Employees value feedback and recognition more than any other attributes in their boss, according to a new survey, with Generation Y workers the most needing of praise.
Talent management company SHL recently surveyed 1,299 Australians about what they view as the most important characteristics in a boss.
The survey reveals employees value their bosses’ ability to give good feedback and recognition more than any other attributes.
This contrasts with results of the same survey in 2010, which found that the most important characteristics in a boss were honesty and trustworthiness.
SHL national director Samantha Christopher says employee expectations have changed dramatically in the space of a year, partly due to easing concerns about the global financial crisis.
“We are now back to [the employee mindset of] ‘what can the organisation do for me?’,” she says.
The survey reveals 55% of the workers surveyed say they are slacking off because they feel their hard work is not being recognised, and this is particularly prevalent among Gen Y workers.
“They want to know really clearly what is expected of them and whether they are achieving it or not,” Christopher says.
“It is not necessarily mollycoddling; it can be very straightforward. It can still be very focused on the task at hand.”
Christopher says Gen Y workers have been subjected to a schooling system that continually tests and grades them against their peers, which means they are not only accustomed to knowing where they stand but expect it.
According to KPMG demographer Bernard Salt, Generation Y workers want validation almost on a daily basis, putting pressure on employers to provide them with constructive criticism.
“It is easy to give good feedback. It is actually hard to give constructive feedback, but it is absolutely important,” he says.
Another survey by recruitment firm OfficeTeam highlights the discrepancy between employee expectations and employers’ actions, in regard to recognition in the workplace.
OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half International, recently surveyed 540 administrative professionals and hiring managers.
According to the survey, 49% of the office staff surveyed want their employers to publicly recognise and reward their achievements, yet only 38% of employers plan to recognise their top performers in 2011.
OfficeTeam associate director Stephen Langhammer says employee recognition can have long-lasting effects on productivity, with the report revealing 93% of the office workers surveyed say receiving recognition improves their performance.
“This should come as good news to employers who can incentivise and retain talented staff members without necessarily having to increase their overheads,” Langhammer says.
Langmammer offers employers the following tips:
Give timely praise. Be quick to acknowledge employees’ accomplishments. Often, a verbal “thank you” can go a long way toward making a team member feel valued.
Praise in proportion. It’s nice to thank people for a job well done, but keep in mind that encouragement along the way works wonders in building motivation and productivity.
Make praise meaningful. Avoid praising team members for simply carrying out their basic job requirements and reserve accolades for truly standout performances. When possible, tie recognition to the achievement of specific business results.