As Miley Cyrus proclaimed, one can, in fact, buy themselves flowers. But sometimes, it’s nice to receive them from someone else — especially an employer.
Per Workhuman’s February 2023 pulse report, almost 1 in 3 workers feel “unheard” or “completely ignored” by their employers. Additionally, nearly a quarter of employees told Workhuman that they were shut out of co-worker conversations. About as many also expressed their belief that their colleagues have been avoiding them.
This is on-par with previous HR Dive reporting, wherein about one-third of Conference Board survey takers said their sense of belonging had decreased. Likewise, 37% of respondents in that survey also said their mental health had declined.
Notably, data suggested that this lack of engagement did not necessarily tank productivity. “Contrary to popular misconceptions about ‘quiet quitting,’ 18.2% of workers have actually taken on more work as a result of feeling invisible,” researchers said.
Further, workers were able to call out which invisible skills they felt were viewed with disdain by others: Compassion, empathy, curiosity and emotional intelligence topped the list.
What is HR to do?
Naturally, workers who took the survey pointed to a “greater focus on engagement” as a solution for their malaise. They also deemed “connection with leadership” an important factor. But mostly, talent told Workhuman that companies could provide accolades and recognize their work ethic to make them feel seen.
Fostering opportunities for social connection — celebrating worker individuality, cracking down on bullying, holding more inclusive (virtual or alcohol-free) events — also came up in the survey.
What’s the ROI on addressing these feelings?
In the study, connection and efficiency seem to be locked in a positive feedback loop. Engagement can help workers feel more seen, Workhuman researchers said; in turn, about a third of workers said they are more engaged when they feel seen. About 38% of people said they feel more confident when they feel seen and about 40% said their performance improves.
Not as significant numerically — but with big implications in the current employee-employer power struggle — about 20% of respondents said they are less likely to quit their job if they feel seen by their employer.