A number of research studies have identified the importance of relationships in successful workplaces, but a study often cited was conducted by the Gallup organization in the late 1990s. Gallup set out to discover the factors that separated organizations that were successful in finding, focusing and keeping talented employees from organization that didn’t have this competitive edge. When they began the study, Gallup researchers didn’t know if salaries or benefits or perks or leadership made the difference.
To find their measure of organizational effectiveness, Gallup turned to the over one million interviews they had conducted over a 25 year period. They had been measuring factors in the workplace that managers could control and that pointed to higher employee satisfaction. They were looking for patterns in these questions and they were particularly interested in teasing out the survey questions that loyal and engaged employees answered affirmatively but average or poor performers answered negatively or neutrally. The idea was to identify only the factors that appealed to highly motivated and talented employees.
When all was said and done and the factor analysis, regression analysis and concurrent validity studies were finished, 12 factors emerged from the data as the most important indicators of an organization’s ability to attract and retain the most talented employees. These factors are:
- Clear work expectations
- Equipment and materials to do job right
- Opportunity to “do what I do best” every day
- Recognition and praise (within the past seven days)
- Someone cares about me as a person
- Individual development and growth is encouraged
- My opinion is valued
- Company’s mission/purpose makes me feel my job is important
- Co-workers committed to quality work
- Close relationship at work
- Frequent conversations about progress
- Opportunities to learn and grow