Employees consider a good work/life balance to be a clearer sign of career success than high performance and productivity, according to a new survey from Right Management.

The career management organisation’s research found that 45 percent of respondents ranked work/life balance and enjoyment as marks of success in contrast with fewer than 10 percent who based their career satisfaction on performance, suggesting that there is a disconnect between employee aspirations and the performance goals of employers.

Mara Swan, global leader of Right Management and executive vice president of ManpowerGroup, said:

“High performers have a disproportionate impact on business results. Talent shortages for in-demand skills persist and have caused HR departments worldwide to rethink how they develop and motivate individuals to meet performance goals. To attract and retain top talent, organisations must make development a priority and enable their leaders to mentor employees to expand their skills, capabilities and experience.”

The research, based on 1,225 people surveyed across the world, also reveals that employees need to be respected for their abilities, with 53 percent of respondents listing this as their main expectation from company leaders.

Organisations that do not take into account the priorities of their employees could face significant challenges in retaining staff. 35 percent of those surveyed said that their main reasons for changing jobs is for an improved work/life balance. A further 35 percent reported increase in pay and rewards as the main motivation when leaving a role.

Swan added:

“People are happy and engaged at work when they are inspired,” said Swan. “Understanding employee career motivations and aspirations is key to creating a high performance culture that motivates individuals to do their best work. When individuals experience effective career development through ongoing career conversations with their managers, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated and ready to take on new challenges.”