HR Is ‘Off the Mark’ on Employee Attitudes

At least, that’s according to the piece “Mind The Gap — Knowing What Employees Want Is Key” by Lena M. Bottos, Kenexa’s vice president of compensation.

After reviewing the results of its annual Compensation Outlook Survey, then “directly comparing the data with a similar survey from visitors to our consumer website,, and to World Norms from Kenexa’s Employee Engagement database. We gained incredible insight from these comparisons and were able to clearly see similarities and differences worth noting.”

According to Bottos, across all HR categories covered in the survey, there was a “noticeable gap” between the visitors and HR perception, while the World Norms data hovered somewhere in between:

We can safely assume that the visitors to are biased toward workplace dissatisfaction, because they are visiting a career site most likely looking for a career change or a new job. It is also highly likely that the World Norms data is skewed toward more highly engaged employees or more self-edited answers, depending on an individual’s trust in survey anonymity. The bottom line, however, is that HR’s perception of employee attitudes is off the mark in every category.

The piece goes on to share a few data points backing up the findings, including:

*     69 percent of HR professionals think employees have a high level of engagement — while visitors show engagement levels of 45 percent.


*     81 percent of HR professionals believe employees would recommend the organization as a good place to work, while World Norms figures are at 72 percent, and visitors are at 38 percent.


*     83 percent of HR professionals believe employees will stay with the organization in the coming year, but the figure is only 57 percent in the World Norms data and 41 percent for visitors.

Bottos concludes the piece by saying the research shows that HR has become “too distanced from the employee population,” thus leading to a misunderstanding of where the employee mindset truly is. And, she says, since ultimate success lies in proper manager training, “managers need to be prepared to discuss and promote programs, as well as collect feedback for HR on how those programs are perceived. Business is business, yes. But it’s also personal — and it’s about making the workforce smarter.”

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