Mercer: 42% of satisfied workers are leaving their job

02 December 2015

Almost half (42%) of very satisfied workers are planning to leave their job, a survey from Mercer shows. Especially Millenials and Senior Managers, who both among the most satisfied employees, are eyeing an exit. According to the consulting firm, companies will need to adjust their talent strategies to reflect the new ways of working people want today in order to retain their employees.

Global health, wealth and career consultancy Mercer recently released the results of its 'Inside Employees’ Minds' research, for which the consulting firm surveyed a total of 3,010 US workers, 18+ years old, never retired, working full time or part time at for-profit organisations.

Eyeing an exit

The survey shows that 37% of US employees are currently seriously considering leaving their job, a number that is up from 33% in 2011. Especially the millennial generation is eyeing an exit, as almost half (44%) wants to move on to another job. According to Patrick Tomlinson, North American Business Leader for Talent at Mercer, this derives from the ‘here and now’ philosophy these Millennials bring to their careers. Older workers, who are 65+ or within the 50-64 age group, are least likely to plan an exit, at 14% and 29% respectively. 

According to Mercer, the number of people wanting to leave is even higher among very satisfied people. Of the employees very satisfied with their organisations as many as 45% want to leave, while of the people very satisfied with their job 42% is looking to leave.

US workers seriously considering leaving

Senior managers, of all ages, are most likely to seek new opportunities. In this rank, as many as 63% are seriously considering to leave their job, compared to 39% of managers and 32% of non-management employees.

This is interesting as the survey reveals that senior managers also tend to be the most satisfied. 93% is satisfied with their job, around 20% higher than average of 72%, and 94% with their organisation, compared to the 68% average. Almost nine out of ten (88%) senior managers, for instance, would recommend their organisation to others, while the percentage drops to 66% for management employees and to 50% on the non-management level.

Senior management more satisfied

“The survey confirms what employers have been seeing first-hand — a workforce in transition and, increasingly, one on the move,” comments Tomlinson on the survey results. “The new twist is that the inclination to leave is increasingly detached from employees’ satisfaction with jobs, pay, and even growth opportunities. Employers need to shift their talent strategies to understand the modern terms of engagement from the most productive employees.” According to him, “the future of successful work relationships between employer and employee will depend on depend on the trifecta of health, wealth and career — and how you make them all flexible to reflect the way people want to work today and what they are looking for in the employment relationship.”


Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

17 April 2019

Soft skills matter in the workplace just as much as technical expertise, writes Samantha Caine, Managing Director of Business Linked Teams.

For too long technical expertise has been seen as the marker of a strong candidate for development into a sales or leadership position. Sales and leadership candidates are tasked with demonstrating a diverse and wide-ranging set of technical skills, yet their aptitude in these technical skills or ‘hard skills’ cannot signify great leadership potential. This is why a healthy balance of soft skills and technical ability is required. 

So what exactly is the difference between technical skills and soft skills? In engineering, it’s crucial to demonstrate knowledge of physics as well as a strong grasp on mathematical equations. Yet, in any industry, it’s important for leaders to be able to interact with other people effectively with soft skills like communication, empathy and adaptability. 

Business Linked Team’s 2018 study into internal leadership development revealed that 69% of large organisations are prioritising the identification and development of future leaders from within the workforce. As more and more organisations begin to invest in sales or leadership development within their existing workforces, more focus needs to be placed on ensuring the right soft skills are in place. 

With those soft skills in place throughout the workforce, the business will benefit from a wider pool of potential leaders developing under their noses, and it should be the same where sales candidates are concerned. 

It’s not just about easier access to ideal candidates for these positions without the rigmarole of recruiting from outside of the organisation. The leadership development study also found that 89% of HR decision makers say succession planning has become a top priority. Those currently serving in leadership positions can’t lead forever and the same goes for those generating sales for the business.

Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

From people leaving for new opportunities or retirement, to people simply stepping aside to focus on other areas of the business, successful leaders and salespeople require experienced and capable successors that will be ready and able to confidently step into their shoes and pick up the mantle without the business experiencing any lapse in performance.

Soft skills make stronger candidates

When it comes to the soft skills required, a strong leader must be able to manage through clear communication and effective time management, coaching and goal setting. They must be able to demonstrate empathy and empower their teams to be successful, productive and fully engaged. And beyond simply giving direction, they must also be able to take direction from those above them and cascade the business strategy down through their teams. 

A strong sales candidate must possess the ability to communicate value to the customer, negotiate well and protect margin or the ability to increase the scope of a particular sales opportunity. 

With the relevant soft skills in place, the business will benefit from increased productivity, greater agility against changing market conditions and greater transparency. In turn, this will provide visibility on issues and inefficiencies while removing opportunity for miscommunication. All of this can transform the culture of a department, improving employee satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. 

Ultimately, developing leadership or sales candidates will require the business to strike the right balance between technical skills and soft skills, and this requires an effective and sustained learning journey.

A balanced learning journey

Facilitating and supporting the development of leadership and sales is best achieved by establishing training groups. By cultivating training groups, businesses are creating talent pools that will inspire and support each other on the learning journey. However, personal goals and learning objectives must be defined for each individual based on their own existing skillsets and the skills that each individual needs to develop. 

With the emergence of e-learning, businesses recognise the value of online-based learning activities, yet many make the mistake of opting for one-size-fits-all solutions which are solely focused on self-study. A development solution will only deliver true return on investment if it combines e-learning activities with group learning activities that provide opportunity for shared experiences and support.

A blended learning solution that combines self-study and face-to-face group learning activities will aid strong development of the talent pool through shared experiences. Through these shared experiences, those undergoing the training will organically develop a support network that supports the development of the group as much as it supports the development of each individual. 

The blended learning approach is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that socially supported interactions aid the individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self. The strongest opportunities for development can be unlocked by blending workshops with online activities such as virtual sessions, peer coaching, self-study, online games and business simulations. But it’s crucial to provide a blend of one-to-one and group sessions too.

Beyond delivering a better learning outcome for the employee, the blended learning approach allows organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to shifting business demands in an ever-changing landscape.