Global Work Attitudes


‘Decoding Talent’ is a recent study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group on the global workforce of today. It is an interesting study in terms of decoding and understanding the emerging global attitudes toward work and a global overview of what makes for a contented employee. Over 200,000 people from 189 countries participated in the survey.
One of the findings that I found most interesting was that on a global scale there is greater emphasis on intrinsic rewards rather than compensation.
The top 4 rankings for happiness on the job were:

  1. Appreciation for your work
  2. Good relationships with colleagues
  3. Good work-life balance
  4. Good relationships with superiors

One of the key most basic and crucial factors in these top 4 findings is the requirement for high levels of trust, sophisticated communication skills and strong relationships. For any global organisation this indicates that there is a very real demand for cultural intelligence across all aspects of the organisation, particularly in terms of leadership.
Understanding these preferences is key to talent retention and maximising the current workforce. Some questions that this research should pose for leaders are:

  • How do you provide culturally appropriate feedback and appreciation of work to individuals or teams that you may manage remotely?
  • How do you as a leader foster the establishment of good relationships with your cross-border teams?
  • How do you monitor these relationships, enhance them and aid them when there is conflict and misunderstandings?
  • How do you manage the expectations of a good work/life balance for your globally dispersed teams? For example if a team consists of people based in New Zealand, China and the U.S the perceptions of work/life balance will be diverse.
  • How are relationships established and maintained with superiors in your organisation? How do your leaders manage their cultural preferences for communicating with subordinates when they are leading across cultures?

Studies such as this are a great source of useful data to begin reflecting on current strategies, particularly in terms of talent development, retention, recruitment and key motivators. Some of the insights that are generated extend to what are the future challenges, are current operating models and resources adequate to cope with current and future demands.