Employers underestimate importance of work/life balance

The top career aspiration among employees is achieving a good work/life balance

There is a major disconnect between employers’ performance goals and employees’ key drivers and aspirations, according to a recent research report, which found that employees value work/life balance over achievement and salary.

The report found that the top career aspiration among employees is achieving a good work/life balance, and the top definition of workplace success is enjoyment or happiness.

Some 45 per cent of employees aspire to achieve a work/life balance (more than double the number of employees that aspire to be the best at what they do, at 17 per cent).

Baby Boomers are more likely to be motivated by high performance (22 per cent) while Millennials are more interested in earning a lot of money (17 per cent).

Only three per cent of employees aspire to achieve a prominent position.

Employees are also most likely to leave for better work/life balance or higher pay.

The equal top motivations for changing jobs are the desire for a better work/life balance and higher compensation, with Millennials being particularly motivated by this.

The next top motivators for leaving are finding a different work culture or more challenging assignments.

When it comes to success, the research suggested that enjoyment or happiness at work trumps performance and salary

One quarter of employees define success in the workplace as enjoyment/happiness, followed by salary, doing the best work, respect and recognition and high performance.

The employer-employee disconnect
“These results demonstrate a major disconnect between employers and their staff,” said Bridget Beattie, executive vice president of Asia Pacific Middle East for Right Management, which conducted The Global Career Aspiration Survey.

“The world over, employers are focused on performance goals and creating a high performance environment to get the most out of their workforce,” said Beattie.

“Talent shortages for in-demand skills persist and have caused HR departments globally to rethink how they develop and motivate individuals to meet performance goals.”

To attract and retain top talent, organisations must first understand their career motivations and aspirations, and Beattie said this is key to creating a culture that inspires individuals to do their best work.

“Organisations need to be open to flexible work options, while ensuring all employees receive effective career development and competitive wages and benefits,” she said.

“This will help people feel happy about their work and more likely to be engaged, motivated and ready to take on new challenges.”

Performance and leadership
The report also found that, across generations, defining workplace success as high performance is reported evenly by Millenials (10 per cent), Gen X (11 per cent) and Baby Boomers (8 per cent).

Employees also expect competitive wages and benefits. In terms of what employees expect from their workplace, the most common expectation is competitive wages and benefits, followed by good relationships with colleagues and management, and reasonable work hours. Baby Boomers are more likely to expect these over other generations.

The research, which took in 1,225 employees from countries including Canada, USA, the UK, Australia, India and Singapore, also found that employees want leaders to respect and trust them, and the majority of employees say respect for their knowledge and experience is their top expectation of leadership.

Others include mutual trust, transparency, learning and development and a relationship of equals regardless of job title.

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