Reality Check: 5 Things You Need to Realize About Your Employees

Reality Check: 5 Things You Need to Realize About Your Employees
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The hustle and bustle of the working world can make it difficult for employers to stay in tune with their employees. However, not doing so can be costly -- think decreased engagement and job satisfaction, and increased turnover. Employers don’t always get a behind-the-scenes look at the goings-on within various departments and their employees, but it’s time to remove the curtain.

In an effort to hold on to the company’s best and brightest, employers need a bit of a reality check when it comes to their workforce. Here are five data-backed facts every employer needs to realize about their employees and what to do about them:

1. Employees are on the hunt for a new job.

Employees might appear happy in their current positions, but what employers don’t know is that many employees are actively searching for new work. According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends survey of more than 20,000 employed professionals worldwide, nearly one in three said they are actively looking for a new job.

What to do about it: Keeping employees satisfied in their positions requires communication. Consider meeting with employees on a regular basis to elicit feedback and discuss job expectations and concerns. Employees won’t always speak up when there’s a problem, but giving them a safe, comfortable environment to discuss work-related issues and goals will encourage and support ongoing communication.

Related: The 10 Biggest Motivation Killers and How to Fix Them (Infographic)

2. Employees are not as engaged as you think.

An engaged employee is a productive employee. Unfortunately, for every engaged employee there are a handful of disengaged employees. Gallup’s 2014 employee engagement study of more than 80,000 employed adults revealed that more than half of employees are not engaged (51 percent) or are actively disengaged (17.5 percent) on the job.

What to do about it: The key to employee engagement is purpose. Employees need to feel that their work efforts contribute to the overall company goals. Actively communicating these goals to the rest of the organization can help employees connect their individual goals to the company vision, which employees find both rewarding and motivating.

Take it a step further by sharing company success with the entire organization. Celebrating successes with employees is a great way to build momentum and organically create engagement.

3. Employees aren’t happy with their pay.

Compensation is a leading driver of employee attraction and retention. In fact, according to Tower Watson’s 2014 Global Workforce Study, regardless of employee age, base pay is the reason most frequently cited by employees for joining or leaving an organization.

However, while 61 percent of the 600 employees surveyed by SHRM reported compensation or pay as a very important job satisfaction contributor, only 24 percent were very satisfied with the benefit, according to SHRM’s 2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report.

What to do about it: Don’t hesitate to spark the discussion with employees. If employees aren’t happy with their pay, employers need to know about it before they look for better compensation elsewhere. While giving a pay raise or bonus isn’t always an option, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to compensate employees for a job well done, from providing professional development opportunities to offering creative workplace perks.

Related: 5 Affordable Benefits Employees Appreciate But Few Companies Offer

4. Employees are running away from their managers.

The employee-manager relationship has a huge impact on performance and overall job satisfaction. So much so, that one in two employees have left their jobs to get away from a bad manager, according to Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager Report of more than 2 million manager-led teams and 27 million employees.

What to do about it: Improving the employee-manager relationship requires managers to do more than just manage. Successful managers act as coaches, mentors and teachers.

The study by Gallup found that employees whose managers help them set work priorities and goals are more engaged. So play a role in helping employees succeed in their roles by taking part in the goal setting process and meeting with employees on a regular basis to discuss individual development.

5. Employees don’t feel respected.

When it comes to motivating and engaging employees, there’s only one thing that truly matters: respect. In a study of nearly 20,000 employees worldwide by Harvard Business Review, being treated with respect was revealed to be more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, useful feedback and even opportunities for growth.

When employers respect employees, the rest follows. Unfortunately, more than half of employees claimed that they don’t regularly get respect from their leaders.

What to do about it: Employee respect begins with inviting employees into the circle of trust. Respect means trusting employees enough to be transparent with them. When it comes to company successes (and failures), keep employees in the loop.

Not only will keeping employees informed make them feel valued and respected, but knowing the goings-on within the company can help them better contribute to successes and solutions.

What do you think? Which of these facts resonates with you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Related: Money Is Nice, But It's Not Enough to Motivate Employees