In Box: From cope-ability to capability

Employee behaviour is changing and managers need to take notice, according to talent management firm, Right Management.
As New Zealand’s labour market shows signs of strengthening and conditions improve for job seekers, employees are starting to change their behaviour. They’re beginning to shift from being simply survivors to adopt what is termed “navigator behaviour”.
Right Management’s recent survey of salary and work expectations shows what the company calls “unmistakable” signs that subtle shift is occurring, from “cope-ability” to the far healthier “capability” behaviours seen in career navigators. But the company warns that the shift brings attendant risks to managers tempted to take back to “business as usual” approach.
In positive and supportive work environments, this shift will encourage discretionary effort, where motivated employees do more than just the bare minimum needed for survival. But in environments where pay, conditions, work-life balance and opportunities are not market average or better, staff begin to vote with their feet, using their increased confidence and navigator behaviours to explore what lies outside.
The Right Management Salary Expectations Survey established that:
Money and balance both matter: It is important to offer both life-work balance and attractive remuneration to retain staff.
Management quality is critical: Employees will be less tolerant of poor managers when things improve. Many respondents considered manager quality more important than remuneration.
Gender and age are significant: There are marked differences between women and men, as well as in age groups. While women rate the quality of their manager as top three factor, for example, men only rate this at seventh. To 40-59 year olds, remuneration is far less important than it is for 18-39 age group.
Geography makes difference: Location plays an important role. Compared with the rest of the country, Aucklanders value remuneration significantly more than other factors such as manager quality.
Managers need to consider the typical age profile of employees, the breakdown of male-female mix and the physical location to ensure they have sound retention strategies in place for all their capable employees.
Right Management senior consultant and registered psychologist Adrienne Calder says that understanding factors influencing employee engagement is particularly critical at these times.
“Organisations keen to retain their employees often use employee engagement surveys to develop awareness of their people’s intention to stay, and determine critical issues affecting this,” she says.
“By addressing key issues, employers can improve levels of engagement, costly turnover can be avoided, and productivity and profitability increased.”
The survey results are based on 510 online responses from people in paid employment.

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