November 3, 2014
talent development

Alarming Trends in CIPD Employee Outlook Survey

Truth be told, I’m a bit of a research wonk. Some may look at that honest admission as a cry for help. Others steer clear of me when I ingest new data because it allegedly makes me more likely to furl a brow as I further scorn the lack of leadership advancement in today’s organizations. This ‘feedback’ may or may not come from my beloved wife.

Nonetheless, we move on.

Twice a year,  I look forward to the release of the CIPD Employee Outlook survey, sponsored in part by Halogen Software, one of the Canadian-based companies I’ve been watching for a while.

cipdCIPD identifies itself as follows:

A professional body for HR and people development. It has over 130,000 members internationally working in HR, learning and development, people management and consulting across private businesses and organisations in the public and voluntary sectors. As an independent and not for profit organisation, the CIPD is committed to championing better work and working lives for the benefit of individuals, business, the economy and wider society – because good work and all it entails is good for business and society at large, and what is good for business should also be good for people’s working lives.

The survey is important because it provides insight into several facets of career and talent development as well as employee engagement. The latest version is no different.

The highlights for me in this edition include:

  • 33% of employees indicate that their careers have failed to live up to their aspirations
    • 12% of respondents indicated their career has actually exceeded their expectations
  • 37% state that their career aspirations are unlikely to be met by their current employer
  • Employee engagement has risen from 35% to 38%
  • Net job satisfaction scores have risen two points to 44%
    • Job satisfaction was the most important factor identified in contributing to satisfaction with career or working life (72%).
    • Work–life balance was the second most important factor (66%).
  • 59% agree or strongly agree they have a proper work-life balance
  • 39% of employees report that they experience excessive pressure every day or once or twice a week

What does this mean?

Quite simply, there is still much work to be done in today’s organizations when it comes to employee engagement, career and talent development and culture. What is being introduced by leaders to deliver on the requirements for organizational culture change is not enough.

As leaders, we cannot be pleased with an increase in employee engagement from 35% to 38%. There is no cause for celebration at such anemically low levels as reported by CIPD.

As leaders, we cannot be pleased that one-third of employees think their careers have not — nor will ever reach — a self-identified level of expectation that is appropriate. (we might even toss in the word, “thriving”)

As leaders, we cannot lose sight that there is a causal relationship between an engaged employee who performs ‘the work’ (who is completely satisfied in their role) and various improved business metrics as a result of such harmony in the workplace. When he or she is able to occupy a proper work-life balance while feeling devoid of excessive and unnecessary workplace pressure, amazing, innovative outcomes manifest.

Reading the data from CIPD (once again) indicates to me the transformation of our organizations is only in its nascent stage. I’m not sure it’s even started in certain organizations.

Leaders … we cannot be pleased.


Dan’s Newest Book

Click for details about Dan’s latest book, Work-Life Bloom.

Buy Dan's Books
Listen to Dan's Podcast
Read Dan's Column On