The Key to Management Strategy in 2010 Is
"Reviving the Motivation to Work"
A survey of listed-company employees in their 20s and 30s in Japan finds that motivation for work rests upon reward, expression of individuality, and career advancement.
December 5, 2005
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo; Akihisa Fujinuma, President, CEO & COO) has complied the results of the "Survey Concerning Motivation toward Work" conducted over the Internet in October 2005 with a survey sample of 1,000 regular employees in their 20s and 30s belonging to listed companies in Japan. The survey found that as many as 75.0% of employees are apathetic about their present jobs, revealing a notable drop in motivation among young employees. NRI believes that reviving young people's currently declining motivation to work will lead to improved corporate competitiveness from 2010 onwards. We offer three concrete proposals for reviving motivation: establishing corporate missions that foster work motivation, increasing opportunities for employees to challenge themselves, and selecting competent staff who can stimulate motivation among those around them.
Seventy-five percent of employees are apathetic about their present jobs and about half have an underlying desire to change jobs
The present survey revealed that young people tend to be apathetic about their jobs as they feel little sense that their work is leading to personal growth. They also feel a lack of social mission through their work and readily consider changing jobs. Overall, 75% feel apathetic about their present jobs, with 16.1% often feeling apathetic and 58.9% sometimes feeling apathetic (Figure 1). Moreover, the percentage of young people who do not feel that they have experienced much personal growth compared with three years ago reached 42.5%, surpassing the 38.7% who feel that they have experienced personal growth (Figure 2). Feelings that personal growth has stalled are particularly high among employees in their 30s (49.0% of men and 47.5% of women). Furthermore, when asked if they felt a sense of social mission in their present work, 31.7% replied "no" (which includes those who replied that they were more inclined to say no), exceeding the 29.5% who replied "yes" (which includes those who replied that they were more inclined to say yes) (Figure 3). The percentage of women who replied that they do not feel a sense of social mission was particularly high (37.3% of women in their 20s and 41.8% of women in their 30s).
When asked to express their intentions regarding work going forward, only 17.9% replied that they wanted to continue working for their company until mandatory retirement. Even if this figure is combined with the 9.9% who said that they wanted to work for their company at least another 10 years, the total percentage of those intending to work for the long term failed to reach 30%. By contrast, 18.7% said they would immediately change jobs or work independently if given the chance; 13.0% said they wanted to change jobs or work independently within three years; and 12.3% said they wanted to work for their company for about another five years. Thus, in total, 44.0% of employees had an underlying desire to change jobs (Figure 4).
Reward, expression of individuality, and career advancement are sources of work motivation
This survey also asked young employees about the type of work that motivated them. The most frequent response (29.0%) was "high-paying work," followed by "kind of work that only I can do" (22.0%), "work that brings about new skills and know-how" (21.8%), and "work in which I can take pride in my accomplishments" (Figure 5). Those qualities of work apart from reward that were thought to be motivating included expressions of individuality and career advancement by acquiring skills or accomplishments valued outside the company.
When asked to specify the type of reward apart from payment that they considered important, the most frequent replies were "interest or stimulation associated with the work itself" (44.5%), "receiving trust and appreciation from colleagues and junior colleagues" (35.0%), "appreciation from customers" (34.2%), and "earning high evaluations or approval from superiors" (26.6%) (Figure 6). Other factors linked to motivation included ample opportunities to challenge themselves and to grow, and plenty of feedback.
Relying on payment and status alone to motivate employees has limitations. And although raising payment and status is limited by resource, the motivation fostered through person-to-person relationships and opportunities to take challenge multiplies itself, which in turn fosters a strong corporate culture. Moreover, these rewards are important for acquiring and retaining talented staff. NRI, therefore, believes that stimulating motivation among young people in aspects of work apart from payment will constitute a valuable part of corporate management strategies.
The ability to revive motivation should drive competitiveness
It is said that the number of young part-timers (known as "freeters" in Japan) and those classified as NEET (not in education, employment, or training) will increase more than ever by 2010. Under such circumstances, strengthening corporate competitiveness from 2010 will depend on whether companies can revive the desire to work among young people. NRI offers the following three proposals for "management strategy in 2010" with a view to reviving the work motivation of young people:
(1) Establish corporate missions linked to work motivation
It is especially important to establish distinctive corporate missions that draw all employees and foster corporate cultures at a time after companies had leaned heavily toward an emphasis on profit maximization and shareholders' value. According to this survey, 57.1% of employees replied that they knew their company's management philosophy or mission but could not relate to it, while 14.3% said that they either did not know it, had forgotten it, or did not have any concern for it in the first place.
(2) Increase opportunities for employees to challenge themselves
It is important to provide young employees with ample opportunities to challenge themselves. For this end, companies should consider allowing different work styles or career options and, when necessary, consider radically revising and diversifying their work policies.
(3) Select personnel who can stimulate motivation among those around them
Personnel who can stimulate motivation among employees around them ("motivation generators") should be brought to the core of the organization. The next generation of leaders should be chosen not only in terms of performance, but also from the perspective of the "ability to stimulate organizational motivation."
NRI will continue to track the work attitudes of the young people who will support Japan in the future with an aim to find appropriate measures for corporate managers. The results of this survey will be published in book form under the title 2010-nen no Nihon (Japan in 2010) by Toyo Keizai in the middle of December 2005. (The book is published in Japanese only.)
[For general inquiries, please contact:]
Yukako Seto / Takeshi Nomura
Corporate Communications Department
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Reference: Survey Concerning Motivation toward Work
This survey was conducted in October 2005 using NRI's Internet research service "TRUE NAVI" with a survey sample of 1,000 regular employees in their 20s and 30s of listed companies.
Copyright(c) 2005 Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. All rights reserved.
No reproduction or republication without written permission.