’s involvement, growth and development opportunities, and health and safety efforts accounted for 27.1% of the variance.

An interesting and positive finding from the APA survey, is in strong contrast to the recent reports that have suggested upwards of 70% of employees in the U.S. are not engaged or are actively disengaged. APA’s Work and Well-Being Survey finds approximately 50% of working Americans reporting average levels of engagement, with around a quarter reporting low or very low levels and just under a quarter reporting high or very high levels. The mean engagement score for working Americans was 3.62 on a six-point scale (zero representing never being engaged and six representing always being engaged). Additionally, the survey finds that 70% of U.S workers report that they are satisfied with their jobs, however, just 47% continue to be satisfied with employee recognition practices and 49% with growth and development opportunities offered by their organizations.

Taking a closer look at the statistics on trust, about one third of respondents say their employers are not always honest and truthful, and nearly a quarter say they don’t trust their employers. Interestingly though, this lack of trust does not necessarily correlate to feelings of unfair or bad working environments. The survey found that 64% of employed adults feel that their organization treats them fairly, despite that only 52% believe their employer is open and upfront with them. Does this mean as an organization you can cultivate fair and honest practices without any transparency? Does this mean that leaders get a pass on being trustworthy as long as they provide safe working environments? These are interesting data to be sure. But perhaps the bigger question is how productive are employees who don’t trust their leaders? What levels of discretionary effort and personal development will employees expend who feel physically safe but don’t trust their leaders? As a leader, the question I would ask is “how long can I rely on an employee population that doesn’t me?”

APA Center for Organizational Excellence April 2014
The APA’s findings come after surveying 1,562 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S. and who are employed full time, part time, or self-employed.

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Filed under American Psychological Association, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Managerial Effectiveness, Rewards & Recognition, Worplace Trust

The Stress Test: Most Employers Fail

Data Point Tuesday
We all know that a stressful work environment can impact employees’ mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as impact their engagement and productivity, but a new study from Monster reveals just how many employees are saying no to “sticking it out” in stressful work environments, and seeking jobs elsewhere. Monster’s international “Workplace Stress” study surveyed nearly 1,000 job seekers on the Monster database via an online survey which ran from March 12, 2014 to March 18, 2014. The study revealed that 42% of US respondents have left a job due to an overly stressful environment, these respondents stating: “I have purposely changed jobs due to a stressful work environment.” An additional 35% have contemplated changing jobs due to a stressful work environment. 42% of people have purposely changed jobs because of stress! This seems like a frightening number of people and begs the question, what are U.S organizations doing to change such work environments? Monster’s study reports that 55% of their respondents experience very stressful lives, and 57% of people experience very stressful work environments –more than half of respondents. Comparably, only 3% of respondents report experiencing no stress in their work life.

On the international front, employees in France and the UK experience the most workplace stress, with 48% (a 6% increase from US respondents) reporting that they have left a job due to stress. Employees in India are least likely to leave a job due to stress, with only 19% of respondents reporting that they have ever left a job because it was too stressful.

What exactly is stressing out the workforce? Monster’s study found that the most commonly reported workplace stressors are: supervisor relationship (40%), amount of work (39%), work-life balance (34%), and coworker relationships (31%). The study also found that the 84% of respondents claim that their stressful job has impacted their personal lives, with 26% reporting sleepless nights, 24% reporting depression, 21% reporting family or relationship issues, and 19% reporting physical ailments. When respondents were asked what their office does to help alleviate stress in the workplace, 13% reported “extra time-off”, 11% reported the “ability to work from home”, and dishearteningly, 66% answered “nothing.”

Monster Job Changes Due to Stress
While many of the figures in this study may seem shockingly high, when we consider all the data that surrounds us about the amount of work/life balance challenges American’s face, the high percentage of workers leaving jobs due to stress makes a little more sense. However, though it might make more sense, it doesn’t mean pushing employees to their limits, and fostering stressful work environments, is right. In fact, at Great Place to Work we have 20 years of data proving that fostering a transparent, safe, and fun workplace culture creates an incredibly more satisfying and productive environment than a high-stress/high pressure one. Check it out!

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Filed under Change, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employment Data, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Leadership, Monster, Stess, Turnover, Work Life Balance

HR & Video: A Match Made in Heaven?

Data Point Tuesday
A recent global survey “Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends,” conducted by Redshift Research on behalf of Polycom, Inc. dives into recent shifts in the way HR is communicating and shaping business culture. Data for the report was collected from 1,205 business decision makers in four regions and twelve countries. Major discoveries of the report included the ways Human Resource executives perceive and are using video and video conferencing technology. The data suggests that a move towards video provides advantages for talent management, staffing, training, productivity and flexible work enablement.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 2Data from the survey tells us video is widely used by HR departments across the world. Polycom’s study found that video conferencing ranked as a top-three tool for communications, with HR respondents ranking email as the number one preferred communications tool (88%), followed by voice-conference calls at 62% and video conferencing at 46%. Interestingly, HR executives who use video at work today said they would prefer video collaboration to email as their top method of business communication within three years. HR executives that participated in the study saw clear benefits of using video communication tools over other forms of communication – with 98% of the Human Resources executives surveyed reporting that video conferencing helps companies work through issues of distance and cultural barriers to ultimately improve productivity amongst their teams.

Aberdeen Group Research 2014Respondents from the survey who use video conferencing today stated that the top advantages of this method of communication are: better collaboration between globally dispersed colleagues (54%), greater clarity of topics being discussed (45%) and more efficient meetings (44%). 76% respondents report that they use video conferencing at work and 83% of respondents (nearly 90% of those in their 20’s and 30’s) use consumer video conference solutions at home today. Laptops and desktops were the most popular form of business video conferencing, followed by conference rooms, and then mobile devices.

Inside and outside of the workplace, we’re seeing a movement towards video as the newest trend in keeping us better connected. Whether this is the addition of video features to major social media platforms, or businesses using video conferencing more frequently, it’s clear that video is on the rise. When you add in the increased focus on workplace flexibility by many organizations and a workforce that places increasingly more importance on the ability to be mobile and highly connected, integrating video communication tools in the workplace makes a lot of sense.

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The best recruitment strategy? Being a Great Place to Work®!

Data Point Tuesday
A look at LinkedIn’s recently released “Talent Trends 2014” report provides some interesting data about what’s on the minds of today’s professional workforce. As the study confirms, we live in an age of unprecedented transparency: “More job opportunities are viewable online, and the available context – information on the company, its culture, and the team including the hiring manager – has never been richer.” LinkedIn’s platform itself proves this point, and this ever increasing transparency is certainly changing the landscape of talent acquisition. It asks to us to consider how the talent, people, are approaching and considering new careers. Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been a move towards proactively seeking the best talent for the position. LinkedIn’s 2014 report surveyed over 18,000 fully employed workers in 26 countries, to shed light on professional attitudes towards job seeking, job satisfaction and career evaluation.

The report dives into many areas of the professional workplace’s approach toward careers, one such area being the importance of talent brand to professionals. Globally, professionals agree that the most important factor in considering a new job is whether their prospective company is perceived as a great place to work or not. (And to be clear, LinkedIn’s definition of “great place to work” does not synch up completely with the Great Place to Work Institute’s definition.) When respondents of LinkedIn’s report were asked which of the following was most important if they were to consider a new job, 56% said “the company has a reputation as a great place to work”, while 20% said “the company has a reputation for great products and services”, 17% said “the company has a reputation for great people”, and 7% said “the company has a reputation for being prestigious.” When looking at countries where talent brand/being a great place to work is most (100%) and least (0%) important, the global average was 56%, with high outliers being Denmark at 62%, Brazil at 61%, and the U.S. at 60%. Low outliers included Japan at 39%, Turkey at 35%, and China at 33%.

Talent brand, which LinkedIn equates with being a great place to work, is clearly important to today’s labor pool when planning a career or a job change. This line of thought underscores why it’s more necessary than ever to communicate and share a corporate mission and values. People want their work to have meaning to them, to be “more than just a job.” They want to trust their leaders and have a sense of camaraderie or family with their co-workers. The majority of people surveyed in LinkedIn’s report (85% of active job seekers ad 90% of passive job seekers) responded that they are passionate about the work they do. Additionally, 85% of active and 91% of passive job seekers stated that they are constantly learning and growing at work, and 84% of active and passive job seekers reported that they are comfortable promoting themselves and their ideas at work.

Linkedin Talent Profile

The clear results of this data are that professionals today care deeply about their work, and want the companies they work for to support this passion. Being a great place to work is a strong factor in their search for new jobs and careers – and besides being a critical selection criteria, being a great place to work is an essential foundation for success in today’s talent acquisition and retention challenges.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Hiring, HR, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition