Employees are all set to send their employers a sweet Valentine’s note this week. Alas, most don't think they'll be getting a similar sonnet from their company in return.
Virgin Pulse, part of the same company that owns airline, cellphone and other interests, gathered data from 1,000 U.S. workers concerning their affection, or lack of it, for their employer. What it found was, at least among this random group, people tend to either like or love their company. But they don’t feel the love coming back their way, and this makes them sad.
Fully three-quarters of respondents told Virgin Pulse they either love their company or like it and have no major complaints. Less than 2 percent said they hated where they worked and wanted out.
When asked what it was about their employers that kept them coming to work with a smile on their face and a song in their heart, respondents did not put compensation near the top of the list. (This has been a recurring finding in many studies of what makes employees satisfied at work.)
They cited "feeling like we’re making a difference” as most important (38 percent cited this as No. 1) followed by doing interesting/challenging work, having flexible schedules and getting great benefits/perks.
Compensation didn’t come through as nearly as important as other factors, including an employer that supports work/life balance and one that shows concern for an employee’s well-being by offering support for improving one’s health. "Only 7 percent cited their income as the reason they’re passionate about their job or their company," Virgin reported.
Here's how they ranked what they appreciated:
- 33 percent said doing interesting/challenging work keeps them engaged and loving their job.
- 22 percent felt passionate about what the company stands for and its mission.
- 12 percent said their coworkers were the main reason they love their company.
The survey revealed that just one-quarter of this sampling felt loved and appreciated by their employers. When asked what employers could do to better demonstrate an interest in the overall well-being of their worker bees, here’s what popped up. Each of these statements was endorsed by 30 percent or more of respondents:
- Supporting a work/life balance and overall quality of life ranked No. 1 in this survey as the way to show employees the love.
- Money does matter. While compensation wouldn’t make them love their job any more, it’s one of the most important ways employers can show employees they care.
- Employer-sponsored benefits like healthcare and wellness benefits, 401(k)s, life insurance, PTO, etc., and career development and training opportunities.
- Some concrete indication that their employer cared more about their financial well-being.
- Some concrete indication that their employer cared about their career development.
- Some concrete indication that their employer cared about their emotional health (stress, etc.).
Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, said of the results, “The key is to create a culture where employees feel appreciated and supported across all aspects of their lives, while simultaneously making them feel they’re a part of something exciting and challenging. Creating a ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality and walking the talk motivates employees and helps to create a more energized, focused and driven workforce.”