Sep 27, 2013

I’m said this before, but in my job, I get hit with a lot of surveys on a lot of different HR and talent management topics.

Some are insightful and interesting, but others can be simply trite and dumb, giving you head-scratching insights into topics you really could care less about.

The problem for me is that EVERY survey from EVERY organization arrives with the same big pitch touting just how highly newsworthy it is — even if it isn’t. The trick is to dig through all the hype to find those nuggets of information that truly have some meaning.

Case in point: Ceridian’s recently released Pulse of Talent Survey, which is primarily focused on generation differences in the workplace and how they play out in regards to job rewards, performance feedback, and job motivation.

Half of workers receive no regular feedback

The press release from Ceridian touts how the survey found that job rewards — receiving monetary or non-monetary compensation for a job well done — “is the most important engagement driver for U.S. employees as a whole. In fact, one in two (47 percent) of respondents rank job rewards first, above job recognition (42 percent) and job motivation (11 percent).”

OK, that’s mildly interesting, but when you dig down into the survey results, you’ll trip over some findings that I think are way more significant. For example:

  • Only 47 percent of survey respondents say they “receive regular feedback on job performance throughout the year;”
  • Only 59 percent of the respondents say they had “a formal meeting with their boss to discuss their job performance in 2012;” and,
  • Nearly one-third (31 percent) of respondents say they will job hunt if there is no salary increase, bonus or promotion following their performance review”  — and this number jumps to 48 percent for Millennials.

Well I don’t know about you, but I find these numbers both frightening and stunning.

In case you were dozing through those bullet points, more than half (53 percent) of those surveyed here don’t get regular feedback on their performance throughout the year, and over 40 percent didn’t have a formal sit-down with their boss to discuss their performance in the previous 12 months.

That’s a big deal, and pretty newsworthy, in my book.

There is also a strong message here about why regular feedback and performance reviews are incredibly important — even if most HR and talent managers believe the performance management system is broken.

The survey clearly shows the expectation employees have that a good performance review needs to be underscored with a raise or a promotion, because more than 30 percent of your staff will be looking to bolt if they don’t see a tangible reward for their good work. And, the numbers show that your youngest employees feel more strongly about this than anyone else.

No surprise: People want to do interesting work

This clearly shows just how important performance feedback, and rewarding people for their good work, really is. That’s the most significant takeaway I got out of this survey. YMMV.

But, there were a few other interesting findings in the Pulse of Talent Survey worth noting:

  • Generally, main drivers of job motivation are interesting work (39 percent), followed by autonomy (32 percent), and a good salary (31 percent);
  • For Millennial and Baby Boomer respondents, the interesting work comes first. For Gen X, making a good pay/good salary comes first.
  • Overall, the most popular factors for making the job more rewarding are the options to work flexible hours, to get more training options and opportunities, and having opportunities to take on additional responsibilities/larger tasks.

You should take a closer look at this survey if you are interested in this kind of stuff, but I find the focus on the generation differences — which most of these surveys seem to be overly fixated on — far less important than the message it sends about the need for regular feedback and rewards that are tied to the good work employees do that should be highlighted by their supervisor.

This also raises another question, though: if regular feedback is so important, how to we deal with the fact that so many talent managers seem to hate the performance appraisal system and think it is broken?

Maybe that’s a good question for ANOTHER survey.

Why is everyone freelancing these days?

Of course, there’s more than the latest talent management survey in the news this week. Here are some HR and workplace-related items you may have missed. This is TLNT’s weekly round-up of news, trends, and insights from the world of talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • Making job sharing work — Job sharing has always been around, but as this HBR blog post notes, “splitting a full-time position into two part-time jobs is an increasingly popular flexible work arrangement.” And the post goes on to say that, “There are a wide variety of reasons to choose a job sharing arrangement — it might be to take care of a dependent, to work another job, or to advance one’s education,” says Stew Friedman, a professor of management at the Wharton School.  … Lotte Bailyn, a professor of management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management … agrees, noting that people often pursue a job share because they want less stress in their lives. Whatever your reason, it’s up to you (and your partner) to make the situation work.”
  • Domestic workers will now get OT in California — Here’s another one of those workplace trends that start in California and then seems to spread. As the Los Angeles Times reports, “Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that mandates overtime pay for domestic workers in California — with the exception of babysitters. The new measure requires that employers pay domestic workers, which include housekeepers and cleaners, time and a half for any work that exceeds nine hours a day or 45 hours a week. Brown vetoed a more sweeping measure last year that also required rest periods, meal breaks and appropriate sleeping quarters for live-in employees. … This narrower measure will go into effect in January 2014 and run until January 2017 unless legislators renew the bill.”
  • Why does it seem that everybody is freelancing these days? Fast Company knows the answer to that question: “Companies are less committed to commitment,” Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, told The Wall Street Journal. They know that they don’t need to take on full-timers — and the costs of providing people health benefits, we can surmise — in order to get their work done, so they keep trimming core staff. And with that, there’s more work for independents–who can find gigs through oDesk, Freelancer, and other services.”
  • How do you determine who to hire? According to Michelle Rhee, the controversial educational reformer, who wrote If I’m the Smartest Person in the Room, We’re in Trouble for LinkedIn Today, “I relish hiring great people; there is nothing like finding new talent, and then watching that talent help take your organization to new heights. And the answer I gave my daughter illustrates the first — and perhaps the most important — principle I follow in determining who to hire.” You can find her hiring principles here.
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