THE HUMAN TOUCH FOR TECH TALENT EMPLOYEE RETENTION COULD BE AS SIMPLE AS THANK YOU

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1 THE HUMAN TOUCH FOR TECH TALENT EMPLOYEE RETENTION COULD BE AS SIMPLE AS THANK YOU

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Top talent, particularly in the tech industry, remains increasingly difficult to attract, recruit, and retain. Some 90% of employers say finding the right talent is a prime issue facing their executive team. It isn t for a lack of trying: the C-suite estimates that nearly one-third of their HR budget is spent solely on recruiting and retaining these workers 1. Businesses are allocating more resources than ever before toward appealing to prized candidates; once unusual perks like fully stocked kitchens, nap rooms, and unlimited vacation are becoming increasingly commonplace. And yet, even when employers are able to attract top hires and deliver benefits that even a decade ago seemed fantastical, overall levels of employee engagement remain low. If these highly valued workers are in such a position of power that they have big business trying to cater to their every need, why do they still seem so unhappy? This report, The Human Touch for Tech Talent: Employee Retention Could Be as Simple as Thank You, highlights sentiments from the voice of the worker. It is based on research conducted by Appirio through the SnapApp platform in May of MANAGERS MOVE THE NEEDLE While companies may try to lure prime candidates with outlandish perks, generous bonus structures, and overinflated salaries, what workers actually want may be much simpler and considerably less expensive. It is accepted that workers leave managers, not companies and they choose to accept jobs for managers, too. While leaders may assume pay and career pathing are the most important issues a candidate examines when evaluating an offer, workers are far more concerned with more intangible benefits. Some 60% of respondents said that when analyzing a job offer, it is most important to know whether the staff feel appreciated by the prospective manager. Only 5% of respondents said it was most important to understand how quickly they could climb the corporate ladder, while just 4% were most concerned with knowing how often employees were evaluated for raises. While recruiters may think focusing on total compensation is the best way to win over a prized candidate, workers would rather assess the chemistry between their prospective manager and the team and 1 IT Talent Wars and the Gig Economy: Is the C-Suite ready for the Future of Work?, Wakefield Research and Appirio,

3 for good reason; a manager can make or break the employee experience. When evaluating traits of an ideal manager, more employees ranked having a boss who acts as their advocate (33%) above having a clear path to a promotion (22%), receiving regular performance reviews and feedback (17%), earning incentivebased bonuses (12%), or even being beloved by senior executives (12%). While fair market pay and benefits get the candidate to accept an offer, the dynamic of the manager-employee relationship may be a better indicator of employee satisfaction. If I had to choose just one, I'd rather: If I were interviewing at a new company, I d most care about: That satisfaction isn t necessarily directly correlated with compensation. When asked to reflect on the qualities of their worst bosses, it wasn t the penny-pinchers who were cheap with raises and stingy with promotions who suffered. Rather, emotionally distant and uncommunicative managers were recalled as the worst leaders. Workers said the worst traits a manager could display were: failing to give the worker credit for a job well done (32%), rarely giving praise or expressing support (28%), failing to help them navigate the road to a promotion (24%), and viewing them as a replaceable 3

4 cog in the machine (13%). Just 3% of workers felt the worst thing a boss could do was refuse to give bonuses or raises. Emotional safety at work the idea that an employee is seen, valued, and appreciated is prioritized over more traditional markers of success. Looking back, my worst bosses: 4

5 BONUSES ARE JUST BAND-AIDS At my current job, I feel: Though top talent is courted by prospective employers more aggressively than ever before, worker satisfaction isn t keeping pace; some 47% of respondents reported being less than fully engaged with their job. The disengaged worker isn t just a morale issue for HR to fix. These unhappy employees are a resource drain on the company. They are less productive than engaged workers, deliver sub-par customer experiences, and are expensive to replace when they eventually move on. Managers go to great lengths to retain and re-energize qualified but disengaged talent, typically offering traditional incentives such as bigger bonuses, raises, and title promotions. But assuming a worker is paid a fair market rate, bonuses and other cash incentives are only a temporary fix to the deeper and harder-tosolve problem of establishing meaningful personal connections in the digital age. 5

6 Respondents showed a clear desire to connect with their peers and feel like a valued part of a group. When asked how they d most like to celebrate completion of a major project, workers most wanted to gather with their colleagues to enjoy the success as a team (36%), followed by bonding over a small bonus or gift (28%), an from their manager expressing their gratitude (19%), being assigned to an exciting new project (14%), or having an audience with the CEO (3%). What's the best way your boss can show appreciation for a tough project that is finally completed? While managers might think their direct reports are disappointed when big projects don t translate into equally big raises, the majority of workers again value a human expression of appreciation for a job well done: a thank you (55%). In fact, workers who said they would feel disappointed if a successful project wasn t met with a gift or cash reward are in the minority (8%). When I go above and beyond to do a great job, I'd be most disappointed if: 6

7 PROVIDING A HUMAN TOUCH IN THE DIGITAL AGE The same desire for emotional safety is seen when workers evaluate their own workplace personality, or the way in which they prefer to communicate with their manager. Most value open and transparent communication (47%) over any other work language. Respondents who valued tokens of appreciation (either in the form of money or gifts) were in the minority at only 8%. My worker personality/work language is: Obsolete or outdated legacy technology may be partially to blame for the lack of connection workers feel. Some 52% of respondents say they spend at least half of their workday navigating outdated and complicated systems. Implementing consumer-grade technology may not only relieve some of this frustration, but it can also help foster the sense of connection workers so desperately want by enabling opportunities to more easily connect with peers and managers virtually. 7

8 METHODOLOGY The Human Touch for Tech Talent: Employee Retention Could Be as Simple as a Thank You was conducted by Appirio among 657 total respondents between April 6, 2016 and May 28, 2016, using an online survey on the SnapApp platform. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of respondents. The demographic breakdown of respondents is as follows: Age 18 to 25: A total of 58 respondents Age 26 to 35: A total of 225 respondents Age 36 to 45: A total of 205 respondents Age 46 to 55: A total of 108 respondents Age 60+: A total of 5 respondents Unspecified: A total of 56 respondents Worker EXPERIENCE Customer EXPERIENCE A Different Experience We believe Worker and Customer Experience are intrinsically linked and must be addressed together. By leveraging cloud technology, new ways of working like crowdsourcing, and using solution accelerators to rapidly build and integrate solutions, customers can create both amazing Worker and Customer Experiences that drive profitability and growth. ACTIONABLE STRATEGY CLOUD IMPLEMENTATION & INTEGRATION CHANGE ENABLEMENT APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT ONGOING SUPPORT About Appirio Appirio is a global services company that helps customers create next-generation Worker and Customer Experiences using the latest cloud technologies. Our free thinking consultants deliver unmatched customer value by creating actionable strategies, delivering results quickly, and helping organizations adapt to a new experience-driven era. We do this by harnessing the power of one of the world s largest crowdsourcing communities and thousands of pre-built solution accelerators. Appirio is a trusted partner to some of the world s largest brands, including YP, Cardinal Health, Coca-Cola, ebay, Facebook, Home Depot, Sony PlayStation, Moen, and IBM.

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