Do you know what your employees are thinking?

unhappy worker

On a daily basis we’re fortunate enough to gain a good insight into the thoughts and minds of employees across a wide spectrum of industries. Thanks to the rise of qualitative research, and our ability to analyse qualitative research so much faster than ever before, we can now gain a clearer view of opinion before feedback is gained from focus groups.

Over the past twelve months, The Survey Initiative has been monitoring general themes that crop up time and time again in research across all industry sectors, and geographic regions.

Here are the top five…

1. What do we love about our job? Teamwork, colleagues and support…
In the majority of surveys we have carried out, employees often rate working with their colleagues as the best thing about where they work. Here’s a typical response – “Everybody being so enthusiastic and passionate. It really feels like every co-worker wants to be here and is proud of his or her job.”

2. We need more money! Pay, benefits and rewards…
Many staff have not received a pay rise for a long time. In a number of organisations pressure has been put upon employees to work harder without any personal financial gain. Staff are really starting to resent that they have been underpaid for a significant period of time – “I would like to see a pay increase as we have not had our annual increase over the last two years now.”

3. Career development and training opportunities
Learning and development opportunities are a very popular theme and provide a number of emotive responses; both negative and positive.

Often employers have needed to cut back on training and have offered limited prospects for progression – “There are currently no development opportunities within the team and resource is limited, which makes taking on work outside of the normal day job very difficult to do”

However, there are employers who continue to value the expertise of their staff and offer ongoing training and opportunities to move within the organisation – “Staff are given the opportunities to do some courses thereby acquiring knowledge.”

4. Will someone tell me what’s going on! Better communication and inter-departmental cohesion
There’s nothing worse than not knowing what is going on in your organisation, nor the team you work with. Of course for employees who don’t understand the relevance of their role or that of their colleagues it does become a big problem for departmental cohesion – “Better communication at every level, site, and group. Better knowledge of group objectives. Better knowledge of the other structures of the group, more clarity and simplification of procedures.”

5. It would be nice if someone just said: “thanks!” Value and recognition
We all like to be appreciated for the work we do and need to know we are valued and contributing to the overall success of the people we work for, sadly, many employers do little to recognise their staff – “Greater rewards and recognition for staff’s hard work and loyalty. There is very little incentive for people to achieve highly because it often goes unnoticed and unrewarded particularly by staff at the very top level”

In a tick box world of answering ABC or D it becomes very difficult to analyse the common ‘themes’ running through organisations quickly and succinctly. Qualitative research is here to stay, although they’ll always be a place for quantitative data, to get to the heart of issues in the workplace the open-ended question can really help organisations understand what their staff are thinking.