Employers may not be trying as hard to engage their workers as they think they are. Roughly half of U.S. workers would not recommend their current employer to a job-seeking peer, according to new research from LinkedIn and Mars Drinks, the beverage arm of global food company Mars Inc. 

To conduct the study, LinkedIn surveyed 1,015 of its users--representing large companies with over 1,000 employees--in the financial services, legal, health care, social work, consulting, and utilities sectors. 

Surveyed users were asked to rank their companies according to an eNPS, or employee net promoter score, based on the methodology originally coined by Bain & Company fellow Fred Reichheld (while the standard "Net Promoter Score" assesses consumer satisfaction with a brand or product, the eNPS gauges worker satisfaction with their employer, where the respondent puts his or her own credibility on the line to recommend it).

Overall, just 49 percent of respondents ranked their organization highly, while the remaining 51 percent were ambivalent or negative. There was also a discrepancy between the perceived importance of "workplace vitality," meaning a space that allows for engagement, productivity, collaboration, and wellbeing, and the perceived performance of the employer, according to the research.

"We know that to reach our full potential, we must create work environments where people have a sense of empowerment and belonging," said Tracy Brower, the global VP of "workplace vitality" with Mars Drinks, sociologist, and author of Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work: A Guide for Leaders and Organizations.

Still, she notes that while 94 percent of respondents view "engagement" as a key factor to overall job satisfaction, just 53 percent believe that their company is doing a good job at fostering it. 

Keep in mind that there are a number of things you can do to boost employee morale. The research shows workers feel most engaged--which is to say, are more likely to recommend their employer to someone else--when their job gives them the opportunity to learn and to make a positive impact on the world, and when they feel challenged and personally connected to the work.

At least one concrete step you might consider is implementing free coffee at the office, or upping the quality of your coffee carrier; as many as 78 percent of Millennials say that coffee is a critical part of their work experience, according to the study.

Published on: Apr 6, 2016