It's not just about job promotions and pay raises
It’s no secret that employees universally value promotions and pay raises. But they also want to feel heard, to do challenging work, to try new things, and to be continuously learning – in short, they want opportunity.
O.C. Tanner’s annual Global Culture Report gives a quantitative look at just what drives the employees of today. The company polled more than 14,000 employees at larger companies (500+ employees) from 12 different countries to better understand what is it that attracts and retains employees who produce great work.
Magnifying a section of that global research, it’s clear that employees want variety in their day-to-day job and working on special projects is a powerful way to satiate that desire.
According to the research, one in three (34%) Singapore employees would rather have variety in their day-to-day job than take a promotion, and half (54%) value the experience they gain more than their job titles. Cue the special projects.
In the past 12 months, half (49%) of respondents have worked on a special project, and out of those: three in four (76%) agreed that special projects help them grow in ways their day-to-day job cannot and nearly three in four (71%) say that working on a special project allowed them to connect with people they would not have normally met.
What’s more, employees who are able to participate in special projects are 50% more likely to believe they learn new and valuable things in their current role and there’s a 20% increase in overall job satisfaction
Being chosen to participate in a special project tells employees they are valued and skilled enough for the particular piece of work. It gives them visibility with leaders they may not normally work with and peers in other departments and provides exposure to other areas where they can learn new knowledge and skills.
While traditional advancement and compensation models are still important to employees and shouldn’t be ignored, this data suggests that working on special projects can lead to higher engagement and employee satisfaction, along with career advancement.
Singapore’s key results
1. Variety on the job? Yes please.
41% of respondents globally said they’d prefer variety in their day-to-day job over a promotion – the highest percentage was among Gen Z employees (52%), and it trends down with age:
- Gen Z: 52%
- Millennial: 45%
- Gen X: 38%
- Baby boomer: 39%
2. Who has the opportunity to work on special projects?
Two in five (43%) Singapore respondents actually wished that they had more opportunities to work on a special project.
Two in five (42%) Singapore respondents agree that they have the option outside of their day-to-day responsibilities to work on special projects.
One in five (23%) Singapore respondents report that they have additional bandwidth to work on these projects.
One in three (36%) Singapore respondents think that only the favourite employees have the chance to work on a special project.
Top three job functions that have the option to work on special projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities are:
- IT: 61%
- HR: 57%
- Executive/general administration: 56%
3. What does a special project look like?
Out of those who have worked on a special project in the past 12 months (49%), 37% spent 10 hours or less per week on the special project while 61% spent 20 hours or less per week.
Goals of the projects include:
- Improve an outdated process, procedure, or product: 40%
- Create a new process, procedure, or product: 39%
- Move the organisation forward in a direction that was new and/or challenging: 21%
4. The impact of a special project:
When an employee participates in a special project, they:
- are 50% more likely to believe they learn new and valuable things in their current role
- have a 26% increased sense of opportunity
- have a 25% increased satisfaction with leadership
- have a 20% increase in overall job satisfaction
When an employee participates in a special project and excels, they are:
- 78% more likely to believe their job is preparing them for their future career
- 70% more likely to believe they have the freedom to try new things
- 34% more likely to believe they have the opportunity to do their best work
- 20% more likely to have an increased sense of success
Opportunity helps employees feel they can make a difference in the organisation. It empowers them to influence important decisions that contribute to the company and take ownership in its success.
Employees now expect it from their workplaces. If your organisation doesn’t have a robust promotion track or significant raises, other forms of opportunity – like variety in work, special projects, and influence in important decisions – become much more critical to providing a sense of opportunity, and as a result, enhancing employee engagement.
The full 2018 Global Culture Report may be downloaded here