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In today’s competitive economy, if two organizations are both doing a great job engaging their workforces, what makes one of them better than the other? Aon Hewitt recently surveyed 2,539 employees at companies of 1,000 or more across several industries, and Raymond Baumruk, partner and leader in the firm’s Next Practices/Employee Research & Insights group, shared top findings with attendees of Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2015.
Baumruk said they were somewhat surprised to find that the things many companies see as “differentiators,” employees actually view as “table stakes,” or basic expectations of potential employers. Baumruk also shared that there has been a shift in the past three to four years. Potential employees are looking for more of a human experience, in which error can happen, people can laugh, and ideas and opinions are solicited and respected.
When it comes to base expectations – the “table stakes” that any company should offer – the study found that employees expect a company to:
- Communicate completely and honestly (80% cite this as a base expectation)
- Recognize strong achievement or performance
- Have a collaborative environment and encourage teamwork
- Have a strong management and leadership team
- Provide valuable work tools/resources, including technology
The characteristics that employers said they consider differentiators that make an organization attractive include:
- Fun place to work (In an interesting side note, Baumruk said that Baby Boomers were more likely to cite this than Millennials)
- Flexible work environment
- Good fit with employee values
- Provides stimulating work
The survey showed that, much like the differentiators, these characteristics revolve around the human experience and are relationship oriented vs. organizational oriented:
Companies focus on: Employees want the focus to be on:
Customer satisfaction Respect
Brand image Teamwork
Productivity Open communications
The top work characteristic employees want in an organization today is recognition. In addition, employees want to be recognized by managers and leadership in a way in which their peers and colleagues are aware of the recognition – through email, in-person meetings, etc. Open and honest communications are just one of vital elements to creating the human experience that today’s employees want.
And as Aon Hewitt discovered, from Baby Boomers to Millennials (and even Centennials), employees are looking for a human experience – engaging, fun, open, honest, and collaborative – in the workplace.