Brentwood, TN—If your star employee is asking when they’ll be promoted or get more time off, take notice. More importantly, take action before they decide to look for another job.
A new study conducted by Bamboo HR found a disconnect between what bosses think matters most to workers, and what workers want most. Where is the fine line between conditions that are just annoying and those that are truly unacceptable to workers?
In the study, conducted last summer among 1,000 currently-working U.S. adults, some of the findings bear out popular beliefs about generational attitudes: for instance, older workers (over age 45) object less to being asked to work on their off hours than younger workers, but women are far more likely to dig in about work-life balance issues than men. 29% of women respondents said being expected to work during their off-hours is a workplace deal breaker, compared to 18% of men. Women also were far less likely to tolerate an inflexible workplace than men: 23% of women said they’d leave a job for that reason, compared to only 13% of men.
Other top workplace “deal breakers” were: having a boss that doesn’t trust you, difficult co-workers, a boss that blames you for mistakes, and a lack of advancement. Some issues that workers find annoying, but don’t necessarily constitute a deal breaker, included: management that’s less aware of the industry than you or your team, lack of recognition, coworkers being promoted faster, and subpar benefits. College-educated employees are far more likely (89%) to resent not being empowered by their bosses than those with a high school diploma (67%), and the higher the education level, the more important it is to the employee to have additional assignments that challenge them to grow.
Money rarely came up as a primary deal breaker, and it came up less and less as workers age. Young employees—ages 18-29—were the ones most likely (52% of respondents) to be dissatisfied with a lower salary than they expected to earn. By the time workers are middle age—45 to 60—only 34% said it’s a sticking point, and fewer than one-third (31%) of workers over 60 are annoyed by it—and only 8% in this age range would quit because of an unfair salary.
In summary, says BambooHR, employees who don’t feel valued, respected, or able to have a healthy work-life balance are not going to stay. But when their basic needs—empowerment, flexibility, and a fair wage—are met, they’re more willing to tolerate lesser annoyances.