In 2014, we set out to explore employee and employer perspectives on current and emerging issues shaping the global workplace and the employment deal. Through two complementary global research initiatives — the 2014 Global Workforce Study of over 32,000 employee responses, and the 2014 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study of more than 1,600 participating organizations — we’ve gained insights into the driving factors of attraction, retention and sustainable engagement, the relative importance of effective talent management strategies and employee reward programs, and the diverging employee and employer views on what it takes to deliver an effective employment deal.

Our early findings reveal:

  • Communication plays a key role in helping employees understand the competitive positioning of their base pay. But barely half (52%) of employees say their company does a good job of explaining pay programs.
  • Sustainable engagement requires strong leaders and managers. In companies where both leaders and managers are perceived by employees as effective, 72% of employees are highly engaged.
  • Inspiring and motivating employees is the most important driver of leadership effectiveness. Yet only slightly more than half (55%) of employees say their leaders inspire them.
  • Despite the fact that employees cite trust in senior leadership as a key retention driver, only 62% of employers have a formal leadership development program in place.
  • Just over half of employees believe there are enough people to get the job done, and more than a third report excessive pressure, but only 27% of all respondents ask managers for help to cope with stress.
  • At the same time, many managers are ill-equipped to handle key aspects of career management. Only 33% of employers say managers are effective at conducting career development discussions as part of the performance management process.
  • Most organizations don’t know if their career management programs are working. Only 27% of organizations indicate that they monitor the effectiveness of their career management programs.
  • Employers looking to increase employee engagement levels can start by designing and executing a more consumer-like experience for employees; 70% of employees say their organization should understand them to the same degree they are expected to understand customers.

Our research offers insights that can help employers develop a compelling employment deal, and design and administer programs that help achieve their unique business goals. Throughout this year and next, we will share key findings and conclusions through content posted here and in other channels, including interactive and social media. We look forward to your reactions and a robust discussion.

About the Studies

The Towers Watson Global Talent Management and Rewards Study was fielded from April to June 2014 in 31 markets around the world and includes responses from 1,637 participating organizations. The participants represent a wide range of industries and geographic regions. The Towers Watson Global Workforce Study covers more than 32,000 employees selected from research panels that represent the populations of full-time employees working in large and midsize organizations across a range of industries in 26 markets around the world. It was fielded online during April and May 2014.