SOURCE: Kelly Services

Kelly Services

February 17, 2016 07:30 ET

Kelly Services® Research Shows Inflexible Employers Risk Losing Top Talent

TROY, MI--(Marketwired - February 17, 2016) - Employers who fail to recognize that workers have priorities outside of the workplace do so at their own risk, research from Kelly Services® finds. Not adapting to a work-life design environment -- where workers seek the seamless integration of work and life -- can be costly in terms of turnover among top, engaged talent in today's workplace.

"Work-life balance is not simply about flexible work arrangements," said Steve Armstrong, senior vice president and general manager of U.S. Operations for Kelly Services. "Work-life design requires employers and employees to renegotiate the terms of how they view and rely on each other. Employers who are willing to make adjustments tend to be rewarded by increased engagement in the form of loyalty, discretionary effort and commitment among the workers they most want to keep."

The Kelly Services research shows, for example, that 71 percent of highly committed workers are willing to go "above and beyond" for the company, compared with 52 percent overall. And almost eight out of 10 committed employees rate their employers "high" for work-life balance, versus only two-thirds overall.

Nevertheless, these highly committed workers are well aware of their market power and value. They know they have a choice of where and how to work, so if they become dissatisfied they can find something better somewhere else. The research indicates that more than half of highly committed workers strongly agree that their skill set and experience put them in a position to compete effectively with other job seekers, compared with four in 10 overall.

Armstrong said that for employers, the essence of work-life design is developing their organization's capacity to innovate their talent management programs to attract and retain top talent who have a broad and ever-evolving set of needs.

 "Work-life design considerations will only increase and accelerate, largely driven by technology advances and demographic shifts, such as millennials having a louder voice in the workplace, baby boomers retiring and ambitious talent starting families," he added.

Millennials Making Themselves Heard

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1997, now represent the largest generational group in the workforce -- one in three American workers1 -- and one in four managers is a millennial2. Globally, they make up 40 percent of the workforce in developed markets3.

"The presence of a generation used to getting what it wants is already being felt," Armstrong said. "The highest levels of turnover are found among millennials4."

About nine out of 10 millennials say work-life design elements are an important factor contributing to satisfaction and happiness in the workplace, and they are sometimes willing to take a pay cut to get it. Beyond salary and health care benefits in their compensation packages, millennials want such perks as:

  • Vacation and other paid time off (65 percent)
  • Flexible work arrangements (60 percent)
  • Wellness programs (50 percent)
  • Childcare support (28 percent)
  • Caregiver support (21 percent)

However, many would be willing to give up higher pay to receive:

  • Flexibility in work schedules/arrangements (35 percent)
  • Opportunities to work remotely (28 percent)
  • Additional vacation time (24 percent)
  • Reduced work schedule/hours (24 percent)
  • Sabbatical opportunities to pursue personal interests (21 percent)

As millennials become parents, the care of children is now a topic fathers no longer take for granted, Armstrong noted. Even so, women still value work-life balance (70 percent) and flexible work arrangements (60 percent) as attraction factors more than men (67 percent and 49 percent, respectively), and would give up career advancement for flexibility (32 percent vs. 27 percent) and opportunities to work remotely (28 percent vs. 25 percent).

Armstrong pointed out that effective talent supply chain management is a critical component for employers in this era of work-life design.

"Traditional talent acquisition models are being challenged, fueled by competitive pressures and technological advantages," he said. "Companies only looking to recruit direct, full-time staff are missing out on some of the best talent in the market. By contrast, those with agile talent supply chain management strategies, allowing them to recruit across all labor types and scale their operations on demand, are gaining a competitive advantage."

To view the complete global report, please click here

Kelly Services, Inc.
As a global leader in providing workforce solutions, Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA)(NASDAQ: KELYB) and its subsidiaries, offer a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Kelly® has a role in managing employment opportunities for more than one million workers around the globe by employing 550,000 of these individuals directly with the remaining workers engaged through its talent supply chain network of supplier partners. Revenue in 2015 was $5.5 billion. Visit and connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.


  1. "Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force" by Richard Fry, Pew Research, May 11, 2015
  2. "8 Things You Need To Know About Millennials At Work" by Jacquelyn Smith, Millennial Branding and PayScale Study, 2012 as reported in Business Insider, November 18, 2014
  3. Health Nutrition and Population Statistics: Population estimates and projections, targeting OECD countries, World Bank database, last updated September 2015
  4. "To Keep Hold of Top Talent, Managers Must Learn How to Look After Generation Y" by Edmund Ingham, Forbes, March 2, 2015

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