Guest blog by GroupOne partner i2Verify

As an HR professional, you are probably aware that 7 out of every 10 American workers are either disengaged or dislike their jobs. This shocking statistic is based on an extensive ongoing study conducted by Gallup regarding the American workplace. Management puts pressure on HR to improve these statistics at your company, but it is hard to do given everything else you have on your plate.

Based on the results of the Gallup study, it might stand to reason that a majority of employees who are disengaged or unhappy with their jobs are therefore working for lower-ranked companies. People who are unhappy at their jobs are certainly not going to give very high satisfaction rankings to their employer.

What can your HR department do if your company is among the majority that are not top-rated? One action you can take is to research why other employees rate their companies so highly and implement methods in your own company to improve your rating. In reading employee reviews of top-rated companies such as the one found in Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” survey, three concepts appear frequently:
● Autonomy;
● Purpose;
● Transparency.

In his groundbreaking book “Drive,” Daniel Pink shows that employees work best when they have pure intrinsic motivation, much like children. According to the book, this motivation comes from having autonomy, purpose, and the freedom to practice mastery.

Autonomy is often inaccurately confused with just letting employees do whatever they please. This is actually the opposite of what employees with autonomy describe. When happy employees discuss autonomy, they first point out that their leadership defines a set of goals or objectives. It is then up to the employees to determine the best way to achieve those goals.

Whether or not employees need a little more structure or guidance, they all still feel autonomous. For example, whereas one employee may excel by just knowing the end goal for a project, another employee may require a break-down of smaller goals. This knowledge is important in ensuring each employee gains true intrinsic motivation. By definition, employees reach true intrinsic motivation on their own simply by choosing their own methods to reach a goal. Since there are various ways to manage a diverse set of employees, HR can recommend different ways that autonomy can best be gained to those in management roles.

As important as autonomy is, purpose is even more necessary to maintain happy, engaged, and productive employees for the long-term. Autonomy is usually considered short-term in nature as it applies to tasks that are completed on a daily basis to reach a specific goal. Once the goal is reached, new goals are provided.

But, if there is no all-encompassing reason for reaching those goals, employees run the risk of becoming disengaged, unhappy, and unproductive. Life begins to look like a never-ending treadmill if work becomes just a series of short-term goals.

Regardless of whether your company manufactures office supplies or provides life-saving care, the need to identify a purpose is real and required. In his book, “Start with Why,” Simon Sinek also provides answers to the question of why some people and organizations are more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others. Through the use of his Golden Circle, he shows that inspirational companies and leaders lead from the inside out starting with the “why” or purpose, and then providing the “how” and “what.”

While companies providing a purpose is helpful, HR knows that shaping the purpose correctly is critical. If the purpose is too abstract, such as “we save lives,” it runs the risk of being ignored as too general to follow. Conversely, very detailed purposes are also difficult to follow. In larger companies, especially, it might be necessary to set a purpose per group or department that is aligned to an overarching company goal.

Does your HR department know what employees mean when they say they like transparency? As with autonomy and purpose, transparency is defined differently among employees. Based on reviews of top-rated companies, employees say transparency means visibility into a company’s operations, including its decision-making.

Ray Dalio, founder of the investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, revealed in a Ted Talk just how important transparency is to his company’s culture and success. Using the term “radical transparency,” Dalio explains how every employee’s decisions are tallied in meetings and rated based on the reliability score for each employee. Doing so uses an analytics-driven process that removes emotion from the equation to create an idea meritocracy.

What can HR do if employees want to see more transparency? An important first step is to work with employees to determine what transparency means to them. HR can then work with the leadership team to provide the tools necessary to show employees the importance transparency has in your company, and the steps the company is willing to take to increase transparency.

One thing you know for sure in HR is that worker happiness isn’t just about what happens in the workplace. Employees have lives outside the office, and often bring what happens at home to work with them. If they are focused on the fact that they do not have a place to live, cannot get to work, or are having problems qualifying for certain social services, then getting work done will be the last thing on their mind. This greatly affects productivity, job retention and employee morale, and can make your department look ineffective.

i2Verify is a free outsourced employment verification system for employers and your current or former employees that helps with this issue. i2Verify automates the processing of employment verification requests that banks and others rely on to enable your employees to buy a home, rent an apartment or receive government benefits. Rather than having banks, background check vendors and others request employment verification information directly from your HR department, i2Verify handles all requests for you securely and instantly. i2Verify reduces your HR team’s administrative burden, allowing more time to focus on core competencies, reducing the risk for error, and eliminating possibility for fraud.

For information, please do not hesitate to contact us at or 888-458-6319.