Businesses need focus and innovation, but employees are disengaged—what will motivate them?

by | Nov 13, 2023 | Public Relations

Businesses are fighting many battles right now—the urgency of implementing digital transformation keeps escalating as generative AI’s promises of uber-productivity and operational streamlining wait in the wings for many, while more adaptive competitors move forward in this race for efficiency. Meanwhile, an improving but unsteady economy still threatens with an unprecedented level of risk for tech laggards. In a nutshell, leaders need all hands on deck—but many employees don’t think they’re getting enough in return.

New workplace research from brand culture consultancy People Made finds that a full three-quarters (74 percent) of employees said they would feel more motivated, and 80 percent reported that they would be more likely to stay with their current employer, if they had more influence in the workplace. As well as energizing disengaged employees, a display of more trust, transparency and ownership could serve as a critical accelerator to businesses that need sustainable growth.

What are employees looking for exactly?

The survey of U.S. employees between the ages of 18 and 54 reveals that when it comes to openness and transparency in the workplace, a huge majority (88 percent) want their leaders to be straight with them, even if they don’t like what they’re hearing. Respondents also shared that when businesses create a place of trust and openness, it unlocks innovation and invention—more than two-thirds (70 percent) believe that it’s fear of blame that holds people back from trying new things.

A promising solution awaits

While the trend toward quiet quitting—the idea that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description—could get worse, the firm’s new research, along with one-on-one interviews conducted with key leaders at top organizations including Penguin Random House, Sony Music Group, Burberry, Verizon, SXSW, NBCUniversal and others, points to a promising solution: the directive for employers is to make a bold move that will impact employee commitment and motivation, while at the same time boosting business pace and performance.

“The answer lies in radically empowering employees in a space of fearless trust to accelerate decision-making, ramp up performance and improve customer experience, creating a positive culture where employees have more control and influence and work has more meaning,” said Brook Calverley, founding partner of People Made, in a news release.

The research asserts that not only does this answer provide a powerful driver of engagement, motivation and commitment, but it also could have a huge impact on problem-solving, customer experience and productivity.

“The bottom line is that 69 percent of employees claim they’d get more done if managers placed more trust in them, [and] 77 percent said they’d deliver better customer experience,” Calverley added.

The research also uncovered a decisive shift from purpose to practice

More than half of the employees surveyed said they didn’t care about lofty and long-term purpose statements—what matters most to them are the decisions businesses make day-to-day.

These new findings are in line with Gallup research revealing that quiet quitting makes up at least 50 percent or more of the U.S. workforce, and is a major challenge for management.  According to Gallup, in order to solve the quiet quitting dilemma, employers must first address manager engagement—only one in three managers is engaged at work, according to their survey of more than 15,091 employees in June of 2022.

The findings were based on a random sample of 500 U.S. employees, surveyed in October 2023. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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