Employers struggle to attract, retain quality employees

Seventy-two percent of global employers are still struggling with attracting and retaining critical-skill employees while 60 percent are having trouble attracting and retaining high-potential employees that they believe are necessary to increase their global competitiveness, according to a new survey conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson and WorldatWork, an international association of human resources professionals.

“The demand for the best talent is as strong as ever, especially given a challenging economy and heightened global competition,” says Laura Sejen, global leader of rewards at Towers Watson. “But many employers are not taking advantage of opportunities to attract, retain and engage high-value employees by offering a work environment and the total rewards programs that are most important to them. In fact, there appears to be a mismatch between what employers are offering and what employees are looking for. Employees, including top talent, are more focused on competitive base pay and job security. Employers, on the other hand, are emphasizing other items, such as challenging work, and their mission, vision and values.”

Another 48 percent of respondents report that their employees are often under excessive pressure in the workplace while 53 percent of respondents say their employees worked more hours than usual over the past three years. Forty-three percent of respondents say they believe employees will maintain that pace for another three years.

Respondents in the United States report even higher stress levels as 61 percent of respondents say employees are facing excessive pressure on in their positions, and 71 percent of U. S. respondents say employees are working more hours with 63 percent of U.S. respondents anticipating that to continue over the next three years.

For assessing performance management, 51 percent of U.S. respondents consider their performance management processes to effectively connect salary growth with individual performance results as opposed to 62 percent of global respondents. Among the U.S. respondents, 44 percent say they effectively link bonus payouts with individual performance while 65 percent of global respondents say so.

Regarding managers involvement in the performance management process, 37 percent of U.S. respondents report that they are significantly less effective at defining individual performance goals while 52 percent of global respondents agree, and another 24 percent of U.S. respondents say managers provide employees consistent coaching and feedback as opposed to 39 percent of global respondents. When it comes to conducting career development discussions, 19 percent of U.S. respondents report doing so in comparison with 33 percent of global respondents.

Despite this, leadership management programs among U.S. respondents earn higher marks than global respondents. In fact, 95 percent of U.S. respondents say their leadership development programs support their organization’s culture compared with 84 percent of global respondents. Another two-thirds of U.S. respondents report having formal leadership development programs.

“As U.S. employers seek to grow profitably during a period of economic volatility, their focus needs to be on crafting an employee value proposition that helps to attract and retain talented and critical-skill employees while also engaging the broader work force,” says Laurie Bienstock, North America rewards leader at Towers Watson. “Plus, organizations need to position themselves for future success over the next five to 10 years. Effective leadership development, performance management and succession-planning programs will be keys to getting it right. U.S. employers give themselves lower marks compared to the global norms and need to take action to strengthen the process and outcomes.”



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