Do the people who work for you like their jobs? If you're like most employers, the answer is, absolutely not. That's the dismal finding in a recent survey by employee recognition software company Achievers. Achievers surveyed about 800 employees, evenly divided between the United States and the U.K., and the results show that today's work force is seriously underwhelmed with their employers' attempts to get them engaged and motivated about their jobs.
For instance, only 52 percent reported that they were happy at their jobs. Disturbingly, half said they planned to be working elsewhere within less than a year. If that statistic worries you--and it should--here's a look at what's gone wrong, and what you need to do about it:
1. They don't care about your mission.
The vast majority of employees say that they are not motivated by their company's mission. Why not? Here's a clue: Only 29 percent say they know what their company's mission is.
I realize it's tough to take the time to think through writing down your mission when every day is a struggle to meet deadlines and budgets. And I know most mission statements are hokey or worse. But you still need to take the time to do it. Employees--especially Millennial employees--need to know they are part of a larger, more important effort than just making money to be engaged with their jobs. So roll up your sleeves, pull together your top advisers, and write or update your mission statement. Then, when you've got it right, hang it on the walls, print it on coffee mugs, and do what you need to do to make sure everyone who works for you knows it.
2. They haven't noticed your company's culture.
Every organization has its own culture. Unfortunately, 70 percent of employees in the survey couldn't say what their company's culture was. That suggests that few leaders are taking the time to foster the culture they think their companies should have. That's a mistake, because when there's no clear direction from leadership, the people who work for you will form their own culture, consciously or not. It may not turn out to be what you want.
Like your mission statement, company culture isn't something you can just decree and then forget about. It needs to permeate every communication and every choice you make, if you want it to take hold. If you haven't put much effort into culture, take an honest look around. Does your company or department have the atmosphere, communication style, and work practices you want? If not, it's time to make some changes.
3. They don't trust you.
Only 42 percent of employees say they trust their company's management. In this era of layoffs, privacy breaches, and dwindling benefits, it's a good thing that number isn't even lower.
But you still need to do something about it. Building trust with employees takes time and isn't necessarily easy. But one of the most effective ways to gain people's trust is to offer them your trust first. It turns out that's also a very effective way to lead.
4. They don't think you care.
When was the last time you (or a manager who works for you) gave an employee recognition for something he or she did well? Or gave immediate feedback on a task either well or badly done? If your company is like most, it doesn't happen often enough. In the survey, 60 percent of employees said they didn't feel like they got appropriate recognition for their achievements, and 63 percent said the progress they'd made went unnoticed. Only 40 percent reported getting real-time feedback from managers.
When it comes to recognition, it would seem there's no such thing as too much. The vast majority of survey respondents--85 percent--said they hoped to receive recognition at least once per quarter, if not more. Knowing that management notices and appreciates their efforts may be the most powerful tool you have for motivating employees, and it costs nothing. Use it well--and often.