Ceridian's Pulse of Talent Report Reveals What High Performing Employees Value Most at Work

Great colleagues and interesting work are the top two reasons high-performing respondents stay at a job

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October 25, 2017

Ceridian, a global human capital management technology company, today released the results of its 2017 Pulse of Talent Report. The survey’s theme was Key Factors for Retaining Top Talent – a deep dive into why high-performing employees leave, or remain in their jobs. The Report, which was conducted by The Nielsen Company on behalf of Ceridian, asked 1,602 U.S. and Canadian employees about their views on work, job hunting and retention.

“Organizations need top talent to succeed, and the key to retention is building a culture of excellence,” said Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer, Ceridian. “Our data shows organizations that want to keep their best people need to invest in their culture, and the elements that maintain that culture: authentic values, clearly articulated business goals, learning and development, and the flexibility today’s worker demands.”

The survey’s findings show employee loyalty is about more than money: it’s about positive relationships, strong teams and values representative of the organization. Key survey findings include:

  • A high-performance culture starts with clearly defined values. High-performing respondents were more likely than all other respondents to:
    • Work for companies that have clear values (85 percent versus 72 percent)
    • Know their company’s business goals (72 percent versus 49 percent)
  • A high-performance culture requires flexibility and investment.
    • Nine in 10 respondents (91 percent) identified learning and development opportunities as important
    • More than two-thirds of U.S. high performers have flexible work policies, such as the ability to work-from-home, compared to 34 per cent of all U.S. respondents

Generational Differences

The Report also delved into differences between generations of workers. Among the findings:

  • Gen X and older Millennial respondents (30- to 48-year-olds) from the U.S. were the most positive about where they work: they tend to be happiest with how much they’re paid (72 percent versus 44 percent of Canadian respondents), believe they have a good work-life balance (83 percent versus 58 percent of Canadian respondents) and are less discouraged about going to work each day, with only 6 percent saying they have negative feelings about the daily grind (versus 17 percent of Canadian respondents in this age bracket).
  • Boomers over the age of 49 are, perhaps unsurprisingly, least likely to be job hunting. Only 12 percent of American Boomers surveyed are actively hunting, compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 22 percent of Gen Y and Z.
  • Millennials and Gen Z (respondents 18-29) were the least job loyal, with 63 percent believing that the optimal time to stick with an employer is less than five years.

Culture will Retain Employees

The Report’s results show an engaging work culture – measured by positive relationships with managers and colleagues, as well as interesting work – will convince respondents to stay. Nearly half of all high performers (49 percent) listed coworkers as a reason to stay at their current employer – slightly more important than salary (48 percent). Other reasons included interesting work (47 percent), good working conditions (46 percent) and job security (46 percent).

“While salary creates a baseline for happiness at work, it isn’t everything,” said Sterling. “Organizations looking to retain their most effective employees need to invest in a culture that will keep them happy. Work/life balance, opportunity for advancement, and a positive work environment all play a role.”

“Organizations looking to attract and retain tomorrow’s best workers need to get beyond engagement,” she said. “They must begin thinking about their culture holistically – what their values are, how those values will encourage positive relationships, and allow employees to grow and develop in their careers.”

Download the 2017 Pulse of Talent Report.

The 2017 Pulse of Talent Report was conducted by The Nielsen Company through its online research panel over the summer of 2017. 1,602 respondents from the U.S. and Canada were polled. Respondents represented salaried and hourly workers, as well as a mix of full-time and part-time employees 18 years of age and older.

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