What employees want from their bosses

What makes a person loyal to a company? Financial incentives? Yes. Promotion opportunities? Another yes. But while both are strong incentives, a new study shows some surprising insight into what makes staff loyal.

A new report by the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence and Ipsos finds that paid leave and even verbal compliments are highly effective retention tools.

In general, the report finds employees are satisfied with the current recognition program they receive from employers, mostly in the form of financial recognition.

Not surprisingly, the study shows 80% of respondents prefer financial gain, while 70% favour promotion opportunities.

But other powerful factors such as paid leave and even a verbal compliments are also much favoured.

Some 57% of respondents say the best incentive is paid leave time, while 50% say s simple “thank you”, either via a card or over emails will suffice.

Interestingly, 35% of respondents prefer verb appreciation from managers, often in front of colleagues.

“Old practices have been used for such a long time and people are used to them. We need better ideas and better staff participation,” said JB Aloy, senior vice president at Ipsos APAC employee research.

“More and more companies are trying to find new ways to appreciate their staff, they can be ranging from a simple candy treats to more regular appraisals.”

It’s worth noting that big companies, especially from the retail sector, takes longer time to process compliments, often in the form of thank you letters, before passing on those complements to staff.

But efficiency is key, said Aloy.

“It’s all about efficiency, making sure staff won’t have to wait for an entire year to get appreciations," he said.

One airline brand which could not be named, reviews staff performance on a quarterly basis, a time frame seen as too long.

“Employees need instant appreciation and they need it fast. If the process is taken too slowly, employees may forget about the whole episode.”

The Service Appreciation in Hong Kong 2014 survey was launched to measure both employers’ and employees’ perception towards service appreciation.

Employee appreciation is mentioned as part of an eco-system in developing a healthy service culture where staff performance is determined by the appreciation they received from their managers.

The study includes a roundtable discussion from 10 human resources and customer service managers from HKACE member companies.