Yves Duhaldeborde, director of organisational surveys and insights at Towers Watson, explains why HR professionals must help inject innovation, creativity and confidence back into their organisations to help employees feel assured of their career options and break through the current ambition ceiling we are seeing.
Britain's workforce has reached a standstill in terms of employee career development and ambition, according to research conducted this summer among 2,600 UK workers, as part of Towers Watson's Global Workforce Study. This is putting businesses at risk of damaging employee morale and losing talent to growing competition across the globe. But there is light at the end of the tunnel for those who wish to make a difference, and HR professionals can play a significant role in turning things around.
What factors have led to "Standstill Britain"?
Our research found that one UK worker in four feels stuck in their role, largely due to the economic downturn. Employees are not only voicing that it is harder to progress their careers but they also perceive that when opportunities do arise, it is not always the right people who are promoted or rewarded.
For example, only one-third of workers think that their organisation does a good job of promoting the most qualified employees and two-thirds say they cannot see a clear link between performance and pay, suggesting that workers have little incentive to push themselves in their role.
The post-recession reality is that many people have swapped ambition for stability and are choosing a steady income from their current role rather than aiming for promotion or looking for a new job.
To add to this, many older workers are staying in their jobs - largely out of financial necessity - rather than retiring, which is also contributing to the poor promotion prospects of younger staff, according to our survey respondents.
How can HR professionals reverse this trend?
HR professionals have an important role to play to try to overturn this trend of "Standstill Britain" and lift employees out of the rut, instead of leaving them to lose faith in themselves and their company.