If I asked you how you defined success in your job and/or career, what would you say? Would it be getting the kind of salary you desire or achieving the promotion you always sought? You may think such thoughts are commonplace, but a recent survey from Right Management suggests that defining success in terms of high performance is something only a minority of us do.
The findings are fascinating, both from an employee and employer perspective, as they come at a time when engagement among the workforce is at incredibly low levels. Better understanding of what motivates us, therefore, is a crucial element in improving matters.
What Employees Want
"High performers have a disproportionate impact on business results," the researchers at Right Management say. "Talent shortages for in-demand skills persist and have caused HR departments worldwide to rethink how they develop and motivate individuals to meet performance goals. To attract and retain top talent, organizations must make development a priority and enable their leaders to mentor employees to expand their skills, capabilities, and experience."
The survey discovered that nearly half of employees regard a good work/life balance as the most important thing in their career, with the most important aspect of a successful workplace being happiness.
"People are happy and engaged at work when they are inspired," the researchers continue. "Understanding employee career motivations and aspirations is key to creating a high performance culture that motivates individuals to do their best work. When individuals experience effective career development through ongoing career conversations with their managers, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and ready to take on new challenges."
Work Life Balance is More Important than Performance
The finding around work-life balance is particularly important, as it underlines how important our entire life is, rather than just our working life. Nearly three times as many people chose having a great work life balance than they did being the best at what they do, with the trend particularly strong in Europe and among the millennial generation.
This is reflected in the finding that success is more likely to be defined by happiness than it is by either having a good salary or even doing the best work. Once again, this trend is particularly strong in European countries.
The report also highlighted the importance of respect emerging from leaders in an organisation. Over half of employees revealed that their prime expectation from their bosses is for respect to be shown to their knowledge. Other desirable traits included trust and transparency, with a degree of development and coaching also appearing popular.
Trust was a common theme throughout the report, with well over half of employees revealing that they expected mutual trust from peers at work. A sizeable number also showing how important a meritocratic environment was for them.
Last, but not least, respondents also highlighted the kind of things that would make them jump ship from their employer. Top of the list was, not surprisingly, the ability to gain better work/life balance, although higher pay also appeared to be a prime reason.
See Also: How to Answer "How Do You Define Success?"
The findings are an interesting insight into the minds of the modern workforce. You can find out more in the infographic attached to this post. Do you agree with the findings? Let me know in the comments below.