Bosses, Workers Not In Sync over Recruiting Impacts

November 15, 2006 ( - A new survey finds that organizations and their employees do not see eye to eye when it comes to gauging the impact of pay, health care and retirement plans on attracting talented workers and keeping their professional engines revved up.

A Watson Wyatt news release said that, for example, 71% of top-performing employees describe the size of their pay check as one of the top three reasons they would head for the doorway, but only 45% of employers see pay as a significant driver of the worker retention. The top two reasons, according to employers: promotion opportunities (68%) and career development (66%).

“The employer-employee deal is changing, and so are employees’ priorities,” said Laura Sejen, director of strategic rewards consulting at Watson Wyatt, in the news release. “Regardless of whether companies are retaining the older ‘lifetime career’ deal or a newer, less paternalistic deal, it is important to balance business goals with the rewards that employees value. Firms that do not get the pay-benefits mix right risk losing some of their best talent.”

For the third straight year, hiring managers say they are still struggling to pull in and hang onto employees, particularly critical-skill and top-performing employees. More than half (63%) of employers report a moderate or high level of problem in attracting critical-skill staff, and 39% report moderate or high difficulty in retaining them.

At the same time, relatively few employees (19%) cite difficulty in finding another job as a key reason they stick around and 15% of top performers are not sure about their future plans.

A factor in that indecision may be the difference between what employees value and what employers think they value, according to the poll. Overall, 86% of companies think they do a good job of treating employees well. Only 55% of employees agree. Furthermore, 54% of employers say they will do a better job of treating employees well over the next three years; only 24% of employees make the same prediction.

These findings are based on a recent survey of 262 large US companies across all industries and a survey of 1,100 workers conducted by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a global consulting firm, and WorldatWork, the association for human resources professionals.

Copies of the survey are available for purchase here . A free registration is required.