A majority of U.S. workers do not clearly understand how to help their companies' meet objectives and most say they don't get useful feedback from supervisors, according to research released on Wednesday.

One in four workers has a strong sense of how their job contributes to their firm's goals, said the survey conducted for talent management firm Cornerstone OnDemand and released exclusively to Reuters.

And only 18 percent say they have been given useful feedback from managers, the survey found.

In most roles people simply are not having any kind of meaningful communication with a manager about their career, said Adam Miller, Cornerstone president and chief executive.

He said the recession was contributing to the problem.

Probably many managers have felt that their employees are lucky to have a job and, therefore, they shouldn't complain, they shouldn't be concerned about their career, they shouldn't need feedback and they should just do their job, he said.

When the economy improves, these are going to be the first people to leave, he said. They don't feel valued.

The survey found 54 percent of respondents felt most appreciated by their colleagues, 30 percent felt most appreciated by supervisors and 16 percent felt most appreciated by company executives.

Asked what, aside from compensation and benefits, would motivate employees to stay in their current jobs, most listed being appreciated first, followed by having a good manager.

The survey of 1,025 U.S. adults, 584 of whom were currently working, was conducted for Santa Monica, California-based Cornerstone by Kelton Research between March 17 and March 24, 2010. The statistical margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, it said.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Paul Simao)