The respondents "believed that soft skills and motivation are more important than intelligence, personality, and hard skills in whether someone is an A or B player".
Research by Zety on the views of over 1,000 American employees aims to shed light on the anatomy of A players and B players in the workplace, and the insights of both types of talent into motivation, job satisfaction, and recognition in the workplace.
To set the context, this is how the research report describes each type of talent:
"A players are star performers. They are employees who put their professional lives ahead of their families and personal lives because they are striving to accomplish more or move upward in the organisation. A players are the risk-takers, the 'high potentials', and employers enjoy finding and hiring them. They are also the players most likely to leave the organisation for opportunities elsewhere."
"B players are competent, steady performers far from the limelight. They balance their work and personal lives while still doing the bulk of the company's work. B players stay put, don't require much attention, and get the job done. Because Type B stay, they tend to carry the corporate history with them."
However, the interesting thing was that, instead of worrying too much about the stereotypes, the respondents in the study "believed that soft skills and motivation are more important than intelligence, personality, and hard skills in whether someone is an A or B player".
If you're a passionate advocate of diversity, you may likely not enjoy painting the picture of a black-and-white workplace yourself, just like the respondents. So here are some of the key findings that the research threw up, regardless of the type of talent being studied:
- Eight in 10 participants claim being an A or B player is a matter of motivation.
- 55% think that A players have an overestimated impact.
- 76% claimed B-player employees were neglected, compared to A players.
- 79% feel their manager takes them for granted.
- 75% would sacrifice their romantic relationship/marriage for a successful career.
- 72% would choose job satisfaction over job prestige.
- For 26%, their key motivational factor is enjoying their job.
- Only 38% take pride in their professional achievements.
- For both A and B players, giving up easily and sensitivity to criticism are the top workplace weaknesses.
Among the other useful findings in this survey was a focus on what inspires participants at work. They chose up to two factors they considered most important.
- Work enjoyment – 26% [B players – 29% vs. A players – 23%]
- Financial reasons – 20%
- Personal ambition – 20%
- Family reasons – 19%
- Promotion opportunities – 18%
- Having a positive atmosphere in the workplace – 15%
- Stability of employment – 15%
- Sense of job meaningfulness – 13%
- Emotional attachment to the company – 13%
- Desire to progress in my career – 13%
- Being recognised for my work – 11%
- Other – 2%
Work enjoyment, financial reasons, and personal ambition were the top motivational factors.
Note to readers - While this research was carried out in the US, we believe the findings may be helpful for all HR and people leaders.
Lead image / Provided by Zety