U.S. Employees’ Willingness To Go Above And Beyond At Work Hits Three-Year Low, According to Gartner

The number of U.S. employees willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in the workplace has dropped by nearly 10 percentage points over the last three years, according to Gartner, Inc. In the most recent Global Talent Monitor report for 2Q18, only 17.8 percent of U.S. workers expressed high levels of discretionary effort, versus 27 percent in 2Q15.

In addition to U.S. employees putting forth less effort at work, employees’ confidence in business conditions globally fell for the first time since 1Q16, countering the steady improvement in workers’ perceptions in the business landscape over the past two years.

“A higher number of employees have expressed a growing dissatisfaction with rewards, compensation and opportunities, which has resulted in a decrease in the amount of effort employees are putting forth at work,” said Brian Kropp, group vice president of Gartner’s HR practice. “This disappointment, coupled with strong economic conditions and a candidate-driven labor market means many workers are not incentivized to work harder nor are they concerned about losing their jobs through dismissals or layoffs.”

Opportunities for Career Growth Essential for Worker Motivation

Nearly 40 percent of workers in the U.S. — and globally — ranked lack of future career opportunities as the most dissatisfying attribute at a previous job. Compensation, which was previously the number one driver of attrition, is now the second most important attribute for U.S. and global workers.

“With recent U.S. reports showing little growth year over year in real earnings, workers hope to achieve more satisfaction in their jobs through better titles and opportunities to advance and grow in their current careers,” said Mr. Kropp. “To prevent further reduction in workplace effort and to retain top talent, employers should pay closer attention to employee dissatisfaction about the lack of career opportunities, particularly if wage growth remains stagnate.”

Continued Challenge to Attract and Retain Talent

To succeed in a tight labor market, organizations must retain their top performers while attracting new talent. The companies that succeed are those that have a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that differentiates them from the competition and speaks to what employees want most; i.e., career development opportunities, competitive compensation and work-life balance.

“Leading organizations are able to use their employment brand to illustrate why their career opportunities are better than their competitors,” added Mr. Kropp. “A company’s EVP directly correlates to employee engagement levels, as workers are more likely to work harder and stay in their current positions if they are highly satisfied with their company’s EVP offerings. Gartner data shows that organizations with high levels of employee engagement report financial outcomes three times higher than firms with lower engagement levels.”

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that is sourced from almost 20,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

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