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Sometimes it seems like supervisors and employees work in entirely different places. 

Several recent studies show that bosses and front-line employees have widely varying views about their organization’s priorities, morale, compensation and benefits.

The result: Employees find it easy to jump ship because they’re not getting what they want, and employers wind up offering benefits that employees don’t care about.

Here are eight key flashpoints for which recent studies have revealed major disconnects between what employees want and what their bosses think they want:

1. The value of the work. Employees believe they contribute more to the organization than their bosses say they do. A Novations Group survey showed that managers rated their direct reports significantly lower than the employees rated themselves.

Tip: With staffing lean, managers must set challenging, but realistic expectations that help employees maximize their contributions.

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2. Talking the talk. Managers say they’re communicating better and more often with their employees now than a year ago. Only 37% of their employees agree, says an OfficeTeam survey.

3. Retention motivation. No surprise: Employees say good pay and good benefits make them want to stay, according to a new study by recruiter Spherion. But that was a surprise to supervisors, who said “management climate” and supervisor/staff relationships were the top retention drivers. 

Other disconnects: Employees ranked time and flexibility as No. 5 on the list of retention drivers, while managers listed it as No. 8.

4. Job security. Workers don’t feel as insecure about their jobs as their managers think. A LinkedIn survey found that just 34% of employees say they feel insecure about the job future, but HR pros believe that 63% of their workforce feels insecure.

5. Career development. More than 40% of employees who voluntarily quit their jobs cited a lack of growth potential as a deciding factor, according to a study by management consulting firm Taleo Corp. The critical factors: training, promotions, mentoring, career planning and performance reviews. Among those, 57% said they never had a performance review, and 79% got no career mentoring. 

Tip: Even if you can’t afford much training, conduct regular performance reviews, talk to employees about their career goals and assign mentors to work with your organization’s rising stars.

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6. Ego check. Employees believe they contribute more to the organization than their bosses say they do. A Novations Group survey showed that managers rated their direct reports significantly lower than the employees rated themselves.

7. Benefits priorities. A Deloitte survey asked benefits specialists to report their organizations’ “total rewards” priorities—and also their own personal priorities as employees. 

Almost 60% said they’re personally most concerned about being able to afford to retire, far ahead of their second most-pressing worry (health care costs). Yet, when the same benefits specialist identified their companies’ top priorities, just 1% identified retirement costs. 

8. The value of benefits. Employees underestimate the cost of their benefits by at least 13% less than their employers actually pay, according to a Charlton Consulting Group survey.

Solution: Tell employees exactly how much their benefits cost. They’ll be more understanding when it comes time to raise premiums or co-pays.

Reduce the anxiety and extract the maximum benefit from your worn-down appraisal process, as you find out:
  • The 11 steps every supervisor should take to complete the review process in a legal and effective manner.
  • The one legally explosive word you should avoid in every performance review.
  • A checklist: Top 5 factors of a first-rate evaluation.
  • Whether you should require that employees sign their reviews.
  • The 4 steps to prepare for appraisal discussions.
  • Ways to minimize the odds for legal troubles during reviews.
  • Guidelines for writing reviews that grab employees' attention and improve performance right away.
  • Bonus: The Top 10 mistakes employers make in hiring and firing … and how to avoid them.

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