December 02, 2014

The 2014 ANSWERS™ American Employee Study Reveals the Real Drivers of Employee Satisfaction

It’s Not All About the Money: Leadership As Important As Compensation and Supervisor

ANN ARBOR, MI (December 2, 2014)—Answers Corporation, owner and operator of top-10 Internet property Answers.com (source: Quantcast) and a premier provider of cloud-based voice of the customer (VoC) solutions, today released key findings from the first Answers™ American Employee Study, a comprehensive examination of thousands of American workers across roles, ranks and industries. By applying patented experience analytics methodology from ForeSee, an Answers solution, time-tested through more than 100 million consumer surveys, Answers was able to identify the unique factors that drive employee engagement and satisfaction.

Key Findings from the 2014 Answers American Employee Study:

  • #EmployerFail: American employees are generally dissatisfied, scoring a 65 in satisfaction, on a 0-100 scale. A score of 80 or higher is considered the threshold for excellence at which a company meets and exceeds employee expectations.
  • Listen to Me: Only 46 percent of employees have ever participated in company-led employee experience measurement programs. Of those who did participate, a meager 15 percent reported that action was taken as a result of those surveys.
  • You Don’t Know Me: Nearly half (48 percent) don’t feel like their employers understand their career goals.
  • Training Day: Those who have received zero training scored 52 in satisfaction. In stark contrast, employees who received formal training have a satisfaction score of 72, highlighting the difference an employer’s commitment can make to employee perception.
  • Hat Trick to Happiness: Answers’ analytical engine has debunked previous beliefs that an employee’s pay or manager have the greatest impact on employee satisfaction. Leadership, which includes providing employees with a long-term vision to rally around, plays an equally heavy role. Leadership, Compensation and Relationship with a Supervisor are the top three priority areas for improvement.
  • Rise of the “Middle Class”: 27 percent of workers are engaged in their work; 28 percent are completely disengaged. Nearly half of all employees (45 percent) fall somewhere in the middle, and present a valuable opportunity. Focusing on moving that “silent plurality” into the engaged column can have a tremendous impact on the organization.
  • Horrible Bosses Vs. Annoying Coworkers: Over half of Americans work with someone that really annoys them (55 percent) and it impacts their satisfaction (with a score of 58 when annoyed vs. 72 when not annoyed). Only 20 percent of Americans identify the annoying co-worker as their direct supervisor. Contrary to general sentiment, 86 percent of the American workforce like their boss!
  • Millennial Myth: Millennials want what everyone–regardless of generation–wants: to be part of something. Despite their reputation as demanding, job-hopping employees, the study revealed that Millennials are actually the most satisfied (66, compared to 63-65 for other generations) and most engaged (62, compared to 56-59) of all the generations.  They are among the most likely to stay at a company (65), second only to the 55+ age group (66).
  • Other Satisfied Employees: Employees in the energy and utility industries are the most satisfied, each scoring 70–the highest of any industry. White collar workers (66) are more satisfied than blue collar (63). Construction workers are also engaged (65) and satisfied (70). There is no gender disparity when it comes to satisfaction; each scored 65, with females (59) slightly more engaged than males (57).
  • A Case of the Mondays: 61 percent say Monday is their least favorite work day.

“Answers’ American Employee Study puts a spotlight on a very disturbing phenomenon: employers don’t understand their employees, and they’re not doing nearly enough to rectify the situation. Improving employee satisfaction lead to desirable employee behaviors, such as recommending the company to others, supporting its products and satisfying its customers,” said Eric Feinberg, Senior Director, Product Strategy, Answers Cloud Services. “Considering the high cost of replacing employees–anywhere from a fifth to 200 percent of the person’s salary–a true commitment to measuring and improving the employee experience should be an operational imperative for American employers.”


About the ANSWERS 2014 American Employee Study

The American Employee Study is an actionable new look at employee attitudes and future behaviors. By understanding how and which aspects of satisfaction and engagement impact specific behaviors, organizations can effectively design employee initiatives that will achieve measurable business outcomes. A commentary on the study is available for download at ForeSee.com.


Research Methodology

In Fall 2014, ForeSee, an Answers solution, measured the work experience of 4,115 American employees by industry as well as by role, age, gender, tenure, organization size and work location.

The study methodology utilizes the unique Structural Equation Model, which is based on decades of research in the fields of industrial organization, human resources management, applied psychology, psychometrics and statistics. The cause-and-effect methodology uncovered the drivers (e.g., advancement; compensation; workload) that most affect employee satisfaction, and how those different elements of the work experience influence employee engagement and future behaviors (e.g., intent to stay; likelihood to recommend the employer or brand). The same framework powers Answers’ Employee Experience Measurement product.


About Answers™

Answers’ mission is to empower consumers, brands and organizations by connecting them with the information they need to make better-informed decisions. The Answers Platform leverages the sizable reach of the top-10 Quantcast site Answers.com, along with its leading cloud-based solutions from ForeSee, Webcollage and ResellerRatings, to enable businesses and organizations to engage with customers at every interaction point, drive investment decisions from customer insights and deliver content that powers the customer experience. This platform helps businesses measure and improve the multichannel customer experience, resulting in better business results. Answers is headquartered in St. Louis with offices in Ann Arbor, New York City, Silicon Valley, Cleveland, London, Vancouver and Tel Aviv. For Answers, visit answers.com.

Answers.com is a registered trademark of Answers Corporation in the United States and in jurisdictions throughout the world. All other trademarks, trade names or service marks used or mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.

About the Author

Eric drives ForeSee’s marketing strategy, working closely with the company’s product, client service, and sales teams to infuse innovation and operational excellence into its offerings. Since joining ForeSee in 2004, he has contributed to the organization’s strategic growth, particularly providing leadership around mobile solutions. He is the author of several of the company’s thought leadership studies, including the 11th annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) and the American Employee Study. Eric is a frequent speaker on customer experience analytics, and marketing best practices. He is a board member of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) and an adjunct professor of mobile marketing at the University of California, Irvine Extension. Previously, he worked as a web analyst, multichannel strategy consultant, usability specialist and focus group moderator. Eric is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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