Secrets from the Sparck Research Lab: 500 Employee Voices

Now more than ever, letting your employees and teammates know just how valued they are is crucial; putting this off is no longer an option. We’ve all seen the headlines regarding the “Great Resignation”. It seems like every publication has released articles trying to figure out what is causing this migration.

The framework of the business model as we know it has shifted. And there’s no going back.

So how do we adapt? The first step is bridging the gap between employees and employers. Giving employees a voice to express their needs is vital. 

When the COVID pandemic began, organizations immediately started feeling the pressure that remote work, loss of communication, and diminished social connection were causing. Sparck Research Lab began a series of 500 Conversations with employees and compiled the data and research from these conversations. Before the term “Great Resignation” was even coined, we felt a change brewing and took a look at the combined data from our interviews. We have created a free eBook for you with a valuable look inside what is driving this migration. Keep an eye out for it next month!

You’ll never guess what we found...

There were a shocking amount of similarities that spanned across genders, position types, and industries. This showed us one simple truth:

No matter who they are or where they work, employees want the same basic things. 

Through our research, we found 5 key themes emerge:

1. Communication 

2. Fairness and Equity

3. Growth and Career Development

4. Recognition and Appreciation

5. Option to Work Virtually


In this blog, we will provide a high level on each theme but you can dive deeper into each one in our ebook!



As kids, we used to love playing Telephone with our friends. You know, the game where you whisper something into one person’s ear and they whisper it to the next person and so on. The result was always a jumbled mash-up of the first communication.

Many of us have been feeling like we’re stuck in a constant loop of Telephone. Some employees are working fully remote, some are back in the office full-time, while others have adopted a hybrid schedule. 

A major theme we saw across the board was employees not feeling like they were in the loop with decisions being made within their organization. The problem is, only about 7% of employees are receiving great communication where they work. 

Unlike the game of Telephone, this communication needs to travel both ways. Employees also need to feel like they have a voice within the organization. In fact, a recent study showed that the entire “Great Resignation” movement could be summed up in 4 words: “Feedback that goes unheard.” 


Give your employees a voice with our free engagement survey. You won’t know until you ask. Give them a chance to share their feedback! 


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Fairness and Equity

Another common issue seen across the board is a lack of fairness and equity within an organization. 

Now, the caveat when looking at fairness and equity is paying attention to what your employees value within the organization. Often leaders will look at the issue through one particular lens and neglect to focus on the areas that actually matter most to their employees. For example, some leaders believed they covered the issue of inequity by implementing D&I Initiatives. While helpful and necessary, these initiatives did not always address the full scope of what employees were missing within their organization. 

During our research, we noticed that employees often witnessed favoritism within their organization; some would receive opportunities others did not.

When employees feel like they have the same opportunities as their co-workers, they will be more motivated and loyal to the organization. 

Growth and Career Development

Do your employees know the opportunities they have to grow within your organization? While employees need to feel like they have the same opportunities as others, they also need to know what those opportunities are. This may sound obvious, but it is a commonly missed mark.

This is a big factor in overall employee satisfaction and something we witnessed in our research. 

Without opportunities, employees can begin feeling complacent or unsure of the long-term potential within their organizations. Be sure to consistently share career advancement opportunities, whether it's a role change, promotion, a new committee, or a project, it will make a world of difference to driving retention and performance. 

Show your people how serious you are about them and their professional development and in return they will become serious about their loyalty to your organization. 

Sparck Tip:  To keep your top talent within your organization, consider their career path and goals before even hiring them! They may be a fit now but consider the future of your internal structure as well.


Recognition and Appreciation

This is a big one and one that ALWAYS deserves to be top of mind.

Expressing gratitude for your employees goes much further than you can imagine. This is especially true as employees navigate this “new workplace” and are trying to take care of themselves, their loved ones, and work. This pandemic is taking a toll on everyone, mentally and physically. 

Because of this, a major issue we noticed in our research is that employees are feeling invisible within their organizations. Despite these trying times they have poured their hard work and dedication into their tasks without any recognition (or, even worse, received a lackluster and impersonal response), and their dedication to the organization is beginning to wane. 

Prevent this by remembering one simple truth, people just want to feel valued. The best way to do that is to personalize the experience. We received an overwhelming response in this area emphasizing that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. It never has!

Everyone has different preferences on how they want to be shown appreciation as well as the rewards that would mean the most - each person is uniquely different. Uncover what that is for your employees; that will be the difference between an employee currently updating their resumé and one grinning from ear to ear at their desk. 


Option to Work Virtually

When COVID first hit, most offices shut down and employees were forced to work from home. 

As it turns out, employees adjusted to this quicker than anticipated and many now prefer working remotely (or at least be given the choice). During our interviews, this was a topic that came up countless times. Employees found a work-life balance that they were never able to experience while working from the office full-time. They no longer had to choose between prioritizing home-life or work-life and could integrate both. For some, returning to the office full-time was no longer a viable option.

In fact, we saw this same trend in other research; about 39% of employees claimed they would consider quitting if they were not given the choice to continue to work from home. 

The bottom line here is that employees are now looking for options, for a choice. The traditional workplace just went virtual which means the war for talent is now spreading as geographic perimeters disintegrate. Before making any big decisions though, it’s important to contact experts in this space to make the best decisions for your organization. 


Where To Go From Here

Now that we have revealed some of the major concerns employees have, you may be wondering what your next steps should be.

Luckily, there are changes you can implement immediately! Make it a habit to regularly recognize your team for their contributions in personalized ways (remember; each person is unique so your recognition approach will be different for each one). We’ve made this really simple with our #BeSeen Engagement Platform. You will quickly be able to see each employee’s unique preferences, as well as ideas on how best to recognize them.

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Give your employees a voice and find out what the action areas are for your organization. You’ll also be able to see the areas you are rocking in!

We know that time and resources are limited and have a dedicated partner ready to help you begin implementing changes. Check out the Success Series and start seeing positive changes within your organization immediately. 

The most important thing to remember is: You Are Not Alone. Living through tumultuous times like these can feel isolating and overwhelming, which is why we wanted to release our research and resources to remind you that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. To read our full research report and take a deeper dive into our findings, keep an eye out for our eBook releasing next month!

We will get through this together and will come out stronger on the other end.


Do you know what your employees really want? We do!

Find out today with our FREE statistically valid #BeHeard Engagement Survey. Click below to see how engaged and equipped your employees are today.

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