11 things companies can do to help their employees succeed
As you might imagine, I receive and read many studies on employee engagement, culture, mission, vision and values. They seem to be getting more complicated and anecdotal rather than practical. They rarely offer distinct findings and recommendations on what an organization can do.
Officevibe, an online employee engagement software tool, recently released a study called “state of employee engagement”. They spoke to over 50,000 employees in over 1000 companies, representing 150 countries using their proprietary software. The study primarily focused on one question. They asked employees to identify the things that truly matter most to them in their job.
What they heard and uncovered reinforced many other studies that I reviewed. What impressed me with this one, however, was its simplicity. By asking one question they could categorize and prioritize what people want from their work environment.
HERE IS WHAT THEIR RESEARCH FOUND
Recognition - 63% of employees feel that they don’t get enough praise
Wellness - 60% of employees know that their job is taking a toll on the personal lives. They feel stressed and overworked and don’t have good work-life balance
Ambassadorship - alarmingly 57% of employees wouldn’t recommend their organization as a good place to work, but they would recommend their products and services, in terms of the culture, mission and values of the company.
Personal growth - 56% of employees believe they don’t have any career advancement opportunities
Relationships with colleagues - 34% of employees don’t think they have enough social interactions with their colleagues
Company alignment - 33% of employees don’t believe their companies core values align with their personal values.
Compensation - 33% of employees don’t think they are paid fairly for their work
Feedback - 32% of employees have to wait more than three months to get feedback from their manager
Relationship with managers - 31% of employees wish their managers communicated more frequently with them. They feel that their managers aren’t transparent. Employees seek closer relationships with their managers, which would make them feel more connected to the organization
Happiness - 23% of employees leave work feeling drained, exhausted and sluggish
Satisfaction - another alarming statistic was only 15% of employees don’t see themselves working at their company more than one year.
WHAT SHOULD A COMPANY DO TO ADDRESS THESE FINDING?
In my opinion, after doing this work for the last 18 years, here are some specific things companies can do to improve what truly matter most to employees in their job.
To address recognition - Give praise based on their contributions and productivity. Gallup has found that companies who praise their employees at least once per week receive higher loyalty and satisfaction and are more likely to stay with their organization. Establish a culture where people congratulate and call people out for their work. It doesn’t have to get complicated. If you see someone’s efforts are contributing, tell them so. Thank you’s and praise when it is well deserved costs nothing.
To address wellness - Institute flexible hours, breaks during the day, healthier diets and food in the cafeteria, implementing wellness programs with incentives and rewards for employees who join and complete the specific program. With internal social media platforms like Yammer and SharePoint, it is easy to gamify wellness program.
To address ambassadorship - start with training programs that educate the organization to be more aware of the company’s purpose and value within the community. Explain “why the company is in business” and how individuals can contribute to the company’s purpose. It is important to communicate specific actions and things they can do that further the purpose of the company. Ask your employees about company advocacy and learn what it takes for them to become brand ambassadors.
To address personal growth - people need to feel they are growing in their careers through advancements and incremental compensation. To grow, they need to be exposed to challenges, use their minds as well as their bodies, provide interesting tasks and opportunities, seek feedback and advice and create a general environment of transparency and openness
To address relationships with colleagues/manager - create opportunities for people to work together in cross functional teams and express their individuality and ideas to solve real problems. Teams should be consensus driven and collaborative and rely on abundant mentality. Communicate better and more frequently. Remove bureaucratic barriers and create a culture that cares about relationships and friendships.
To address company alignment - in my mind, this is one of the most important topic that companies need to address. Especially in conglomerates that represents a “house of brands” with individual operating companies with distinct and different product offering/services. Identify the traits, values and culture that unites the company and all its parts, operating units, divisions and brands. What is the common denominator that brings the company together? Establish frameworks and processes and HR procedures that are the same and best in class. Bring representatives of all the operating units/companies together to work on fresh innovation challenges. Educate your employee population about the company strategy and how all the individual operating companies contribute to the overall goal and purpose of the conglomerate.
To address compensation - Employee should be paid fairly based on competitive data, experience and contributions. Age and tenure are no longer a factor. Consider meritocracy based on experience and contributions to the success of the organization as the key measure for compensation. Reconsider annual compensation reviews and replace them with quarterly conversations to determine if the individual employee feels that they are contributing and being compensated fairly and make adjustments accordingly. Sometimes, a small increase or expanded responsibilities will go a long way at keeping an employee happy and satisfied.
To address feedback - more and more companies are now abandoning annual reviews for continuous feedback loops that are 360°. A manager and employee will spend 15 minutes every 10 to 15 days to discuss performance, contribution, reporting relationship, etc. These sessions tend to be less formal yet they are still documented with action points. New mobile technology, software enables this type of feedback that is quick, easy, fun.
To address happiness and satisfaction - in my mind, happiness and satisfaction are an amalgam of all the elements above. If you give feedback, have strong relationships, help them understand the company and communicate how it works, they will be happier. When a company demonstrates and explains how they are aligned, compensated and rewarded, people will be happier. When employees are receiving challenges and growth opportunities, people tend to be happier.
Companies need to think about their people holistically. Careers and lifestyle balance are often intertwined. Therefore, companies need to create work-life environments that enhances the totality of the individual and create work life experiences contributing to happiness. When your people are happy and satisfied, they are less likely to change jobs, more likely to be brand ambassadors and advocate and recruit new talent among their pool of friends and acquaintances and help contribute to a positive company wide culture.
If you have thoughts and opinions on this topic, please let me know. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the summer.