It doesn't always take attractive benefits or a high salary to keep employees satisfied. Instead, bosses simply need to remember to say, "thank you."
In a recent report by Appirio, 60 percent of surveyed workers said they put the most value on being appreciated by management, and that appreciation plays a big role in employee satisfaction and retention.
"Our survey found that appreciation, connectedness and emotional safety all outrank compensation as important factors in career decision-making," Harry West, vice president of services and product management at Appirio, said in a statement. "Employee engagement can't be solved by simply showering workers with raises and bonuses. Companies must be dedicated to providing transparency, support and technologies that keep high-end tech talent happy."
Appirio revealed several key insights into why and how employees want to feel appreciated. [See Related Story: 11 Creative Ways to Show Employee Appreciation]
Satisfaction isn't necessarily directly correlated with compensation. According to the survey, employees have issues with leaders who make no effort to form relationships with their workers or show appreciation for employees. Respondents said the worst qualities a boss or manager can have are being emotionally distant and uncommunicative. Some examples are failing to give credit to workers (32 percent of respondents), rarely giving praise or expressing support (28 percent), failing to help employees with promotion (24 percent), and viewing workers as replaceable (13 percent).
Interviewees care most about feeling appreciated by their bosses. When considering a job offer, 60 percent of respondents said that feeling appreciated by their managers is the most important factor. On the other hand, only 5 percent said they were most concerned with climbing the corporate ladder, and only 4 percent said they cared most about raises.
Most workers value a human expression for a job well done. Appirio found that 55 percent of respondents said they'd feel most disappointed if a manager never thanked the employee for a job well done on a big project. Support and gratitude seem to be more motivating and cherished than any other form of reward, West said.
"The human touch is becoming even more important in a world where people spend so much time in the digital space," he added.
So how do you express your gratitude in an effective way? Timing is everything, West said.
"One of the main ways a manager can show appreciation is by providing ... a 'thank you' that is delivered in real time, not just at the end of the year or in a formal review session," he said. "Consistent, verbal feedback is a key motivator for the current workforce."
Appirio's results were based on 657 total respondents using an online survey on the SnapApp platform.