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The 5 Biggest Contributors to Job Satisfaction

“Employees are a company’s greatest asset- they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.” 

– Anne M. Mulcahy

From the outside looking in, your team may appear to be content . . . But are they really?

According to a report from Teem earlier this year, 48% of employees are unhappy (or only somewhat happy) at work. That’s nearly half of the workforce that’s unsatisfied with their current jobs!

Our job is to make sure employees are happy, engaged and satisfied. We don’t claim to be experts, but we have plenty of knowledge to share!

So how do you improve your workplace to make your employees happy? Unfortunately, there’s no way to please every last person in your company. Your workforce is made up of an eclectic group of people, and they may want very different things. However, there are five contributing factors that every employee values. These contributors are so foundational that your company might have already all the resources it needs to implement them. But they will require attention and commitment to seeing them through. Focus on improving in these areas, and you’ll increase employee satisfaction across the board. 

1. Respect for Employees

“Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that.” 

-Herb Kelleher

This should go without saying, but time and time again, employees cite disrespect as a significant factor for leaving their employers.

A report issued by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) noted that 65% of employees saw “respectful treatment of employees at all levels” as an important contributor to job satisfaction. Only 38% of these employees were satisfied with the treatment they received.

Do your managers talk down to other employees? Does your company neglect employees who are in a lower tier? Do female employees feel as though they are treated unequally? This lack of professionalism drags companies down, and it creates unnecessary turnover.

Respect is something you can implement immediately. Start by being self-aware. Recognize the diversity that exists within your company. Make an effort to accommodate everyone, regardless of age, income, or walk of life. 

2. Fair Pay and Benefits

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

– Henry Ford 

Of course, financial stability is important to your employees; but their financial stability should be just as important to you. When employees are poorly compensated, stress can easily infiltrate the work environment, affecting their performances and those of the people around them.

Make every effort to be fair and considerate about what you pay your employees. If your company is unable to pay employees the salaries it would like to, there are still ways to provide better compensation for your employees.

A report issued by Project Time Off stated that the five most important employee benefits are health care, paid vacation, retirement plan, flexibility, and bonuses. Invest in these employee benefits.

Does your company offer a reasonable number of vacation days and sick days? Do you offer employees any opportunities to work from home and save money on their commute? Do you provide flexspending accounts to reduce tax payments?

Don’t just think about cash flow. Providing your workforce with a strong benefits package can offset whatever salaries you’re able to pay.

3. Transparency at All Levels

“I believe fundamental honesty is the keystone of business.” 

-Harvey Firestone

In a study conducted by IBM, 83% of employees noted a more positive work environment when there was trust between employees and senior management.

How do you build that trust?

First, emphasize transparency. Hiding the truth or withholding information is poor practice. Keep your employees involved and engaged by being honest about your business, about their development, and about the future.

Second, create an environment where anyone can approach upper management with a question, concern, or idea, without hesitation or fear. Your employees should feel confident that their feedback will not only be heard, but that it also will be passed through the appropriate channels for consideration.

4. Job Security

“Anything that you do to increase job security automatically does work for you. It makes your employees a closer part of the unit.” 

– Roger Smith

Per research from America’s SBDC and The Center for Generational Kinetics, 61% of millennials believe that there is more job security in owning their own business than in working for another company.

Employers are failing their employees in this regard.

How do you make workers feel more secure about their long-term future at your company?

Start by encouraging your employees to seek feedback regarding their development. Again, this is why transparency is so vital in the workplace. Employees need open communication to help validate their hard work.

Second, put recognition systems in place that reward employees for good work. If employees sense that their efforts are both appreciated and needed, they’ll feel more comfortable in their roles.

5. Development opportunities

“Without investment, there will not be growth, and without growth, there will not be employment.”

-Muhtar Kent

Employees want to know that you’re invested in them and that you see long-term potential in the talents and abilities they possess. 

One way is to use opportunities to deploy them in areas where they can be successful. This could mean promoting them to a different position within your company that better suits their strengths and advantages.It could also mean identifying a particular strength and pairing them with a senior manager who can mentor them and help them develop that gift.

These five contributors to job satisfaction are often the difference between good and bad company morale. As an executive, go out of your way to ensure your employees are satisfied with their work environment. At the end of the day, it’s all about building a culture that values people – their backgrounds, their ideas, and their futures.

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