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When Bosses Get Good Scores

Posted Aug 12 2008 6:15am

"The persistent, spirited craving we have for connection, meaning, relevance, peace -- can't really be abandoned because from 8-to-5 we have a job, can it? More and more and more we see people bringing their humanity to work, and finding ways to specify what's really important. Less is more. Seems to me the only time more is more is when it's more of less." (my italics)

--Lisa Gates comment on Goals, Clarity, and Less

Headlines often highlight the negative, or questionable, in order to grab our attention. It works.

We're so used to it that when I see one that puts a smile on my face, it actually has more impact.

Here are statistics that say things aren't quite as dismal as most headline writers would like us to think:

More than half--58%--of U.S. workers have confidence in their company's leadership. A full 66% say that they would recommend their firm to their friends who are seeking a job.

Those figures come from a survey conducted by NetReflector, a company that offersSurvey tools for gathering customer and employee feedback. The survey included 9,351 people in 10 different countries. I'm not sure of the exact amount from the U.S. survey population.

What does this mean?

We're always seeing headlines or journal articles about difficulty in recruiting and retaining talent. If these stats are true, then companies would seem to have a lot going for them. Additionally, the NetReflector folks point out that high employee satisfaction usually equates with high customer satisfaction. Not bad.

Is there a hidden challenge in there?

I think so. I did a post about what job seekers want. The top 3 items were interesting, challenging work; rewards and recognition for accomplishments; and a chance for quick career growth and advancement.

The NetReflector survey asked "what could bosses do better?" The highest percentage of responses stated "use my skills and abilities better." And just under half (49%) felt that what they did actually contributed to the company's mission.

If we can assume that this is an accurate representation, then supervisors and managers can probably boost their effectiveness even more by focusing on two things:

1. Creating assignments that offer some stretch goals and professional growth.

2. Intentionally talking about how the work unit's efforts tie into the company's overall mission.

I'm thinking that if managers can focus on just a couple of meaningful things at a time--instead of being faced with multiple programmatic fads--they can make a difference.

What do you think?

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