Reward, Communicate, Differentiate

Employee trust is in the pits, and worker engagement is anemic. With generational differences gaining attention and more than a third of employees overall looking around for a different job, how can an employer win?

Aon Hewitt’s Inside the Employee Mindset took a look at what motivates employees and came up with some statistics that might help your strategic team reformulate some of your corporate plans to respond better to what employees really want.

When it comes to rewards, competition drives engagement. Employees are 57% more engaged when total rewards are seen as competitive and 50% more engaged when base pay is. They are 300% more engaged when their career development program is seen as competitive. So the better they perform, the more access they would get to pay, other compensation and career-boosting opportunities. That could suggest changes for your training, travel, mentoring, stock option, bonus, benefits and pay structures.

Communication is one of the primary points employees cited in the Aon Hewitt study as part of a quality workplace. Employees who felt not only free to share but encouraged to share ideas and opinions were 3.5 times more engaged. The same effect was experienced by employees whose managers share information and provide input. And employees whose senior leadership is viewed as open and honest are about 500% more engaged. Respondents also told researchers they want authentic and hyper-relevant communication delivered through a variety of channels. That suggests that your communications director might need to take a look at internal communications to see if top-down information flow matches employees’ methods of receiving corporate news and guidance. It also might indicate new channels could be needed for bottom-up communication.

Qualified employees have an advantage in today’s market and are looking hard at their own employers and other opportunities to see if there is any differentiation in companies. They are looking for flexibility, innovation and enjoyment in the workplace, the study finds. They also expect to be able to communicate clearly, completely and honestly, and they expect that kind of interaction to flow both ways. They want their achievements recognized, and—while they value competitive rewards programs—they also desire collaboration and teamwork. The trick is to reward individual achievements under a competitive system while encouraging collaboration between co-workers. The companies that can devise a reward system that does both have an opportunity to differentiate themselves in today’s talent market.