I Can’t Get No Satisfaction!

business culture business leadershipApparently, that’s what employees are saying in the Achievers’ 2015 North American Workforce report. They want to “feel inspired by their leadership, valued for their contributions and aligned with company objectives.” According to the report, here is how they are currently feeling:

  • 51% of employees are not happy at work.
  • 61% of employees don’t know their company’s cultural values.
  • 53% of employees don’t feel recognized for their achievements at work.

Wow, that’s a pretty big swath of the workforce that isn’t feeling very productive. Yes, that’s right, when employees aren’t happy, productivity is the first casualty. Unaligned and unintentional cultures are the next consequences.

So what should we do about it? Entrepreneurs have it easier than the large firms because they can be more nimble and make some changes quickly. Larger organizations typically have a harder time making a shift. Here are three things you can do as the leader of your organization to make sure your employees are not as unhappy as the ones who filled out the survey.

First, “walk the floors” now and then, and do It virtually if you have to. This means let everyone see you, say hello, ask how they are doing, be genuinely interested in what they are doing for your company. Communication from the leader is critical to employees feeling connected to the organization. A simple “good morning” and a smile will make someone’s day a little better. Don’t be a hermit.

Second, (and I know I sound like a broken record on this), but identify and share the company values. This is such an easy, no cost thing for companies to do and some leaders feel like “they shouldn’t have to, everyone knows what we stand for.” If they did, 61% would not say they didn’t. Besides, how can employees be happy if they don’t know what the values are and whether or not they are aligned with them? Employee turnover is more often than not due to character or value misalignment than skills – shouldn’t the employee and the employer be clear about values going in? And values are not a “squishy” subject, it’s proven that values-aligned companies have better returns and higher productivity. Besides being good for the employees on the happiness scale, it’s good for the bottom line. Win-Win.


Lastly, how does your company recognize employees? Once a year at the company party? Probably not enough. If you have at least 25 or more employees, find someone who is particularly good at recognizing people and have them put some fun programs in place. Yes, people get paid to do their jobs, and they also want to know that they are valued and appreciated which is not pay related. They want to know that someone notices their work and contributions. It doesn’t take much to tell someone they are doing a good job. Coming from the CEO, it also means a lot more. You need to go first and the rest will follow. If you value your employees, tell them.

All of these little, inexpensive steps will help your employees feel more connected and, therefore, happier when they are at work. What that does for the company is increase productivity, decrease turnover, and make it a more satisfying place to work.