Employers, employees view work differently: survey

Employers and employees often have different views on what attracted workers to a company or why they quit, a global survey of nearly 1,400 companies showed.

Anne Peiris

Employers and employees often have different views on what attracted workers to a company or why they quit, a global survey of nearly 1,400 companies showed.

Employers polled rated career development, corporate culture and base pay as their biggest selling points to prospective employees. But the job hunters rated the nature of the work, job security and base pay as their primary concerns, said Anne Peiris, a compensation consultant with Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

The company is an Arlington, Va.-based global consulting firm specializing in employment, technology solutions and financial services, which undertook the Strategic Rewards Survey in the spring of 2008.

Likewise, companies and their staff had a different take on why employees leave.

Corporations figured base pay, career development opportunities and promotion opportunities were key factors. But workers cited stress levels as the No. 1 reason.

Base pay and work-life balance were next. Employers didn’t include the balance between work and home life until fifth spot among considerations.

Against this backdrop, the survey of companies on five continents, including 125 in Canada, showed nearly three out of four have had trouble attracting skilled employees. And two out of three struggled to keep the skilled workers they had, said Peiris during a session at the Petroleum Services Association of Canada spring conference at the Capri Hotel and Convention Centre on Wednesday.

Peiris said the economic downturn has shifted the focus of companies from trying to find employees to support growth to seeking ways to recruit and retain people and keep them motivated at a time of budget trimming.

“If you’ve seen organizations where people have been let go, someone is picking up the workload quite often,” she said.

The Toronto-based consultant offered a few tips for companies that want to hold onto their best people to be ready for an economic turn-around.

Peiris recommended compensation and rewards programs be tied to the company’s goals and that the philosophy behind compensation be consistent across the corporation.

Companies must also be clear about what employees can expect in compensation and how performance targets will be met.

Too often, companies set a base salary and a total compensation target, but don’t have the program in place for anyone to actually reach the top income envisioned.


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