Press Release Archive
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., November 8, 2005— As a serious talent and worker shortage looms in the U.S., a new comprehensive study released by Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN), a leading North American staffing and recruiting company, indicates that many employers aren’t taking the steps necessary to retain existing employees and attract top talent from the shrinking worker pool.
Spherion’s 2005 Emerging Workforce® Study, conducted by Harris Interactive®, surveyed a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. employers and adult workers to reveal a troubling gap between employers and employees on critical workplace issues such as retention factors, training and development and work/life balance. The Study also finds that less than one in five employers is well positioned to attract and retain top talent.
According to the latest Spherion® Emerging Workforce Study:
60% of workers rate time and flexibility as a very important factor in retention, but only 35% of employers feel the same.
Only 49% of employers rate financial compensation as a very important driver of retention, but 69% of workers believe it is.
On average, employers only expect 14% of their workforce to leave in the next year, but Spherion data shows that nearly 40% of U.S. workers intend to find a new job in the next 12 months.
Less than half (44%) of U.S. workers believe their companies are taking steps to retain them and nearly a third (31%) believe there is a turnover problem at their company already.
Only 34% of HR managers mention turnover/retention as a key HR concern.
The following chart clearly shows the significant disconnect between employers and employees on what will keep workers in their current positions:
Drivers of Retention
|Employer View||Employee View|
|1. Management climate||(80%)||1. Financial compensation||(69%)|
|2. Supervisor relationship||(80%)||2. Benefits||(68%)|
|3. Culture & work environment||(65%)||3. Growth & earning potential||(64%)|
|4. Benefits||(61%)||4. Time & flexibility||(60%)|
|5. Growth & earning potential||(58%)||5. Management climate||(60%)|
|6. Training & development||(54%)||6. Supervisor relationship||(57%)|
|7. Financial compensation||(49%)||7. Culture & work environment||(54%)|
|8. Time & flexibility||(35%)||8. Training & development||(49%)|
Note: Based on percent indicating “very important” when asked what are the most important drivers of retention
“There’s no doubt that talent will be a defining success factor for companies in the years to come and our latest Study sheds light on just how differently employers and employees view key issues in the workplace,” said Roy Krause, Spherion president and chief executive officer. “It is imperative that organizations understand these disconnects and make the right adjustments to their HR strategy and policies to meet the evolving desires of the U.S. workforce. Employers that choose not to react could seriously hamper their ability to compete for top talent, especially as continued demographic and attitudinal shifts amplify this issue.”
Workers Seek Work/Life Balance, But Employers Missing the Mark
One of the biggest disconnects between employers and employees is the importance workers place on their ability to maintain a balance between their professional and private lives. In its previous Study, conducted in 2003, Spherion found that 86% of U.S. workers agreed that work/life balance and fulfillment was a top career priority and 96% agreed that an employer was more attractive when it helped them meet family obligations through options like flextime, telecommuting or job sharing. However, it appears that U.S. employers have not significantly responded to that need.
According to the 2005 Study, one-third of workers between the ages of 25 and 39 feel burned out by their job and 28% of all workers say their employers expect them to stay connected to the office outside normal office hours. At the same time, only 24% of employers offer a formal flex-time program, only 12% offer telecommuting and 11% offer job sharing.
Even more concerning, many companies don’t plan to implement work/life balance programs at all. In fact, 61% of all companies stated they don’t plan to offer job sharing, 56% don’t plan to offer telecommuting and 33% don’t plan to offer flextime.
“It is clearly evident that maintaining balance continues to be a top priority for most workers, but technology and increasingly strenuous employer expectations have eroded the concept of traditional office hours, vacations and personal time for many,” Krause said. “While today’s workers are willing to accept these changes, employers must be mindful of the flexibility workers seek and offer them ways to maintain the balance between their work and personal lives. Employers that choose to ignore or discount this important issue expose themselves to a greater chance of employee burnout, lower productivity and eventual turnover.”
Emerging Workers Meet the Emerging Workplace
Although the Study highlights potentially serious differences between employers and employees, Spherion did uncover a small percentage of organizations that do understand the changing face of American workers and that are taking the right steps to meet their needs. Previous Emerging Workforce Studies have identified a new breed of American worker — confident, self-reliant and distinguished by a set of workplace values and expectations that vary drastically from what managers have previously encountered — which we have termed emergent workers. This growing group represents nearly one-third (31%) of workers today and is expected to comprise the majority of all employees in 2007, whereas more traditionally minded workers are expected to dwindle to near extinction.
While the growth of emergent workers has been tracked for nearly a decade, there was no barometer for tracking the changes employers were making to meet the needs of this growing workforce segment. For the first time, the 2005 Emerging Workforce Study was expanded to include data collection from employers, allowing Spherion to provide a more complete picture of the employment landscape and classify workplaces as emergent, migrating or traditional.
The results were stunning: only 19% of employers are classified as emergent and have the progressive mindset, policies and structure in place to attract and retain top talent and maintain workforce flexibility to easily adjust employee levels as demand warrants.
Embrace management practices such as work/life balance programs, training and development options and regular surveys of employees to identify specific retention drivers
Reap benefits such as increased flexibility, cost savings and ability to weather economic fluctuations because they’ve hired the right mix of full-time and contingent resources
Utilize best HR practices which can help them achieve greater financial success and employee growth than more traditional organizations
On the other hand, traditional employers, representing 33% of all employers, may have the greatest disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent because of the vast disconnect between management and employees. Contrary to emergent employers, traditional organizations have entirely different views of retention drivers than that of most U.S. employees, most evident regarding the issues of time and flexibility and opportunities for growth.
The remaining 48% of employers are considered migrating from a traditional to emergent management style. While these organizations have begun to implement some emergent practices, much work remains to be done before they can be considered ideal employers.
“We applaud the innovative efforts of emergent organizations that have dedicated the time and resources to truly become employers of choice,” Krause added. “Not only do such best HR practices help bring top talent into their organizations, but studies have shown that implementing such practices result in better company growth and employee expansion1,” Krause added. “While a growing number of companies have sought our assistance in developing and implementing emergent strategies and programs over the past few years, the reluctance or inability of the majority of U.S. companies to adopt emergent qualities is certainly mystifying, and I hope these findings serve as a wakeup call. Emergent companies will continue to make strides with employees and candidates, while the rest will fall further behind in the battle for talent.”
Nationwide, one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, is an example of an emergent employer that takes its work/life balance initiatives and performance management seriously and believes its success is directly connected to the quality and performance of its associates.
“At Nationwide, we understand the value of providing an environment that meets the ongoing needs of our associates,” said Bob Puccio, vice president of associate services. “Offering programs and resources that support associates both at work and outside of work goes a long way in building a company that is great for associates and customers.”
“Our firm and our clients expect a lot from our people,” says Maryella Gockel, flexibility strategy leader at Ernst & Young. “In return, to help our people succeed personally and professionally, we trust them to get their work done in a high quality way, when and where it makes sense for teams and individuals. We also provide programs and tools to help them be successful including flexible work arrangements, telecommuting options, online training programs and back-up child and adult care.”
For additional information on the Emerging Workforce Study and to take surveys to rate yourself and your organization as emergent, migrating or traditional, please visit www.spherion.com/emergingworkforce.
The 2005 Emerging Workforce Study was conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation and consists of surveys of both U.S. employers and employed adults.
Employer Survey: The results of the employer survey are based on 502 telephone and online interviews with senior human resources executives at U.S. companies conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion between March 21 and April 27, 2005. Companies were selected from a list provided by Dun & Bradstreet and the sample was stratified to ensure a certain number of interviews in each revenue category. The data were weighted by number of employees so that the total sample reflects the distribution of employees across company size. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population of senior human resource executives at U.S. companies had been polled with complete accuracy.
Employee Surveys: Data on U.S. employed adults was gathered from the Harris Interactive QuickQuerySM online omnibus conducted monthly by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation. From May through September 2005, each wave of the monthly Spherion Employment Report consisted of several core questions used to measure employee confidence as well as unique questions designed to measure concepts also examined in the employer survey.
Sample sizes for the monthly Spherion Employment Report vary between 2,500 and 3,100 among U.S. adults 18 or older who are employed. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. population of employed adults had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the various sub-samples is higher and varies. This online sample is not a probability sample.
Spherion Corporation is a leader in the staffing industry in North America, providing value-added staffing, recruiting and workforce solutions. Spherion has helped companies improve their bottom line by efficiently planning, acquiring and optimizing talent since 1946. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com) is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, perhaps best known for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering and engineering Internet-based research methods. The Rochester, New York–based global research company blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application, conducting proprietary and public research globally to help clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
Blending science and art, Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital and one of the world’s largest online panels of respondents, with premier Internet survey technology and sophisticated research methods to market leadership through its U.S., Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary, Novatris in Paris (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
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1Source: Lehigh University Study, University of Southern California Study, Spherion Emerging Workforce Study.