What matters most to your employees?
This is the third time we are asking that question, because what could be more rewarding and fruitful than fostering a supported and thriving workforce?
Every year we review the Society for Human Resource Management’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, an enormous undertaking that produces nearly sixty pages of data on what employees want most, how responsive their employers are, and what they need to be engaged in their work. This year, we are including the infographic below, courtesy of our friends at Venngage.
The 2016 report was based on responses collected from 600 randomly selected employees between November and December of 2015. SHRM found these themes topped the list of those that influence overall employee satisfaction and engagement in the workplace. (Note I have bundled these together so that they reflect 10 key themes, but the actual top ten list differs slightly):
1) Respectful Treatment of all Employees at all Levels
2) Compensation, Benefits, Job Security & Stable Financials
3) Trust & Communication Between Employees & Senior Management
4) Opportunities to Use Skills & Abilities
5) Relationships with Immediate Supervisors & Their Respect for Employee Ideas
6) Physical Safety at Work
7) Work That is Interesting, Challenging, or Exciting
8) Management Recognition (Feedback, Incentives and Rewards)
9) Career Advancement
10) Autonomy & Independence to Make Decisions
Let’s dig a bit deeper into some of these…
This tops the list for the second year in a row, and once again there is a huge delta between what is desired and the level of satisfaction indicated. Respectful treatment is important to 67% of respondents, but only 31% were very satisfied with how employees are treated.
What’s telling here is that people are not demanding respect for themselves alone, but all employees at all levels. This is a cultural phenomena that suggests that disrespect and negativity is toxic.
In the new management model, companies succeed by building genuine relationships with employees, granting them trust, mentoring and supporting them in their personal and professional goals, and allowing their greatest selves to flourish as a result.
In workplaces that value open communication, especially between employees and their managers, issues and frustrations quickly surface. Instead of these issues festering and eventually leading to disengagement, managers can offer support. Employees are then more likely to trust leadership, building relationships where people are more forthcoming and willing to ask for help.
Offering employees feedback, incentives and rewards makes a huge difference in their experience. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 41% of millennials prefer to be rewarded or recognized for their work at least monthly, if not more frequently. When an employee receives recognition, not only do they learn that they are on the right track, but they are often delighted by the simple act of being seen.
This one is even more important than relationship with coworkers. People want to work for organizations where they can trust their leaders.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of employees were satisfied with the communication between them and senior management. Middle-management and executive employees were more likely to be satisfied with this aspect than nonexempt, non-management employees. This discrepancy may be a signal that organizations are not sharing information all the way down the ladder.
Looks like Daniel Pink’s assessment is still correct: employees are motivated to succeed by the intrinsic motivation of autonomy, mastery and purpose. Autonomy is the desire to be self-directed and no amount of money, benefits, or perks can provide that basic human need.
When managers are involved in the thought process behind every employee decision and they direct every action, they rob employees of the personal satisfaction that is only attained by conquering a challenge through individual effort.
People spend the majority of their lives at work. They don’t want to survive, they want to thrive in healthy environments. They want to be treated with respect and contribute the skills and abilities in which they take pride. They want to bring their whole selves to work every day and develop meaningful relationships with other whole human beings. This is not the reality that we are living into, it is the reality that has already arrived.
Also shared on 15Five.
David Mizne is Content Manager at 15Five, lightweight employee engagement and performance software that delivers a full suite of integrated tools – including continuous employee feedback, OKRs, pulse surveys, and peer recognition. Follow David on Twitter @davidmizne.
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