I read a very interesting study last week on employee satisfaction surveys. These are surveys that organizations use to assess the overall satisfaction and engagement of employees. The data is often used to make important decisions by leadership regarding leadership behavior and values, employee work place rewards and perks, and sometimes used by external organizations as a metric for a “best place to work” for.
This study revealed a very counter intuitive conclusion. It found that low-performing employees rated their satisfaction towards their organizations very high. They liked that they could perform at or below average and still maintain their jobs and all the perks that came with it. High-performing employees on the other hand, rated their organizations low, as they felt they were carrying the extra load of the low performers who often times were peers being compensated at similar levels. Other studies consistently show that high performing employees average about 20% of an organization. So you can do the math of who is doing what in most organizations and why some organizations score very high on their employee satisfaction surveys but are also grossly underperforming.
I have blogged before about how low-performing employees disproportionately consume precious time, energy, and dollars from organizations who wrestle with how to get them to perform better, often at the expense of acknowledging and rewarding the high performers. This is also true of friends and relatives who are unhealthy but also consume priceless personal and family time in our personal lives, and again, at the expense of those friends who are kind and generous.
This week, as you attend your meetings, conference calls, family events, or any other communal gathering, take inventory of who you think the low and high performing folks are. For every high performer, or positive family member, take a minute to acknowledge them in whatever way you think will make them feel special.