Several psychological benefits spark employee satisfaction and loyalty, according to researchers.
Organizations invest billions of dollars every year in employee engagement tools, but too often they miss the mark. Now a new study offers some insights into the psychological factors that promote employee engagement. “Delivering the Psychological Benefits That Drive Employee Loyalty,” which involved a survey of 1,466 full-time employees at mid- and large-size U.S. companies, suggests that five types of psychological benefits drive employee engagement.
Personal. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of respondents agreed that “working at my company makes me feel good about myself.” However, only 25% strongly agree with that statement. At the same time, 62% said they are proud to tell others where they work, but only 33% are very proud to do so.
Emotional. Sixty percent of respondents said their typical workday makes them feel good. However, 29% said their day makes them feel “tired, drained, or exhausted,’” and 24% said they feel “frustrated or annoyed.”
Functional. Over 60% of employees said they are satisfied with their overall compensation package, but only half say their company helps them achieve their professional goals.
Cultural identity. Most employees (65%) said that their company has a clear culture. Fewer (58%) said they actually like the company culture; and only 28% said they like the culture a lot.
Social identity. Respondents indicated they have positive feelings about their colleagues. About half said their co-workers are “responsible,” “hard-working,” and “helpful.” But a similar number also said they can’t relate to the typical employee at their organization. While about half said they would call leadership “smart” and “ambitious,” only 30% said they can relate to these people and just 44% said they want to work more closely with them.
Employees identified several types of engagement initiatives that their companies offer: company communications, organization-sponsored events, recognition programs, incentive efforts, professional development programs, and wellness programs. The study authors said that when companies successfully implement these kinds of initiatives, employees are much more satisfied with their organization overall.
The study underscored the significance of engagement, determining that engaged, satisfied employees are significantly more likely to recommend the company as a good place to work, more willing to learn new skills and responsibilities, and more likely to plan a long-term career at the organization. However, study results indicate that most organizations have room for improvement regarding employee satisfaction. Only a third of the employees surveyed said they are “very satisfied” at their company and about half said they are interested in jobs at other companies.
“When executed well, engagement initiatives give employees compelling reasons to stay—to embrace their role day-to-day and champion the mission of the organization,” the study authors concluded. They further observed, “These types of initiatives work by enhancing the intangible—but powerful—psychological forces that ultimately drive engagement.” Finally, they noted, “By identifying the key psychological benefits that should be top priority for improvement, companies can be strategic in their use of engagement initiatives. They can narrow their focus and resources to programs likely to work the best.”