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Job satisfaction – managers are dropping the ball

Richard Webley

According to research released today, job satisfaction and employee engagement are not doing well at UK large businesses – and both line managers and executive teams have to share the blame. It found that less than half of employees (43 percent) say they feel valued for their contribution to the business. Richard Webley, Managing Director – Dragonfish.

Line managers received a considerable proportion of the responsibility: 61 percent of employees believe they aren’t helped by their line managers to understand their strengths and areas for improvement, while 60 percent say they aren’t given the opportunity by bosses to try new things that align with their career goals. More than half (55 percent) actually admit that they don’t trust their line manager. However, line managers aren’t the only culprits: almost half of employees (47 percent) say they don’t have the information they need to succeed at their role and the same percentage say they lack access to the right tools and resources. Furthermore, only 46 percent believe they fully understand what’s expected of them at work.

The research among 1,200 employees working in UK-based organisations with more than 1,000 staff was commissioned by culture and engagement consultancy Dragonfish. Richard Webley, MD, comments: “The problem might start with line managers but the responsibility for the employee experience the organisation’s culture ultimately sits with executive teams. Senior leaders need to realise that if they want their organisation to be a long-term success, one of their most crucial tasks is building a workforce that is happy at work, full of people who want to be part of the organisation and are committed to making it a success. Without the building blocks in place that come from a clearly defined and shaped employee experience, even the most well-thought-through business plan can fall flat and deliver disappointing results.”

The research found a number of further gaps between employee expectations and their current experience at work: Only 40 percent of employees are given the opportunity to be involved in business decisions that affect them; Only 37 percent of employees receive praise and recognition when they do good work; 55 percent say that they don’t feel trusted by their line manager; More than half (58 percent) aren’t encouraged to come up with new ways of doing things in their current role; Two thirds (67 percent) don’t think they have the information they need to understand what their customers need. Webley adds: “The cost of a poor employee experience is more than a lost opportunity. Just look on sites like Glassdoor and you’ll see thousands of employees who simply don’t care – and that attitude is bound to rub off when they deal with customers. Particularly so in large multi-site service businesses where a large proportion of staff deal with customers every day.

“Our research shows that now more than ever, an organisation’s culture goes beyond its four walls. In an age of social media and instant communication, if your culture stinks, your customers will feel it. And if your people aren’t happy and engaged, your customers will tell you about it and the whole world will witness you being reprimanded. The opportunity for ambitious leaders is to consider the role their people and culture can play in building a trusted brand and a positive customer experience, then work on aligning and optimising their employee experience to deliver this. We’ve found that organisations working on cracking their ‘culture code’ are unlocking huge potential in terms of productivity, customer growth and financial performance alike.”

Dragonfish conducted the research survey among 1,200 full time employees who all work in UK based organisations employing more than 1,000 staff across multiple sectors, carried out in partnership with The Market Research Group, part of Bournemouth University.

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