Do you think your employees are happy at work? Really? What if you knew that four of five of them were actively looking for a new job? Would that motive you to change your work environment?
According to a poll by Right Management, the talent and career management unit with ManpowerGroup, 83 percent of nearly 900 workers who responded to an online poll say they “intend to actively seek a new position in the New Year.” Another 12 percent are considering making a move, and just 5 percent intend to stay put.
1. Don’t assume you know what they want.
And don’t assume that what made employees at other companies happy will work for yours. Trying to improve the workplace climate generically or based on tips at a seminar or from a book won’t work, because every workplace is different.
2. Start with an anonymous survey.
Your first task is to find out which aspects of their jobs matter most to your particular workforce. Quantitative research – an online survey that employees can fill out anonymously – will generate the best results. There are tons of free or cheap survey solutions. Find one. Use it.
3. Ask how you’re doing on the issues they care about.
Your survey should offer employees a list of qualities that might make them value their jobs. These may include such items as career development, relationships with their direct managers, quality of the work their team produces, whether they feel their opinions are valued, and so on. Asking, “How much do you agree that this is important?” and “How good are we at this?” will get the best results. Look for the gaps between what they think is important and what your company is doing well. And ask what management can do to make things better.
4. Plan possible responses ahead of time.
Although you’re asking for their input, you should also have a plan of action in place, depending what you learn from their answer. Create a process for responding before you launch the survey. Who will respond? How will the responses be determined? Are the solutions you offer doable? Who will implement them? Make a plan that’s realistic and will show you have heard the feedback. But don’t let the plan become too hard to manage or to implement. Instead of trying to do everything you can think of, focus hard on the two or three areas employees tell you they care about the most.