Have you ever played ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ as an icebreaker at a company meeting?  Here’s how it goes: you share three things about yourself to the other meeting attendees, and they need to figure out which two are true, and which is a lie. [My typical contribution is “I have 30 first cousins; I ran track competitively in high school; and I’ve studied five languages”.] 

Ok, now that you understand the premise of the game, let’s play. Here’s the context: SAP and Oxford Economics recently co-sponsored a major research study in 27 countries, with 5,400 executives and employees participating.  The objective was to understand how demographic shifts, technological advances, and changing attitudes are affecting the workforce.

Here are the two truths and a lie (well, at least a myth) from this study:

Finding 1 – There is a disconnect between the compensation and benefits that employees want, and what companies offer (TRUE).

The biggest gaps: Employees want more competitive compensation, retirement plans, flexible work location, vacation, flexible schedules, and education.

ttaal 1.png

Finding 2 – Executives value education and loyalty far ahead of performance (TRUE).

Surprisingly, job performance and results is ranked #10 by executives as the most valued employee attributes.  That really surprised me.

ttaal 2.png

Finding 3 – Women are more interested than men in the quality of life over career path (FALSE).

In fact – 51% of men responded they wanted more focus on the quality of life over career, versus 47% of women.

ttaal 3.png

With five generations in the workplace and evolving expectations of workers, we are seeing a huge shift in what matters to employees, what matters to executives, and how companies are addressing this.  Progressive companies are taking a fresh look at compensation, benefits, and learning programs, as well as tools and policies to enable employees to work flexibly.

More employees, managers, and teams work in different locations, and on different schedules. This has changed the way routine communication occurs and how feedback is delivered.  The days of MBWA (management by walking around) are passé in many organizations, and good managers have found new ways to monitor employee work, provide feedback, and create a sense of team spirit.

Three of my favorite ways to bridge this gap with my team are:

  • Web-based collaboration sites that allow information to be shared and enable true knowledge management,
  • Performance processes and systems that encourage on-going discussion
  • Video-enabled conference calls to see each other and minimize the dreaded multi-tasking

What do you think matters most to workers?  If you want to hear more about this topic, please register for the upcoming What Matters Most at Work webinar on December 3, 2014.  For more information on the Workforce 2020 study and to download the report, please visit our Workforce of the Future hub.

[By the way, anyone who knows me at all knows that I most definitely did not run track in high school.]

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