ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Employee willingness to go above and beyond at work is at the lowest level seen in four years, according to CEB (NYSE: CEB), a best practice insight and technology company. This notable dip in discretionary effort coupled with a strong global trend toward staff staying put in their current jobs suggests that employees are "quitting in seat"—physically showing up, but mentally checking out, which could lead to a material decline in productivity next year if left unchecked. Employers should work to stem this trend by stepping up employee engagement efforts and improving access to career opportunities.
According to the company's Global Talent Monitor, employees feel job opportunities are worsening especially in Latin America, a region that has experienced multi-year declines. Australia and New Zealand were also in decline with the region experiencing the steepest drop in perception from Q2 to Q3 and putting employees squarely back into the negative category. While European employees' perceptions of the job market remain considerably lower than the global average, this region is a notable exception to the general downward trend, possibly rallied by stronger manufacturing activity. These employee labor market perceptions influenced job seeking, as the number of people actively searching for a new position slowed worldwide.
Tepid Economy Slows Job Seeking
The tepid economy is a major factor in employees' generally neutral perceptions of the job market. Since most workers don't have reason to anticipate major rounds of redundancies they aren't motivated to seek new positions out of fear. Nor are economies so poised for growth that the opportunities and benefits offered by other employers trump the financial stability of staying put.
This hesitancy to look elsewhere is most pronounced in Singapore and New Zealand. Only Canada bucked the trend with nearly six percent more Canadian workers actively searching for a new role in Q3. On an annual basis, the trend is more pronounced with the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand in double-digit decline, followed closely by Germany, Australia and Brazil respectively.
Lack of Opportunity Leads to Lack of Effort
Beyond macro-economic trends, lack of compelling career opportunities has left employees generally unhappy with their personal prospects and with little reason to go above and beyond at work. Most report that they will remain in their current position for the next 12 months, but that they won't work as hard as they have in the past.
"Employee dissatisfaction is always a concern since it can have a notable impact on overall workforce performance," said CEB HR Practice Leader Brian Kropp. "However the lack of future career opportunities available to employees must be addressed if employers want to see higher productivity growth rates. Traditional career paths are a thing of the past and employees know it. Companies need to create new ways to advance and develop their people if they want to stay competitive and reverse the 'quitting in seat' trend."
The Holiday Effect
"Employees don't have high expectations for merit increases or promotions," Kropp added, "so they aren't incentivized to work hard. The holiday season may exacerbate this, since from mid-December to mid-January employees reflect on the past year and make decisions about what they want to achieve in the next one. In a world where seven-in-10 employees are unhappy with their career opportunities, we may see more people making the choice to move on."
To prevent disengagement and improve employee productivity, organizations should focus on:
- Improving access to career opportunities –Employees are dissatisfied with their future career opportunities, yet there isn't much room for upward movement in today's flatter organizational structures. Companies should work to enable other types of employee movement across the organization and to provide new experiences.
- Communicating about development – Managers should regularly talk with employees about how their current role is making them more marketable as they build the skills and capabilities they need to advance in their careers both within the company and beyond it.
- Setting clear expectations – Some attrition is a good thing, especially as it opens up opportunity for movement across the organization. Managers should set clear expectations with employees and let them decide whether or not they want to commit with the organization.
Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from CEB's larger Global Labor Market Survey which is made up of more than 18,000 employees in 20 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication. Visit www.cebglobal.com/talentmonitor to learn more and compare talent data from around the world.
CEB is a best practice insight and technology company. In partnership with leading organizations around the globe, we develop innovative solutions to drive corporate performance. CEB equips leaders at more than 10,000 companies with the intelligence to effectively manage talent, customers, and operations. CEB is a trusted partner to 90% of the Fortune 500, nearly 75% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans, and more than 85% of the FTSE 100. More at cebglobal.com.
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