A business only runs as well as the quality of those working within it, which is why staff retention is crucial for modern business owners – it is one of their top concerns.
Every company must ensure that workplace satisfaction is high, as high workplace satisfaction leads to high workplace productivity and employee engagement. They need to constantly look for ways to improve it to guarantee continued success.
There is a common misconception that financial compensation alone is enough for good employee satisfaction. However, research from Glassdoor has outlined the fact that, while a pay increase can boost happiness and contentment, the impact is limited.
Instead, the research highlights that factors such as workplace culture, company values, opportunities for advancement and access to ongoing educational resources are key factors when it comes to employee satisfaction.
What Is Employee Satisfaction?
Employee satisfaction is measured based on how happy employees are at work and if their role is fulfilling their needs and desires.
It impacts how an employee feels about their position and whether they enjoy or dread going to work.
What each employee wants from the workplace differs depending on their personality traits and approach to work.
Workplace satisfaction is an exceedingly personal thing. Every employee has their views on what satisfies them.
For instance, an employee who enjoys working in a creative and relaxed way might find that a company culture that encourages a flexible working approach in an open-plan, collaborative workplace makes them content.
Whereas an employee who does best with clear instruction and needs quietness and calmness to complete their work may find that this kind of environment, regardless of what they are being paid, is disruptive and anxiety-inducing.
Why Is Employee Satisfaction Important?
When an employee is feeling fulfilled by their role, they work in a more productive and motivated way. A satisfied employee also engages easily with their company, culture and co-workers, which aids productivity, reduces conflict and ensures that goals are met.
If you do not feel productive or engaged at work, this could be a sign that your workplace is unsatisfying. It could also be a warning sign of burnout.
Employee disengagement costs US businesses $450 to $550 billion each year. Therefore, the repercussions for not reducing disengagement within a company can have a big impact.
People leaving or becoming unable to work can lead to severe financial losses for companies.
It is important employers carefully consider how to reduce employee dissatisfaction and disengagement.
A stitch in time saves nine – implementing wellbeing initiatives and assessing whether the corporate culture is the best for the business before employees start developing resentment towards work, is a better idea than fighting the fire of many unhappy workers leaving and requiring the onboarding of unskilled recruits.
If you are working within an environment that does not bring you fulfillment and satisfaction, consider speaking with your employer or HR department about any issues that you have noted (perhaps the lack of diversity makes you feel alienated) and whether changes can be made to combat these issues.
Best Practices to Keep Employee Satisfaction High
Is the Working Environment Clean and Organized?
Employers need to provide a working environment that is clean and organized.
Untidiness not only negatively impacts workplace satisfaction, but also productivity and engagement.
It is not easy to work in a space that feels cluttered, messy or unorganized; a study found people are less accurate in a messier place.
Also, depending on the level of uncleanliness, employees may become anxious about their health, distracting them from work or encouraging them to leave.
It is important that the workplace is cleaned regularly and is kept neat, with designated places for both physical and digital resources.
Doing this may mean hiring an external team of cleaners. This is an additional cost for the business, but if it means that employee retention is higher, then it is a worthwhile cost.
Do Employees Have the Resources Needed to Complete Their Tasks to a High Standard?
Another key aspect of employee satisfaction is ensuring team members have access to every tool they need to make do their jobs easily and effectively.
If an employer fails to provide team members with the appropriate resources to do their job properly, this can lead to feelings of resentment (because the employee does not feel like their work is appreciated) and mistakes (because the employee may have to jury-rig solutions).
Are Employees Able to Express Their Personality and Engage Their Strengths?
Expressing their personality and forming their role to fit around their intrinsic motivations is important for people to be fulfilled.
Working against an employee's personality and behavioral preferences will mean that the company cannot get the best out of the employee. They may also feel anxious as they cannot utilize their strengths.
For example, a good fit for a cold calling role is a salesperson who is excited to exceed their monetary targets; whereas a bad fit is someone driven more by forming deep interpersonal connections than by hitting sales targets.
Is the Team a Good Fit and Is Conflict Resolution Dealt With Appropriately?
A study by Gallup found that strong workplace friendships help to improve workplace satisfaction by up to 50%.
When team members mesh well together, workplace morale tends to be significantly higher.
Employers can facilitate the development of strong team relationships by embedding a social culture into the company, encouraging team socialization and clear communication, and facilitating collaboration on certain tasks.
It is also important to ensure that there is a set procedure in place to make managing workplace conflict easier.
Conflicts between employees impact the entire team negatively and can quickly get out of control if not effectively dealt with, which is where having a set procedure in place for dealing with them is so vital.
Is There Clear and Respectful Communication Between Management and Employees?
It is essential that when it comes to the relationship between management and employees that there is a culture of trust and transparency.
A major cause of employee dissatisfaction is feeling disrespected by management.
Making a change without involving the team it affects makes the workers feel less like people and more like cogs in a machine, uncared for and under-appreciated.
This is why a culture of openness and clear communication is vital; employees must be always kept informed about everything relevant to them.
For instance, a team member who makes a mistake needs to feel confident enough to seek out their employer and tell them what happened, without fear.
Micromanaging is when supervisors never delegate and become involved in every single step of business processes, metaphorically breathing down their subordinates' necks.
This can have a significantly detrimental impact on employee satisfaction at work.
Management should offer support to team members without overstepping; finding the right balance is crucial.
Micromanagement is dangerous as it creates a culture of mistrust and a constant feeling of being monitored. This can create a negative attitude among team members regarding their agency and whether management respects them, impacting workplace satisfaction and contentment.
Are Company Goals Clear, Are Employees Involved in Targets and Is There Transparency?
An employee is more likely to excel at their job if they are clear about the company's specific goals.
For instance, if a company's goal is being eco-friendly and ethical, then employees must be aware of this as, if an employee is not informed about this goal, they may produce work that does not align with the company ethos.
Further, not being informed of company goals can lead to employees feeling left in the dark – in other words, that they are not trusted (trust is important for many of these practices).
Transparency around goals is crucial for fostering a positive work environment. It is also important to ensure that, when it comes to setting targets, team members are a part of the process – feeling involved in important aspects of running the business will create a great sense of fulfillment among team members.
How Is Feedback Delivered?
Team feedback is important, as is individual employee feedback as it helps team members to learn and improve. However, feedback should be delivered in the right way to avoid causing upset and offense.
For instance, holding a team meeting where one employee is praised for their hard work and another employee is berated is not a healthy approach to delivering feedback.
Negative feedback should be delivered in private, with room for dialogue between the giver and receiver.
It is also important that feedback incorporates useful tips and advice.
For example, instead of simply telling an employee that you were unhappy with a project, it is helpful to explain which aspects were not quite right and what the reasoning for this was.
Once an employee understands why a project was not well received, they can then take that information forward for their next project.
Recognize and Reward Employee Achievement
Employees need to know that their performance and the work they do are being recognized and valued. There should be set processes in place that are used by management to recognize hard work and achievement.
Whether that is in a monthly company-wide email announcement, a company newsletter or via a team meeting, successes and hard work must be celebrated.
Is Career Advancement Invested in?
It is essential that employees feel supported and invested in, and that employers are willing to take steps to help boost career advancement.
Team members who feel valued and invested in by employers tend to feel more content at work and work harder. Plus, additional skills and experience benefit the company, making it an extremely worthwhile investment.
Alongside training, it is also important that team members feel that promotions and pay rises are achievable.
Every employee needs to be given an equal opportunity to progress. Favoritism can cause issues within the workplace, so putting a set procedure in place for advancement can be a great way to avoid these kinds of issues.
Is Employee Wellbeing Taken Seriously?
Looking after employee health and wellness is no longer just the responsibility of the individual; companies need to take steps to promote workplace health and wellness.
Companies that take employee wellbeing seriously tend to have greater levels of satisfaction and fulfillment, due to employees feeling more valued when and looked after by employers.
Promoting the importance of wellbeing at work means taking the time to ensure that there are steps in place to allow for this, such as various initiatives like free gym memberships or lunchtime yoga.
Are There Work-Life Balance Initiatives in Place?
Providing employees with greater control over their time is crucial to workplace satisfaction. This means taking a flexible approach to working and offering schedules that fit around team members’ lives.
It is also important to offer remote working where possible, either on a part-time, full-time, or flexible basis.
Taking an individualized approach to work-life balance is crucial, making sure that each employee's schedule is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on their specific needs.
Employee satisfaction is a crucial element of building a strong, stable workplace with a happy and productive team.
Taking steps to ensure that the workplace aids fulfillment is important for both business reasons (for example, reducing staff turnover) and ethical reasons (for example, improving employee happiness).