What’s driving motivation?

by 03 Nov 2011

The landscape of employee retention is shifting worldwide, and according to new research, more workers are currently looking to leave their organisation due to a ‘what am I getting’ mindset.

The latest global What’s Working survey, conducted by HR consultancy firm Mercer in mid-2011, revealed an increase of workers seriously considering leaving their organisation compared to when the survey was last conducted, prior to the economic downturn between 2003 and 2006.

Rob Bebbington, Mercer HC business leader for Australia and New Zealand, said the overall employment deal is changing globally, causing employees to rethink what they are getting from the employment relationship versus what they are giving. 

“Our research shows that, despite some ongoing economic uncertainty, more employees would consider leaving today for a better opportunity,” Bebbington said.

The analysis revealed that non-financial factors play a prominent role in influencing employee motivation and engagement – a finding that could prove useful to employers facing salary budget constraints.

In Australia, 84% of workers said non-financial benefits were important to them, but just 47% said their current benefits met their needs.

Overwhelmingly the most important factor cited by workers worldwide was being treated with respect at work, followed by work-life balance and the type of work performed.

Interestingly, Australian employees ranked the importance of quality leadership higher than all other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but placed long-term career potential as the lowest factor in motivation.

In Australia, just 51% of employees said they were satisfied with their base pay, and female workers placed a greater importance on their pay as a reward element compared to men.

While other financial factors, such as benefits and incentive pay, can be important to other aspects of the employment relationship – such as attracting, retaining and rewarding employees – Mercer’s findings demonstrated they were considered less important factors than their day-to-day motivation and engagement at work.

“Employee engagement reflects the total work experience, and a big part of it is how you are treated, what kind of work you do and how you feel about your co-workers, bosses and the general work environment,” Bebbington said.

Bebbington added that while many parts of the world are going through greater economic uncertainty compared to Asia-Pacific, it is particularly important for Australian employers to consider how to leverage the non-financial factors in order to boost motivation and engagement.


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  • by Iain Crossing - Inspirational Workplaces Pty Ltd 4/11/2011 4:48:21 PM

    In almost every organisational or engagement survey we've conducted for our clients, around half of respondents wish they could be better paid. The point about non-financial benefits is very true. Before our clients increase remuneration packages, rent pinball machines, or build a nap-room, we help them to ensure they are doing the cultural basics well: connecting with people's emotional experience, working to their strengths and values, coaching and developing them, and rewarding them in individually meaningful ways. Of course people need to be paid fairly, but if these other things are done well, we usually find that the pinball machines aren't needed...

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