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Workers not as loyal as companies think

By Mary Lorenz,
A new survey finds that 47 percent of employees do not feel a strong loyalty to their employer.
A new survey finds that 47 percent of employees do not feel a strong loyalty to their employer.
  • Survey shows employers need to be more in tune to the needs of their workers
  • Findings: 51% of employers think workers are very loyal
  • Retirement benefits can help boost employee job satisfaction
  • Jobs and Labor
  • Worklife
  • Business

( -- If you've seen the recent reports that more employees are quitting their jobs as the economy improves, then hearing that employee loyalty nationwide is at a three-year low should be about as shocking as hearing that Charlie Sheen is getting a reality TV show.

I mean, we all saw this coming, right? (Well, maybe not all of us. See below.)

Recently, insurance and financial services firm MetLife released a new study indicating that not only is employee loyalty at its lowest point since 2008, but that some employers evidently aren't aware of this fact. According to the study, 47 percent of employees report feeling a very strong loyalty to their employers, while 51 percent of employers said they thought employees were very loyal.

You can read the details of the study, but below are some of the larger implications that you as an employer need to consider:

Certain benefits matter more than you think: While employers are generally correct in thinking that salaries and wages are the biggest drivers of employee loyalty, many underestimate the role that retirement benefits and nonmedical benefits (such as disability and life insurance) play in employee satisfaction.

Benefits are only as good as how well you communicate them: Maybe it's not the lack of benefits that irks employees, but the lack of awareness. Another finding was that 55 percent of employees believe the communication they receive from their employers regarding benefits is unclear or too infrequent. If you're doing a poor job of communicating your employee benefits and how employees can take advantage of them, you might as well not offer them at all.

"Effective communications can make the difference between benefits that are understood and valued, and benefits that are overlooked and underutilized. Communicating effectively is related to improved benefits satisfaction, job satisfaction and loyalty," said MetLife's vice president of U.S. business, Dr. Ronald S. Leopold, in the press release.

It's time to get over your fear of social media: The survey shows that 70 percent of employers are leaning against the use of social media, but know this: There's a growing desire among Gen Y and Gen X employees to acquire benefits information through social networking sites, and a similar number want to get them through mobile devices, too.

Of course, none of this is to imply that your employees are dissatisfied or are among the 74 percent of workers who already have one foot out the door, but how do you know unless you ask?

If you take nothing else from this survey, let it serve as a reminder that you and your employees might not be on the same page in terms of what they want and what you're giving them. So take the hint and start checking in with your employees again -- conduct surveys, solicit feedback, ask for suggestions and then actually use the information.

If you don't start meeting your employees halfway, it's only a matter of time before they find an employer who does.

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