The importance of "Emotional Benefits"

According to recent research, just under a third of UK office workers claimed to feel that they “completely belong” within their company. Even more eye-watering is that over a third claimed to have “no bond at all” with their employer. This must, surely, make worrying reading for many British bosses.

By: James Blair on

If you can show me an employer that feels no pain or detriment from staff churn and/or a disengaged workforce, then I’ll show you the six pack that I’ve not got after 5 months of eating my lockdown frustrations.

Here are a few more statistics from this report:

  • “Feeling valued” was second only to salary in importance to workers, with 47% of workers citing this as vital.
  • “Getting on with colleagues” was a close third with 43% quoting this as important
  • 57% agreed that they are motivated when they feel they belong.
  • A staggering 80% of workers who don’t feel that sense of community at work are considering leaving their jobs in the next year.
  • Equally worrying is that only 25% of employees claim to be “highly likely to recommend their employer to a friend”.

These stat’s underline (in red and at least three times) just how important these “emotional benefits” are to our workforce.

And if you were still somehow in any doubt, the numbers of people who were impressed by some of the more obvious or commonly offered monetary perks were paltry, to say the least. A subsidised gym membership was quoted as important by just 4%. Even good old health insurance could only muster up 10%.

I have personal experience of working for individuals and companies who placed no value on “fluffy nonsense” like staff feeling valued or a having a sense of belonging. In my managerial roles within such establishments, I made it part of my mission to go against that culture and promote belonging, to celebrate success, to engage my people and recognise their efforts and achievements, regardless of how I was being managed or feeling myself. I’m not after a sainthood (I’ve just googled “Saint James” in case it was still available and can see that not only is it taken, but that he’s taken “James the Great”, too…) but I always wanted team members who wanted to do a good job for me and who wanted to support each other. This data vindicates me somewhat for that decision. (Oooh, I like the sound of “James the Vindicated”..!)

This isn’t about not managing people. It’s not about not having targets or KPIs. It’s not about not having difficult conversations when they’re needed and justified. It’s about recognising people for doing well, for trying hard. It’s about building loyalty, commitment and morale. As well as making your people feel valued form above, why not give your teams the opportunity to express their appreciation for each other? Maslow famously stated that the need for “belonging” encompasses both feeling loved and feeling love towards others. (You can read about that here.) So, is there a better way to instil that missing belongingness and to encourage better inter-team relationships, two of the three most significant wants for UK workers right now?

Listen to your people. Trust and delegate. Set clear objectives. Keep them informed. Respect and encourage a good work/life balance. Recognise and value their efforts.

The reward will be a more loyal, harder-working, committed, co-operative and happier team. And that means less time lost to exit interviews, handovers, perusing CVs, interviewing, inducting, training and all of the other time and resource-draining tasks that come from having a high staff turnover.