2005 Employee Magnet & Motivator Survey


2005 Survey Says…Job Security Remains #1 Employee Magnet & Motivator!


Advancement Gains Steam in #2 Spot!
Employees Choose to Pay for Health Provider Choices!
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More than 1400 employees speak out, informing employers how to best allocate human capital investments!  Successful survey validates last year’s findings (ranked #1 worldwide by Google, AOL and Yahoo at search = "employee motivators"), proving extreme reliability while illustrating key changes this year!   Participants include all categories and compensation levels of employees within 90 miles of metro-Milwaukee, tallied by pay categories and job classifications.  Aggregate findings resemble a typical employer’s composition by compensation and job classification mix.  Highlights follow, detailing 2005 results and comparing to 2004.

What do you consider to be most important to you overall in your job?
  Today  Last Year 
Job Security   41%  48%
Career Advancement Potential   24%  15%
Training & Positive Feedback   14%  15%
Money/Immediate Compensation   14%  14%
Benefits & Perks    8%   8%


Does this mean employers can substantially lower training wages while effectively attracting quality candidates?  No!  We already know that financial gain is a primary goal of employment.  Studies indicate that employees will not sacrifice more than 10% of immediate wage for promise of advancement.  Candidates will still choose a permanent job over a temporary job and may sacrifice up to -- but no more than -- 15% of immediate pay in doing so. Consider human capital costs of turnover or substandard performance to optimize “bang for your buck” when setting wages. Degreed professionals, management, sales, manufacturing, skilled trades, distribution and “other” employee categories all valued money above benefits, while administrative support and customer service respondents valued benefits over money.

Training and feedback remain top change management tools.  High earners value future company model as top priority. Knowledge of individual gain remains important, especially for core employees earning $25K and less, yet it decreased slightly, indicating that employees are beginning to trust change.  Trust, as we know, is often built through delivery of promises and positive outcomes.  Warehouse and distribution personnel responded with substantially more concern for job descriptions than other employee categories.   Employees choose to pay more for expanded health provider choices.     Supervisors continue to grow less patient. (See "Interpretations" below.)

Employers are currently battling rising health insurance premiums.  If given a choice, which of the following would you prefer?

  Today  Last Year 
Increased Employee Contribution To Premium   40%  33%
Increased Employee "Out of Pocket" per Medical Visit   33%  33%
Less Physician/Facility Choices   27%  34%
Most organizational teams have faced increased pressures, challenges and anxieties over the past 2+ years.  How has your immediate supervisor's behavior changed in the last 12 months?

  Today   Last Year 
More Difficult, Less Reasonable and/or Less Pleasant   68%  73%
Less Difficult, More Reasonable and/or More Pleasant?   32%  27%
Today's employer is experiencing significant company change.    As change is asked of you, indicate which of the following is most important to you.

  Today  Last Year 
Increased Training and Feedback   54%  48%
Clear Vision/Model of Future Organization               23%  22%
Your Future Job Description   16%  16%
Your Individual Gain from Change    7%  14%
If your employer were to provide you with only one of the following, which one would you choose as "most helpful"?

  Today   Last Year 
Job Description   40%  40%
Written Performance Review                                               39%  38%
Employee Handbook   21%  22%

Demographic Composite of Aggregate Data:

By compensation level 50% of participants identified themselves earning between $25 and 50K annual.  41% identified themselves earning less than $25K annual.  9% claimed to earn above $50K annual.  This mix is similar to the composition of a typical mid to large-sized employer.  Smaller employers tend to offer higher average pay.

By career category 31% of participants identified themselves as Administrative Support, Office or Customer Service.  26% identified themselves in Manufacturing and/or Skilled Trades.  24% claimed Professional, Managerial, Degreed and/or Sales occupations.  19% identified their work as Distribution, Warehouse or Transportation. 


Validity & Reliability

Employee survey aggregate statistics remained consistent throughout compilation, with percentages unchanging beyond the 40% data entry checkpoint both years.  Survey reliability was further strongly evidenced by certain percentages unchanging from year to year.

Both employee and employer surveys were purposefully conducted across “real world” demographics to yield aggregate data appropriate to employer decision making.  Participants were invited through a variety of sources including those candidates who applied to positions at hundreds of area employers across a strong sampling of job classifications.  Area employers were invited through HRS newsletter and websites to encourage participation by their employees as well.  Data was collected via blind Internet "ASP" format, as well as, in person via blind ballot box depository.  To protect data integrity, responses were anonymous.

Survey results are further validated by and directly correlated to daily HRS operational findings. Those findings are attained through  ongoing  individual consultation and research of employer practices, as well as, changing employee mindsets and motivators.

Employee surveys can be further validated via HRS or self-implementation within individual employers.  Complimentary “licensing” of this exact survey may be obtained through written request to HRS.  HRS written permission will constitute licensing.  Individual organizational findings may vary according to employer culture, and those findings may be beneficial in validating and comparing an employer’s culture and team profile against what is established by this specific study as the “norm.”

Comparing to Benchmarks

Our employee survey augments the following studies.  Given the changes in today’s employment environment, we asked respondents to choose between related intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.  Our questions did not replicate these studies.

    • 69% of in-place employees surveyed seek “respectful treatment from their boss” as the #1 reason to stay in a    job.  64% of those employees seek “coaching and feedback.”   The Hay Group

    • 80% of candidates consider the availability of company training when deciding to take a job.  Gallup Survey/Wall Street Journal Almanac

    • In a nationwide survey of 2,000 workers, 69% said they find praise and recognition from their bosses more motivating than money. 80% said recognition or praise motivates them to do a better job. Gallup Survey/PC Week



The shift from Job Security to Career Advancement priorities is a positive indicator that employees are feeling fortunate enough to once again trust in not only keeping a job, but also advancing in it.  The fact that still less than 1 of 4 employees is prioritizing advancement may speak to either lacking hope or motivation.

Because employer coping skills in recessionary times forced a substantial amount of "promise breaking" to employees regarding raises, promotions and job longevity, employee trust was adversely impacted.  Employees, therefore, are currently quite guarded in sacrificing short term for long term objectives.  The long term has simply been too questionable in recent years.

Employees didn't at first realize their individual preferences for health insurance cutbacks.  They first needed to experience the change before knowing what they might be missing.  The fact that employees are willing to pay for expanded provider choices speaks volumes regarding our concern for appropriate medical care.

Distribution employees demonstrated a stronger concern for job descriptions.  Could this be due to inadequate job descriptions being prepared across the board for these employees?  Are we as a business community overestimating our ability to deliver adequate job descriptions do this group?  Do "logistics" employees believe they are fairly evaluated and adequately trained?

Administrative support and customer service employees value benefits over money.  Does this speak to the demographic of employees attracted to these positions?  Do these field candidates find that money is fairly consistent between employers while benefits are not?  Until the recent explosion of creative benefits replacing traditional health benefits, health insurance was the most popularly sought benefit.  Are these employees often parents or single earners who more strongly scrutinize medical benefits?

How Do We Use This Data?


As employers, most simply stated, we use this data to apportion our human capital investments aligned with employee motivators!  For any labor intensive employer, the enhanced ability to attract, retain and motivate the most appropriate employees is key to optimizing the bottom line.  If you can apply the knowledge of what labor expenses are most key to both organizational and employee objectives...why wouldn't you?

As employees, we use this data to adjust our expectations in the workplace.  We learn what employees in other organizations are needing, lacking, getting and valuing.  We empower ourselves to understand our own pursuits, as well as, the competitive marketplace, and we know what to expect and reasonable ask for or seek in employment.

We're looking for the ideas and case studies of individual employers.  We're already partnering with many of you in this research and problem solving.  Further analysis will also be distributed via HRS newsletters and discussion forum.  Please be certain you are registered for our newsletter.

Thank You!


We send an enormous “Thank You” to the MMAC/COSBE CEO Roundtablers who supported us in the unveiling of 2005 results at the University Club of Milwaukee:  1-800-Got-Junk?, ABRAZO Multicultural Marketing, Burke Candy & Ingredients, Chrysalis Packaging & Assembly Corporation, Clean Power LLC, Compensation Resources Group, Creative Business Interiors Inc, Curtis Industries, E-Support Solutions LLC, Exclusive Millwork Inc., Exhibit Systems Inc, Farnsworth Consulting Group, Fontarome Chemical, Inc., Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP, Gross Automation, Integrated Financial Solutions, Lauber & Company Inc., Layton Fruit Market, Living Dimensions Real Estate, Meissner & Associates, Muskus Management Corporation, Nagel Wealth Management, National Tissue Company LLC, Natural Resource Technology Inc., Noetic Solutions Inc, O'Neil Cannon Hollman De Jong S.C., Ozaukee Bank Business Center, P S  Capital Partners LLC, Pavek Investments Inc., PerformanceBuilders Learning, Perlick Corporation, Platinum Venture Group Inc., Plunkett Raysich Architects LLP, Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., PSJ Engineering Inc., RCS Systems, Inc., River Run Computers, Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants, Schroeder Solutions, Scribner Cohen & Co. S.C., Small Business Times, Stamm Business Technologies, Stowell Associates & Select Staff, Suby Von Haden & Associates S. C., Sunbelt Business Broker, The Summit Group L.L.C., University Club of Milwaukee, Voss Jorgensen Schueler Co. Inc., Wipfli LLP


Barbara Ecklond, Suby Von Haden & Associates SC
Gary Zimmerman, Creative Business Interiors Inc
Jessica Ollenburg, HRS President & CEO
February 2005, University Club of Milwaukee, CEO Roundtable Forum


We send an enormous “Thank You” to those employers who supported us in the unveiling of 2004 results at Milwaukee's Miller Park:   Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corp, Alpha Source Inc, Alterra Healthcare, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Batteries Plus, Behnke Lubricants/JAX USA, Blue Horse, Bradley Corporation, Brady Corporation, The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee,  Capital Returns Inc, Clearwing Productions, Conley Media/Employment Times, Creation Technologies, Dri-Tec, Everbrite LLC,  Faustel, Flexmor, GMK Companies, Geo-Synthetics Inc, Grede Foundries, Health Care System Consultants, JCPenney Logistics, Jefferson Electric Inc, Johnson Controls, Ken Matheson Agency, Kettle Creek/Kings Way Homes, Mandel Group,  Marshall Field & Company,  Maysteel LLC, Meyer & Wallis, Milwaukee Public Museum,  National Technologies Inc, NCL Graphic Specialties, Panef Corp, Paper Machinery Corp, Payne & Dolan, Personnel Dynamics, Pinahs Co Inc, PSC Group, Racine County, RedPrairie Corp, Reindl Bindery Co, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC, RidgeStone Bank, Rock-Tenn Company, Runzheimer International,  Schroeder Companies, Serigraph Inc, Small Business Times, Tekra Corporation, Velvac Inc,  Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC, Winter Klomen Moter & Repp SC, Wisconsin Web Offset, Wiscraft Inc and Zilber Ltd/The Towne Group