2006 Employee Magnets & Motivators Survey


• 76% of Employees Choose to Pay for Increased Health Provider Choices! 2 years ago "Less Choices" was the #1 Response.

• Validating a Trend Back Toward an "Employee's Market," while Job Security Remains #1 Retention Tool, the Importance of Advancement Increases by 100%.

• Employee Satisfaction with Supervisors Increases by 115%.  Employers Must Increase Coaching & Motivation Skills in Order to Compete!

• Handbooks Gain Popularity with Employees, Increased by 68% and Moving from Last Place to First Place as Most Helpful Documentation!

• Employer Call to Action:  Employees Showed 32% Increased Need to Know Where the Company is Going as Preferred Change Management Tool!

More than 2000 employees speak out, informing employers how to best attract, retain and spend wisely!
Our third annual successful survey validates continuing trends and reveals important changes plus employer action items!  Participants include all categories and compensation levels of employees within 90 miles of metro-Milwaukee, tallied by pay categories, job classifications, pay changes and change in employment status.  Aggregate findings resemble a typical employer’s composition by compensation and job classification mix. Highlights follow, detailing results over 3 years. 


 What do you consider to be most important to you overall in your job?
  2006  2005
 Job Security          36%  41%  48%
 Career Advancement Potential          30%  24%  15%
 Training & Positive Feedback          17%  14%  15%
 Money/Immediate Compensation          11%  14%  14%
 Benefits & Perks           5%   8%   8%

Of course money is still "King" until the basic "lifestyle" and bill paying needs are met.  The lower the income level, the higher money is ranked.  Money has lowered in importance only because employees are receiving more of it.  Wages have been upward adjusted more than 8% 2004 to 2006 (dol.gov) and on the rise with a 4.1% COLA for 2006 (ssa.gov). Our "Less than $25K" annual earnings category shrunk by 11% since last year.  Employers who haven't already adjusted accordingly will suffer in employee retention and attraction.  Additionally, we already know that employees don't like to perceive themselves as monetarily motivated (affecting their answers) and that financial gain is a primary goal of employment.  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.  Respondents in Administrative Support and Customer Service roles tell us they prioritize money nearly 3 times more often than other worker categories.

In 2006, employees are twice as likely to demand advancement opportunities than in 2004.  Questions regarding advancement are becoming more popular from candidates interviewing for jobs, and advancement continues to become more important as a recruitment magnet.  Studies indicate that employees will not sacrifice more than 10% of immediate wage for promise of advancement.

Over a steady 3 year trend, employees find their supervisors becoming better coaches and becoming easier to work for.    Those who find their supervisors more unpleasant showed an increased preference for the performance review.  When determined "difficult to work with" supervisors are failing to deliver objective and useful feedback.  One of the most common complaints of those who resign is a supervisor's failure to provide meaningful feedback.  Higher level supervisors received lower ratings than production supervisors and first line managers.  The higher the income bracket, the more likely to prefer performance reviews.

While benefits continue to drop in importance, all except "professional" employees prefer to pay higher share of health care premium.  Professionals prefer increased out of pocket.  Earners above $50K were 3 times more likely to prefer benefits than lesser earners.  Health care benefits are a MUST DO for a employers!  This finding encourages the typical employer to adopt a plan facilitating informed patient choices and to share the costs more heavily with employees, shifting benefits dollars.

Handbooks move from last to first place as preferred documentation
for all but professional/degreed (who prefer the performance review).  As employees have regained advancement ability in the rebuilding economy, they understand that knowledge of company policies is directly correlated to job advancement.  The more betterment received this past year, the less likely to prefer handbooks and more likely to move on to the next step - the job description.   Taking comfort in knowing the rules and structure, people who prefer the handbook find their supervisors less unpleasant.

Training and feedback remain top change management tools, but employees are becoming more interested in the future company "vision" and their individual gain.  Employers need to react with better communication to keep employees engaged.  The highest earners value understanding the future company model and organizational goals as #1, even above personal training and feedback.

Those who have seen more than a 6% raise this past year find their supervisors more agreeable.  In fact, the bigger the raise, the more favorable the viewpoint of the supervisor.  Makes sense.  While an improved relationship with one's supervisor leads to career betterment,  career betterment often improves the employee's viewpoint of the supervisor.  The employee field which has enjoyed the greatest response of "employed now but not 12 months ago" is the professional category. 




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

  2006   2005   2004 
Increased Employee Contribution To Premium   52%  40%  33%
Increased Employee "Out of Pocket" per Medical Visit   25%  33%  33%
Less Physician/Facility Choices  24%  27%  34%

As the economy improves, organizational teams face new pressures.   How has your immediate supervisor's behavior changed in the last 12 months?

  2006   2005   2004 
More Difficult, Less Reasonable and/or Less Pleasant   42%  68%  73%
Less Difficult, More Reasonable and/or More Pleasant?   58%  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.

  2006   2005   2004 
Increased Training & Feedback                       47%  54%  48%
Clear Vision/Model of Future Org                       29%  23%  22%
Your Future Job Description                       14%  16%  16%
Your Individual Gain from Change                               10%   7%  14%

If your employer were to provide you with only one of the following, which one would you choose as "most helpful"?

  2006   2005   2004 
Job Description                       37%  40%  40%
Written Performance Review                                           26%  39%  38%
Employee Handbook                       37%  21%  22%




The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce shall be hosting the semi-annual CEO Forum on November 16, 2006 at Milwaukee's University Club.  The topic is "Attracting and Retaining Employees," so it's no surprise that our CEO, Jessica Ollenburg, has been invited to help plan, provide keynote presentation and serve as expert in a panel discussion inviting Q&A from CEO's in the 4-county area.  Survey findings, analysis and interpretations will also be discussed at the forum.

Validity & Reliability

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 with hundreds of area employers across a strong sampling of job classifications.  Area employers were invited through HRS e-newsletter to encourage participation by their employees as well.  Data was collected at both www.AskHRS.com and www.HRSteam.com via blind Internet "asp" format, as well as, in person via blind ballot box depository.  To protect data integrity, responses were anonymous.

Employee survey aggregate statistics remained consistent throughout compilation, with percentages not changing significantly beyond the 40% data entry checkpoint all three years.  Survey reliability was further strongly evidenced by certain percentages unchanging from year to year.

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.”


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 by request.  Please be certain you are registered for our newsletter.