A more personal connection between leaders and employees could help with employee engagement.
Leaders often make assumptions about what their employees think and believe when developing a talent management strategy. Traditional areas of focus for HR leaders, such as talent development, performance management, manager and employee training and onboarding, require a careful balance between what the organization can invest in and promise, and what employees will trust and value.
The stakes are high. According to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, "Evolution of Work 2.0: The Me vs. We Mindset," satisfied workers give a 40-point higher rating across various aspects of talent management, including onboarding, performance reviews, training and career planning.
Inaccurate Assumptions Can Lead to Misguided Approaches
Yet employer survey responses consistently show disconnects between what they assume about their workforce and what employees actually think and believe. According to ADP RI, employees are focused on the day-to-day while employers are focused on the bigger picture. An effective talent management strategy must bridge these differing perspectives.
For example, 42 percent of employees say they're open to the idea of moving to another organization, even if they aren't actively looking for another job, according to ADP RI. In contrast, employers thought that only 21 percent of their employees would feel this way. The gap is likely fueled in part by the fact that 56 percent of employees feel like there's no such thing as job security today.
Short-Term Thinking Can Hurt Your Relationship With Employees
Given a global marketplace for talent that tempts employers to look widely for better candidates, both employers and employees can get stuck in a dating game that, according to ADP, "may supposedly be good for business, but erodes trust on both sides of the HR table."
Career planning seems to be an area of particular cynicism, especially in the U.S., where it does not rate as a top driver for talent management. In other areas, ADP RI reveals that only one-third of U.S. employees give their organizations high marks on career performance, compensation and learning management.
Leadership Gaps Contribute Significantly to Disconnected Employees
Perhaps most surprising, and a potential cause for these broader issues, is an emerging disconnect between employees and their organizational leadership. ADP RI notes that less than half of global employees feel connected to their supervisors. The effect of senior management on retention can be seen in that 34 percent of employees who are actively seeking work feel connected to their leadership, compared to 45 percent of employees who are not looking for a new job.
ADP RI highlights the ongoing need for employers to push past surface comments and feedback to get to real employee perceptions and needs. Employees who perceive a personal relationship with their peers and leaders are more likely to stay at their organization. Meanwhile, employers are consistently less likely to account for this in their retention strategies.
This can be reflected in items as fundamental as work hours, an employee's sense of purpose and relationships with immediate supervisors and peers across the organization. Too many organizations rely on compensation — when 46 percent of global employees saying they'd consider a job somewhere else at equal or slightly less pay.
HR has a critical role in assessing and personalizing an approach that makes career planning and development more relevant, fosters openness, values individual contributions and strengthens bonds between employees and their leaders.
Want to learn more? Download the ADP report: Are you a people-centric organization? Take the Talent Self-Assessment
Stay up-to-date on the latest workforce trends and insights for HR leaders: subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.