Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/4/2016 (431 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If you were to measure employee satisfaction in your organization, what would you hope to discover? Would you expect to learn that employees really like their jobs?
Would you anticipate employees intend to stay with your organization? Would you expect confirmation that salary and benefits result in satisfied employees?
Or, would you consider assessing employee satisfaction a waste of time and money?
You might be interested to learn that a recent review of 28 years of stock market data confirmed there is a direct link between employee satisfaction and long-term value. The study showed companies with high employee satisfaction outperformed others year over year even when considering other factors that drive financial returns. The study showed employee satisfaction is the cause of good performance, rather than the other way around.
So, what is employee job satisfaction? The term refers to whether or not an employee feels their personal needs are being satisfied through work. When needs are satisfied, an employee is more motivated, more engaged and focused on personal and professional goals.
While the study demonstrated employee satisfaction had a distinct effect on a company’s bottom line, there are also many other positive benefits. For instance, higher levels of employee satisfaction help to reduce costs related to employee turnover. Depending on the job category and the time and effort required to replace an employee, turnover can result in costs that are three to five times the original salary. Multiple that by the number of employees who are leaving!
And what manager wouldn’t like to enjoy the benefits of employee loyalty? Loyal employees live and breathe your mission and values, they keep your best interests in mind and work hard to achieve your corporate objectives. Loyal employees broadcast the benefits of working for you and help to attract similar-minded candidates.
Finally, what manager wouldn’t appreciate high levels of productivity? Satisfied and engaged employees are more productive.
When thinking about and assessing employee satisfaction, most surveys seek a rating on items such as pay and benefits, job security, workspace, resources, safety, working relationships, training, supervision, and/or management style. However, a recent study by the well-known, U.S.-based, Society for Human Resource Management Association, identified that for the first time in their annual surveys, "respectful treatment of all employees at all levels" and "trust between employees and senior management" were the first and second most important factors that determine worker satisfaction.
Unfortunately, the survey also identified that both of these factors were rated low in terms of satisfaction. In other words, it appears that the respectful treatment of employees and trust between employees and management are areas that require significant improvement.
So, how can you improve them? The following tips should help.
Know your employees – remembering and calling an employee by their name goes a long way to helping individuals feel they belong to your organization. Take an interest in their work, their career goals, their families and hobbies. Make them feel important. Be sure to greet them with a smile when you pass them in the hallway.
Leave your title and ego behind – while you may be the most senior manager or the owner, discard your title and ego when you greet your employees. Apply the open-door policy by making yourself available and encouraging interaction. This shows respect and helps to eliminate any perceived sense of elitism.
Be a role model – being consistent in living your company values and principles is extremely important to developing mutual respect. View your employees the same as you would your customers; they are important to the success of your business. Be sure your behaviour matches your values — both in word and deed. Show that you care.
Listen and learn – create opportunities for employees to provide feedback. Listen without judgment. Listen to the good ideas and implement what you can. Listen to critiques employees raise and work to resolve them with the help of your employee. You’ll be surprised by how many people come forward with good ideas. When they do, provide a reward and recognition.
Foster independence and ownership – develop a work culture that encourages and instills independence and personal ownership. Make training a big part of your organization so employees are confident and can work independently. Be sure employees know how their own work contributes to the success of the organization.
Be an effective communicator – employees want to understand the vision of their organization and they want open, honest answers when major changes need to be made. This ranges from being made aware of the rationale for new policies and procedures to an explanation as to why departmental downsizing might be occurring. While an employee may not like your answers, they’ll feel respected by being informed.
Deal with conflict – since interpersonal relationships between work colleagues are a key factor in job satisfaction, it is important to deal with problems quickly. Show respect for both sides of an argument. Search out negative attitudes and begin to overcome them as quickly as you can.
Create a positive culture – define what a positive culture means to you and your employees and begin working toward that goal. Ensure management demonstrates a positive attitude. Involve your employees in developing a vision for success; give them a sense of purpose.
Show appreciation – set up an employee reward and recognition program ranging from awards for attendance, being a model employee, excellent performance, and/or innovation. Celebrate work anniversaries, birthdays and other special events. Train managers to praise, coach, mentor and show appreciation every day.
It’s well known job satisfaction has a direct effect on organizational success. Yet, building trust and respect between employees and management is not as easy as setting a new salary scale or offering a unique employee benefit. Instead, it takes a strong leader who fosters trust and respect throughout the organization. Hire the right people, train them, recognize and reward them and create a workplace family that shares the same values.
Barbara J.Bowes is president of Legacy Bowes Group. She is also an author, professional speaker and executive coach. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org