What employees want and what employers expect doesn't match up. With high standards and little recognition, employees are not feeling appreciated.
Work-life balance is a top priority for many employers as they seek to engage and satisfy their staff. But many employers are making a fundamental error - they are not espousing this commitment to their workers' wellbeing with gratitude. So how important is this?
Employers misunderstand how effective they are at building an engaged and loyal staff.
Employers unappreciative and expecting too much
Early last year, WorkplaceTrends.com and CareerArc revealed several incongruities between what employers believed their employees valued and what they actually did. According to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study, while flexible working times was ranked as the most important employee benefit by half of employers, far more (three-quarters) employees ranked this number one. Furthermore, 67 per cent of employers felt that their employees had a good work-life balance, but only 55 per cent of employees agreed.
These findings fundamentally show different expectations, and the fact that employers misunderstand how effective they are at building an engaged and loyal staff.
They do agree on something, however. Around 64 per cent of employers expect their staff to be available outside of contracted hours, and 65 per cent of employees felt the same way. With one in five workers investing more than an additional 20 hours a week for work, it is clear that many employers have overinflated expectations of their employers and their efforts to support them.
If an employee feels they are doing more than they should be but are not being recognised for the effort, then they will not feel valued. But is there anything that an employer can do to avoid degrading their most critical asset?
What is the value of a simple "thank you"?
UK recruitment agency Monster conducted a survey as part of its "Thank You" campaign, finding that 58 per cent of workers don't get thanked enough at work. Even 41 per cent of bosses admitted they didn't recognise employees enough, which leads to both feelings of under-appreciation in 54 per cent of respondents and lower levels of motivation in 41 per cent.
Interestingly, Monster revealed that those two words can mean more to employers than a pay rise, with 63 per cent agreeing that verbal appreciation is the most important form of recognitionwhen an employee exceeds what is expected of them. In fact, in monetary terms, this kind of acknowledgment is valued at £1,608 a year - that's around six per cent of the average UK annual salary.
According to organisational behaviour psychologist Corrine Sweet, such simple recognition is "priceless at work."
"People feel 'lifted' emotionally by their bosses," explained Ms Sweet, "and thus feel good about themselves and perform better."
"This, in turn, can reduce absenteeism and boost office morale, so saying 'thanks' is literally worth its weight in gold."
How can managers say thanks?
While this is a simple solution in theory, Andrew Sumner, managing director of Monster in the UK, opined that it is not easy for everyone. Often managers see it as a sign of weakness and a bit soft. But with such high expectations, often such appreciation is not seen as needed. However, this form of feedback is essential to ensure that employees feel valued and not exploited.
"Saying thank you is the type of small change that can have a big impact in the workplace," he said.
"Managers may be seeing the value in saying thanks, but struggling to communicate it in a clear way to their staff."
Ultimately, employees crave recognition for going above and beyond their primary duties. While two words may go a long way, tangible rewards programmes can help managers to this problem in two ways. First, by setting clear expectations and, second, by recognising employees' efforts and contributions in a systematic process.
With a plethora of other features that enhance engagement, Power2Motivate's rewards and recognition programmes provide a tangible way to show your appreciation and say thanks. This will make your employees feel valued, become engaged, and in effect, be more committed to your organisational purpose and goals. For more information, contact Power2Motivate today.