SA employees have itchy feet

DURBAN – The results of a recent global research study found that South Africa has the highest rate of employees who are open to leaving and actively planning to leave their current employment.

The research identified what South African employees want and how employers can adapt to positively impact employee satisfaction.

The research was conducted by marketing company DCMN Insights Team with a representative panel provided by Dynata.

The online survey of 5028 respondents in South Africa, France, Germany, the UK and the US was conducted between August and September 2018.

Of the five countries surveyed, only the US has a happier workforce than South Africa.

Some 66% of South Africans are very happy or happy in their current workplace. This increases to 86% with those working for companies who have implemented New Work principles already.

111899860 - SA employees have itchy feet
A recent survey conducted by DCMN and Dynata found that although 66% of South African employees say they are happy or very happy in their workplace, only one out of five employees have no plans to leave their current workplace. DCMN Insights

However, 41% are open to leaving their workplace if an interesting opportunity comes up and another 40% are planning to leave their jobs in the near future. Both are the highest rating of all the countries.

Looking at what employees said they wanted from their employers, across all markets, flexible working hours were among the top items with nearly two-thirds of South African respondents seeing this as the most important change they want to see in the workplace.

The possibility to work from home and receiving subsidies for further education categories was almost equally high among South Africans (49% and 50%). In addition, 42% would also like to receive free personal development courses from their employer. In all these categories, South Africa has the highest score of all the markets.

In reality, only 24% have flexible working hours and only 14% have full liberty to work from home. South African employers also don’t fare well with further development, with only 18% offering free personal development courses and 21% giving subsidies for further education.

Another factor explored in the survey was whether businesses have shifted their mindset to a new way of working when dealing with failure.

Across all markets, not even half of the respondents say occasional mistakes are considered acceptable within their company or even as a chance to grow. On the positive side, South Africa does score the highest of all participants (49%) in this category.

The survey also shows that start-ups in general, as well as businesses that are already committing to New Work models, are generally a lot more open to failure and their acceptance of occasional mistakes is much higher than the general average.

Natasha Fourie, Insights at DCMN South Africa, said: “Businesses are changing the way they run their operations with the goal to increase productivity and attract talent.

Although this is encouraging, change is slow and usually only aimed at creating a great place to work. Few companies are making bold structural changes where they remove hierarchies and empower their employees.”

To that point, only 20% of respondents say the removal of hierarchies has been partially or fully implemented in their companies, although the culture of transparency is higher, with 40% feeling positive about the transparency and openness of their companies.

Looking at employee perception, changing the way you manage teams could be the key to success in the war for talent and employee retention.


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