Going through the motions: Only 1/3 of workers are engaged in their jobs

Remember mood rings those unstylish color-changing rings that would give you away if you were embarrassed, in love, or just having a hot flash? Now Globoforce, a provider of global, strategic employee recognition solutions, has announced the 21st Century version of the mood ring – the Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker, a new semi-annual survey that provides insights on the current pulse of the U.S. worker. With attitudes and perspectives on employee recognition, appreciation, and satisfaction, the new survey offers a benchmark on the driving factors behind employee engagement and motivation levels of the U.S. workforce.
 
A recent study from consulting firm Blessing White indicates that only 33 percent of North American workers are engaged in their jobs. Low engagement levels have a proven negative impact on business performance. In fact, another study from HR consultancy Towers Watson showed organizations with high employee engagement had a 19 percent increase in operating income versus a 32 percent drop for companies with low levels of engagement. Globoforce's new survey measures a key catalyst for positive engagement and correlated business productivity: the current appreciation mindset of the U.S. workforce.
 
The first semi-annual report for the Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker shows recognition ambivalence among today's employees in the United States. While 68 percent of those surveyed feel appreciated at their jobs, 41 percent of workers are not satisfied with the level of recognition they receive for doing good work. Indicative of both the infrequency and non-personal nature of many of today's employee recognition programs, 43 percent of U.S. workers had not been recognized in the past three months. More importantly, a startling 55 percent felt they were not rewarded according to job performance, indicating a critical disconnect between recognition and performance.
 
"The Workforce Mood Tracker is an important new tool to add to the HR and management toolbox. It will provide invaluable insights into the very HR mechanisms that drive employee engagement," said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. "To solidify the link between performance and rewards, business leaders must take an active role in understanding the how, who, and when behind recognition in their organization. By fostering a renewed recognition approach that aligns with a company's goals and values, today's business and HR leaders can positively impact employee engagement, company culture, and bottom-line profits."
 
Today's Recognition Programs Not Achieving Desired Impact for U.S. Workforce
 
The vast majority (85 percent) of U.S. workers surveyed like to have their efforts at work recognized. However, respondents indicated that most managers are not doing it effectively. Thirty-three percent of them said their manager or supervisor does not effectively acknowledge and appreciate them at work. Not surprisingly, a similar percentage of those surveyed (36 percent) indicate their intent to search for a new job in 2011, illuminating another potential risk for companies: productivity loss and added recruiting costs.
 
Survey results indicate that recognition is key in employee motivation. Seventy-eight percent of respondents confirmed that being recognized for their efforts motivated them in their job. However, 66 percent of those same respondents stated their company doesn't have a recognition program that provides awards based on performance or behaviors tied to its core values. This lack of strategic connection is apparent, as nearly a quarter of U.S. workers (24 percent) don't know their company's core values while more than one-third (37 percent) don't know their company's goals for 2011.
 
*The Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker study was commissioned by Globoforce and conducted on January 7-8, 2011 by independent market research firm MarketTools, Inc., through an online panel of fully employed persons (age 18 or older) in the United States. There were 631 responses generated for the survey, resulting in a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. You can view the full survey results.
 

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