Survey: Majority Would Switch Jobs For Firm That Recognizes Them

If there’s one thing we know pretty clearly from all the surveys over the past year, it’s this: lots of employees aren’t all that enamored with their job, and their employer, and they would jump ship if they got a good chance.

Such is the state of employee engagement today. And if you wonder “why” so many employees are unhappy and disgruntled, here’s a good reason: they aren’t being recognized and appreciated for the contributions they make for the good of the company.

According to the latest Mood Tracker Survey from Globoforce, a global provider of employee recognition solutions, 55 percent of survey respondents say they would still leave their jobs for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts.

Dissatisfied with their level of recognition

According to the September 2012 Workforce Mood Tracker, employees are less satisfied in their current job and feel less appreciated for the work they do. In fact, when compared to the February 2011 results, the latest survey shows alarming trends in the U.S. workforce:

  • 38 percent of employees are actively looking for a new job, up from 36 percent;
  • 39 percent of workers say they don’t feel appreciated at work, up from 32 percent;
  • 52 percent of employees are dissatisfied with the level of recognition they receive on the job, up from 41 percent.

In addition, according to the September 2011 Globoforce survey, nearly half of all workers surveyed said they would leave their current job for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts and contributions. Plus, the survey also reveals the connection between a lack of recognition and potential turnover.

Avoiding a “thankless recovery”

Among respondents who stated they plan to search for a new job this year:

  • Only 24 percent are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work. Conversely, 63 percent of employees who have no plans of leaving are satisfied with their level of recognition.
  • Some 32 percent say they have been recognized at work in the past three months. By contrast, 52 percent of those who have no intention of leaving had been recognized in the past three months

It’s been often stated that we’re in the midst of a jobless recovery,” said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce in a press release about the survey. “While that may be true, it’s critical for companies to avoid a ‘thankless recovery’ for their current employees, as that could have damaging consequences on employee productivity, company culture, and employee retention.”

And he added: “Our latest survey shows that if you recognize and appreciate your employees in relevant ways, they will want to continue to work for you.”

Yes, it’s a simple concept: Recognize people for a job well done, and treat them well, and with respect, and they will not only be more engaged but they will want to continue to work for you. Plus, they’ll probably do a better job as well.

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But as simple as that concept is, far too many companies and their executives still don’t get it.

78% say being recognized motivates them

Some of it is a holdover from the recession when organizations didn’t feel they needed to do much for employees because, hey, they should just be happy they have a job. That kind of thinking, and a larger outlook by too many executives that everyone is disposable and can be easily replaced by someone else, is the cause for so much of the negative feedback that pops up in surveys like this.

Case in point: The September 2011 Mood Tracker survey found that the majority of employees surveyed would perform better and have higher job satisfaction if their employer acknowledged their efforts and appreciated them for their work on a regular basis. Two key specifics:
  • 78 percent of U.S. workers said being recognized motivates them in their job;
  • 69 percent stated they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.

The Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker study was conducted on Aug.  5-6, 2011 by independent market research firm MarketTools, Inc., through an online panel of fully employed persons (age 18 or older) at companies with 500+ employees in the United States. There were 630 responses generated for the survey, resulting in a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

The frustrating thing to me about surveys like this is that despite the overwhelming evidence that recognizing employees, appreciating them, and treating them well for their work really does matter, many organizations out there still don’t seem to get it.

Yes, we do need to work harder to avoid a “thankless recovery.” Perhaps this survey, and a few more like it, will help to do the trick.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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