Do you like your job? Do you get up every morning and look forward to going to work? If you do, count yourself lucky. According to Forbes, 53 percent of workers are unhappy in their current jobs. That’s more than half the workforce who wish they were somewhere else every single day, doing something different. Nearly 70 percent of workers feel disengaged from the work they do. Living for the weekend has become a way of life for most workers today. But, where are employers missing the mark? What workplace characteristics mean the difference between employee engagement and disconnection?
You may think salary tops the list but think again. Recognition for work well done is what most employees want. Sadly, 79 percent of workers who quit their job cite a lack of appreciation as their reason for leaving. Only 12 percent resign due to low salaries.
Culture and Values Prove to Be Invaluable Workplace Characteristics
There is an obvious disconnect between what management thinks employees want and value about their jobs, and what employees actually want and value about their jobs. As the top-down, hierarchical company models slowly creak into obsolescence, new ideas on how to recruit, engage and sustain employees are starting to emerge across the globe.
Even though salary is not the number one thing employees value in the workplace, fair wages are still imperative. Yet, other areas are far more important to workers.
Do you know what employees consistently put in the number one spot? Their company’s culture and values. This is especially important to millennials, who have now become the dominant generation in the workforce. An atmosphere of mistrust; unethical behavior by company leaders and coworkers; and abusing client trust – these are the primary reasons employees become unhappy on the job.
For employees lucky enough to work in an ethical culture conducive to promoting the welfare of employees and customers, what other areas do they value?
Here are the top 14 workplace characteristics employees value:
- Flexibility and work-life balance
- Trust and autonomy
- Inclusion and being heard by management
- Respect and fairness
- Engaged management who communicate and know what is going on
- Connection to something meaningful
- Empowerment to reach full potential
- Clear goals and expectations
- Career and promotion opportunities for growth and development
- Challenging responsibilities
- Mentoring by senior employees
- Training and professional development opportunities
- Benefits packages designed for more individual choices
This is just a basic list. You may have many other ideas about what constitutes the ideal workplace. However, in general, these areas seem to appear in most polls or surveys as the most valuable workplace characteristics.
Acknowledging a Job Well Done Goes a Long Way
Appreciation is clearly a top priority ,and the lack of it is a major factor in why people ultimately leave jobs. But, what exactly does this mean? Should you constantly be telling employees how wonderful they are eight hours a day? True appreciation is not about perpetual coddling. It is simply acknowledging a job well done; noticing the extra effort put into completing a project on-time; and letting employees know how much the company appreciates it. It is noting how an idea to streamline a process resulted in a better situation and saved the company money.
Too much empty praise means nothing after a while. Acknowledging employees’ efforts makes them feel connected and like they are an important part of the organization. Some people find it difficult to deliver praise, and that’s okay. Just find a way you can do it for your employees that is natural and sincere.
Another area workers value is having flexibility on the job. Work-life balance is no longer just an idea but a reality in today’s workplace. Technology has enabled more workers to telecommute; set different start and stop work times; and be more productive. For younger generations of workers, work-life balance is not a privilege but a necessity for a successful career.
Take a few minutes to evaluate what you value in your own workplace. How many of the 14 workplace characteristics does your company have? Is there anything you could do to change the culture or ideas in your company to help recruit and retain engaged, productive workers? Remember, it all starts with the company culture and values. So, it is imperative to start and build from there.