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The real reason your employees are working hard right now

Data from Gartner’s Q2 2019 Global Talent Monitor explores these reasons.
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The real reason your employees are working hard right now

The real reason your employees are working hard right now

18 October 2019

Australian employees’ intent to stay with their current employer rose by 13.4% and active job seeking behaviour decreased by nearly 7% in the second quarter of 2019, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.

Data from Gartner’s Q2 2019 Global Talent Monitor revealed that Australian employees’ confidence in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects fell 8% from the previous quarter. Their perception of employment opportunities also declined.

At the same time, that discretionary effort levels – the willingness of Australian workers to go above and beyond at work – increased 3.9%, a reversal of the downward trajectory that started in early 2018.

However, the increase in effort is unlikely to be good news for employers, Gartner warned.

“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security,” said Aaron McEwan, vice president in the HR practice at Gartner. “While the research indicates employees are working hard and job seeking activity is down, the decline in business confidence is very telling.”

In normal conditions, a rise in discretionary effort would be viewed positively, but with talks of a recession growing louder and a fear that job cuts are on the horizon, motivated and talented workers are staying put while readying themselves to jump ship.

“It’s apparent that in the midst of economic uncertainty, workers are going into self-preservation mode, digging in while they hone their skills and increase their employability,” Mr McEwan says.

Continue to invest in top talent

According to Mr McEwan, the next three months will be critical for organisations to secure the trust and commitment of their top talent. In the list of reasons employees gave for leaving a job, future career opportunity came in at No. 2 (up three places) and development opportunity ranked fourth (up four places).

“Investing in the career development of high performing people helps to stabilise business during a challenging climate and ensure the organisation is prepared to take advantage of an upturn,” says Mr McEwan. “Be wary of cutting too deeply. You risk losing your best people.”

Gartner research shows high potential (HIPO) employees bring 91% more value to the organisation than non-HIPOs and exert 21% more effort than their peers.

In an uncertain economic climate, employers must establish strategies to better engage, retain and reward their current workforce. Organisations can make progress on these goals by ensuring they prioritise the delivery of a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that focuses on the attributes driving both employee attraction and attrition, including work-life balance, and future career opportunities.

“With bonus and pay freezes on the horizon, organisations should use development opportunities as recognition to encourage good people to stay,” says Mr McEwan.


Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey which is made up of more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries, including 1,851 in Australia this quarter. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

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