The state of labor relations is in the dumpster. In fact, 49% of Americans describe the relationship between management and labor at their companies as “lukewarm” or “negative,” with only 9% describing the relationship as “extremely positive,” according to a new Maritz Poll on employee satisfaction conducted by Maritz Research.
And it gets worse. Only 10% of employees strongly agreed that they were genuinely listened to and cared about by their companies and just 9% trusted their employer to look out for their best interest.
While the common idea is that most disputes between employees and management are usually over pay and benefits, that is not necessarily the case, said Rick Garlick, Ph.D, director of consulting and strategic implementation, Maritz Research Hospitality Group, in a statement.
“Our research has shown that the extent to which employees felt their companies cared about them, the degree to which they trusted their leaders and believed their leaders to act consistently, were at least twice as important as pay and nearly three times as important as benefits in predicting the state of labor relations,” he said.
Union employees, while more distrustful of management and feel less cared about by their employers, had a higher satisfaction rating for pay and benefits than non-union employees.
Despite the poor rankings for management and employers, there are a number of options to consider to improve relations. Maritz offered the following suggestions:
- Recognize employees in a meaningful way—Give managers the education and recognition tools needed to recognize employees sincerely and meaningfully. Make sure rewards are meaningful to the employee; thank you can go a long way. Generate recognition ideas from employees that offer plenty of choice.
- Value your employees’ ideas—Respect employees perspective and ideas—who knows better about a company than those working on the frontlines. Develop an employee incentives program that encourages and rewards ideas on improving business processes, realizing cost savings and other revenue generating solutions.
- Make employees feel like they are part of a team—Build a team culture through communication and teamwork (only 11% of respondents believe that everyone at their companies were all on the same team). One way is to develop a peer-to-peer recognition program that enables employees to commend each other and feel that they are all working toward a common goal.
- Communicate openly and honestly—Only 6% of workers were completely satisfied with the way their organizations communicated with them. Two-way dialogue needs to be encouraged.
- Act consistently—Only 8% of workers felt that their senior leaders’ actions were completely consistent with their words. For example, don’t ask employees to improve customer service and then have an employee incentive program that rewards them for decreasing the amount of time they spend on customer calls.
Maritz Poll surveyed more than 1,300 randomly selected U.S. adults who work full-time and more than 30 hours a week.