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How important are quality work colleagues?

Co-worker quality has jumped eight places to rank third in the list of reasons Australians cite for leaving their job, according to Gartner.

A recent Gartner survey found that 82 per cent of employees report they need to collaborate closely with their colleagues in order to get work done. In a stretched workforce, employees know they can’t afford to have their performance hindered by co-workers who are not pulling their weight.

Also notable is an increase in jobseeking. The Gartner Q3 2019 Global Talent Monitor report revealed that Australian employees’ job-seeking behavior increased 3.6 per cent from the previous quarter. At the same time, workers’ intent to stay with their current employer fell 3.6 per cent.

“In normal conditions, a slight rise in jobseeking behavior after the mid-year point would not be a concern, but with talks of recession and a flat job market showing no sign of picking up, the fact that employees are ready to jump ship into murky waters should set alarm bells ringing for employers,” said Aaron McEwan, vice president in the HR practice at Gartner.

Employees today have a clear advantage when it comes to scouting their next career move. Gartner research found that 59 per cent of candidates feel they are well-informed about the company they’re going to apply to. Compared with 2011, candidates now use three times as many information sources when looking for their next role.

Thanks to the rise of sites like Glassdoor, Fairygodboss and LinkedIn, they have more visibility into what other companies offer in terms of new colleagues and development opportunities.

Understanding employee performance drivers

According to Mr McEwan, the next few months will serve as a crucial period for employers to demonstrate their understanding, respect and commitment to employee needs.

Respect rose four places to be the number one driver of attrition, followed by development opportunities, which rose two places and is now the number two reason Australian employees cite for leaving their current organisation.

“In a workforce where respect, co-worker quality and development opportunities are highly valued, and where poor performance and behavior are not tolerated, organisations must ensure they’re building and supporting high-performing teams and managing poor performance where necessary,” Mr McEwan said.

Adapting performance management for effective collaborative work

Gartner research revealed that efforts to use performance management to improve the effectiveness of collaboration typically fail as employees struggle to see a clear individual benefit to effective collaboration, or they don’t understand the specific actions necessary for effective collaboration.

“What organisations should be doing is evaluating the overall performance of a team and not just the individual, ensuring that the whole team is performing and supporting each other,” said Mr McEwan.

Gartner says organisations can overcome barriers to collaboration by:

• Appealing to employees’ own self-interest, by showing that collaboration is a tool they can use to achieve their individual goals;
• Communicating which actions, not just attributes, employees must demonstrate to collaborate effectively; and
• Ensuring the performance management process helps employees identify specific individuals they must collaborate with and recognise those individuals who collaborate effectively.

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain