The Society for Human Resource Management just posted its annual look at the factors that drive employee satisfaction in the workplace. One unique element of the SHRM research is that it looks at the factors from two perspectives—employees and HR professionals. First time readers of the report will be surprised that the lists of what employees want from the workplace and the list of what HR professionals perceive they want do not match up exactly. But in reality, it makes perfect sense, because each group perceives the environment a little differently depending on their experience. Let’s take a look at the two rankings in this year’s report, identify the differences, and explore what it means for leaders in today’s organizations.
First, the employees’ ranking
- Job security
- Opportunities to use skills and abilities
Next, the HR professionals’ ranking
- Relationship with immediate supervisor
- Job security
- Communication between employees and senior management
While both lists have job security in their respective rankings you’ll also see that benefits are only on the employee list while “relationship with immediate supervisor” and “communication between employees and senior management” are only on the HR professionals list.
What accounts for this discrepancy? The difference is perception. While benefits are certainly important to employees the issues that HR professionals are hearing about in their offices are relationships with immediate supervisor and overall communication.
What does this mean? Two things. One, as an HR professional, don’t let data summaries distract you from the most important message. People are unique, with unique needs and desires. Every individual perceives their work environment differently. Survey results should never take the place of one-on-one conversations.
Two, as a manager, remember that you are on the front lines in making sure that everyone has a voice and feels listened to and heard. Don’t assume you know what your employees want and how they feel about the way that things are going. Take a minute to sit down and find out where your employees stand personally with each of the issues identified in this year’s SHRM report. To see all of the data collected along with some ideas for action steps, be sure to check out the complete report here.