An unrest began brewing beneath the surface of Zoom meetings and pandemic-related home workout routines. For possibly the first time ever, employees had room to breathe and think about employee satisfaction. With a year (or more) to ponder the importance of work-life balance and fulfilling careers, many found their normal pathway both muddied and unpleasant. Many began to rethink just how much value they carried as workers. The workforce world was never the same.
Queue up the ever-fascinating and staff-changing event that has been aptly titled the Great Resignation. Employees began to change their workplace values and hold more accountability to the companies they work for. They decided they deserved better work-life situations. Employee satisfaction became the forefront of employment and companies scrambled to meet the deserved demands. Workers are even beginning to work less to enjoy life more. It’s been a drastic turn of labor events.
With all of this said, employee satisfaction has become a crucial staple for employers. If their workforce isn’t happy with their situation, the company is likely to see toxic workplaces or increased turnover.
How do you increase employee satisfaction? How do you keep a happy workforce but also improve productivity in future endeavors? Let’s get into it.
What Is Employee Satisfaction?
Overall, defining employee satisfaction without using one of the correlating terms or synonyms would be fairly impossible. It’s a pretty straightforward term. Employee satisfaction is the satisfaction of your employees.
Don’t say we never taught you anything.
All jokes aside, the concept involves how happy your workers are with both their specific jobs and the company they work for. Are they proud of the company they work to represent? Are they happy with the work they do? Satisfied with management and ownership?
At the end of the day, it’s all about fulfillment. Are your employees fulfilled in what they do?
Why Employee Satisfaction Is Important
Why should I care about how happy my employees are? Okay, Scrouge.
Increasing the happiness of your workforce is crucial to maintaining both productivity and longevity amongst your teams. If you do not provide a happy place for workers, you are likely to have a constant state of turnover. Don’t expect workers to stay long. Don’t expect workers to work well when workers don’t want to work well.
Not only is creating an unhappy workforce unsavory on a human level, but it can crush your business profit. For example, competing with a constant labor turnover takes time and money. If the staffing process was easy, Tier2Tek wouldn’t exist.
Furthermore, having unhappy workers reduces business success. A study by Inc found that satisfaction boosts productivity by 31% (on average). Also, employee disengagement cost the US economy an estimated $450-to-$550 billion last year alone. That’s a huge, huge yikes, especially if you are a business owner.
Keeping your workers, getting them to care about the company, and getting them to work harder are all positives. So positive, in fact, that satisfaction should be a priority of all workforces.
How Do You Keep Track?
An unhappy employee is extremely unlikely to let the employer know. At the end of the day, the employee still needs a job, whether they like it or not. The employee may be spooked, feeling unable to express their concerns without consequences. Therefore, finding out how happy your employees are can be a tough task.
How does a company keep track of its employee’s attitudes and productivity? How can you make sure your employees are not feigning smiles to maintain their jobs, regardless of their true emotions?
As we said, it’s hard to informally ask an employee to complain about their job. It seems like you are attempting to spring a trap. We get it. But, it’s worth a shot. It’s entirely acceptable to discuss workforce morale off the books.
Ultimately, asking an employee whether or not they are satisfied stems from the creation of a decent supervisor-supervised relationship. If you have already established a workplace that is open and judgment-free, you may be able to get actual information from your workers without the fear of backlash.
If you have yet to create this ideal work culture, you can always start. Begin with quick conversations on a daily basis. Walk by an employee and ask if they need anything or if everything is okay. It shows that you care and opens up lines of honest communication. After some time, you may be able to ask them if they are satisfied with their job or workplace and get an honest response.
If you have already established open communication (or believe that you have), ask them if they are satisfied. What areas can you improve? How would the employee describe the current employee morale?
If you don’t believe you are to the point of discussing informally or you want to do things on record, you can always schedule intermittent meetings with workers. These one-on-one conversations can be a good way to clear the air, learn about ongoing issues, and establish clear lines of communication with your workforce.
Firstly, start by meeting with your managers or supervisors personally. These meetings will allow you to see how they are feeling and get an idea of the workforce’s morale before speaking to other employees. Then you should speak to individual employees. You may be able to bring up issues that supervisors discussed or ask if there’s anything you should know about. At the end of the day, see what each employee has to say and how they feel about working at your company.
If you want to get the most from your questioning, you could always hand out anonymous surveys. These little documents can be seen as harmless, allowing employees to answer with the utmost honesty. Furthermore, you can put together a brief and useful set of analytics from the information you gather.
If you have a human resources department, ask them to put this together and follow through with the analysis. With these honest answers, you can begin to formulate a plan for how to elevate satisfaction going forward.
While your survey could include questions that require full answers, you could use a number grading system to speed up the process. You are likely to get more answers if your survey is efficient. No one likes to write (except me, apparently).
Employee Satisfaction Survey Example
- Rate your job satisfaction on a scale of 1-10.
- Do you feel proud to work for our company?
- How willing are you to suggest working at our company to a friend?
- Do you believe we have a strong and established company culture?
- Do you feel you can approach management for any issue?
- Do you feel like your responsibilities are clearly defined?
- Do you consider any coworkers to be friends of yours?
- Do you feel as if you have been given everything you need to do your job successfully?
- Do you feel fulfilled at work?
The Best Ways to Increase Satisfaction Rates
If the aforementioned tactics have led to miserable results, it’s time to work on employee satisfaction. If you were already aware of employee disengagement without having to survey your employees, you are in for some real work.
Here’s the positive: you can increase your employee satisfaction, even if the entire staff is unsatisfied. While it’s always easier to establish a culture with a new team of workers, you can always salvage the ones you have, especially if you already have fantastic workers in place. Consequently, it takes a company and higher-ups that want to improve. Seeing as you are reading this, you are looking to increase happiness. That’s a great start.
Here are our 7 favorite tips for increasing satisfaction rates:
According to a survey by Gallup,
51% of employees reported not being engaged,
meaning they neither like nor dislike their job.
1. It All Starts With Culture
Explaining company culture would involve an entire article of its own.
Whaddya know? We already did that here!
Ultimately, a company’s culture is the beliefs both owners and employees operate by. It is their moral orientation, the idea of business practices and work ethics. The easiest way to put it is “It’s the way they do things.”
We can wax professional and give you a plethora of tips on how to improve employee happiness, but it all stems from the workplace culture you have established. If your workplace has a group of like-minded employees and has well-established rules, motives, and ideals, the following tips should prove to be more successful.
If your company doesn’t have a strong culture, you must start there. Try building communication amongst employees. Maybe hold a team-building event outside of work. Figure out what ideals and culture you want your team to have, and start working to establish it.
As we said, we already discussed it in the above article!
2. Offer Competitive Salaries and Benefits
The increase in employee self-worth caused by the Great Resignation comes an increase in demand. Employees aren’t willing to work at just any job, they want a career with forward-thinking attributes. They want incentives.
In June of 2021, Indeed reported that searches for hiring incentives per million job searches on Indeed jumped 131% compared to January 1, 2021. People are looking for incentives. People want extra time off for mental health, sign-on bonuses, health benefits, and so on. They are not willing to settle for less.
If you are looking to keep your employees happy at your company, there should be an expression of incentives. Even if something simple and free (i.e. extra time off), you should still make it available to both new and old employees. We’ve reached the point in employment reach that expressing incentives is necessary. You are trying to sell the job to employees. It’s a two-way dance.
Get Unique With Benefit Packages
Sometimes it can be difficult for smaller businesses to give their workers intense or extreme incentives. You may not have the funds to give hefty holiday bonuses. We get it.
Consequently, an employee knows when they are working at a small company. They know that these things may not be in the cards. Smaller and more financially accessible benefits are still possible and will still give the employee a sense of mattering. It’s the little things, after all.
Small bonuses for certain achievements, time off outside of scheduled holidays, and hybrid working options can be affordable and useful benefits to keep employees engaged and caring.
3. Listen to Employees
We’ve made this tip fairly clear, but we must reiterate it. You should always listen to your employees, especially if you are looking to make your employees feel heard.
Listening to your team goes for more than just expressing grievances, too. If an employee comes to you stating that they are feeling burnout or having other personal issues, listen to them and help make changes to help them. Care. At the end of the day, an employee wants to feel heard. They want to feel like they are an important part of a company and are cared for.
Care for them. Have empathy. Have sympathy.
An employee is more likely to be engaged when their employer listens to them and takes their concerns and ideas into consideration. Treating an employee like a cog in the machine is the quickest way to get them to act like a cog in a machine… Inhumane and boring.
4. Be Flexible and Open to Change
Piggybacking off the last tip, remember that listening may involve changing.
We’ve reached a new age of the employee-employer relationship. As we stated, people want more time outside of work, they want more importance in their work, and they want to be treated as important pieces. If an employee brings you an idea for a change in the way your company does things, you may want to listen to it. Adhering to team ideas may not only increase employee satisfaction but help you build a successful and advanced business culture.
For example, if multiple employees bring up the concept of changing or offering hybrid working opportunities, you should think about it. Will it help get them engaged and create a strong working culture? Will it help improve the overall wavelength of the office? It may also save you some production costs and allow you to hire different (and better) workers.
Think about implementing it, at least.
This doesn’t mean adhering to every idea, though. Some may not work or may not be practical. But, be flexible. We don’t know where the working world will be in the next few years. Don’t be left behind due to bullheadedness.
5. Praise Good Work
Every worker, from the bottom to the top, deserves to be treated with respect and professionalism. Every worker, from the bottom to the top, deserves to hear praise when they’ve done a good job. After all, why would a worker care about doing a good job if it isn’t noticed by those above them?
Over 91% of HR professionals believe that recognition and reward make employees more likely to stay. More than 40% of employed Americans feel that if they were recognized more often, they would put more energy into their work.
Is there any more to say, really? Making your employees feel like they matter and are recognized for their effort is the best way to keep them involved.
While praising good work doesn’t have to include expensive prizes or vacations, a simple thank you can go far. If you notice an employee busting their tale, tell them they’re doing a great job. It’s not much, but it builds up. It helps establish a culture that cares and employees that know you are paying attention.
Reward and promote the workers that work hard and others will work hard, too.
6. Allow Learning Opportunities
Employees are more likely to be engaged if they are constantly learning new things and skills. Workers want to grow and carve out new paths to their end goal careers. Workers want to be present for new learning experiences and have the opportunities to be promoted into roles with higher responsibility.
Let’s refer to our wonderful article regarding managing Gen Z employees.
From How to Manage Gen Z Employees – Reach Your Workforce
Gen Z employees want the ability to grow in their place of employment (as do all ages and generations), but they do not see the employment ladder as vertically as those before them. Moving up to a managerial role with the opportunity to lead, but still be led from above, is not as much of a win as it used to be. Younger workers want the opportunity to be creative, be a leader, and collaborate on something that matters.
A study by NSHSS found that 67% of Gen Zers want to work at companies where they can learn skills to advance their careers. They are willing to job-hop with the intention of learning new skills, helping them amalgamate a large tree of attributes and abilities for future roles.
Allow learning opportunities for your exceptional workers. Not only will it keep them engaged, but it will award them for their hard work. Two birds, one stone.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to provide raises and promotions to everyone, but you can allow crosstraining and other avenues to improve skills. Ask a great employee if they would like to learn a different role, allowing them to create a hybrid of the two on future projects. It can easily improve satisfaction and allow you to diversify your workforce.
7. Be Honest
If you create and distribute a company-wide survey about employee satisfaction, you better be ready to attempt some changes regarding the findings. Showing you care isn’t just for show. If you want to improve employee satisfaction, you need to work to improve employee satisfaction. Don’t create a facade of advancement.
There should always be open and transparent communication between leaders and employees. If you noticed that there is a large and looming problem crushing employee satisfaction, be sure to let the corresponding people know that you are working to address it. Ask for their feedback and give honest responses on how these things can (and will) be handled.
Nothing will crush culture and satisfaction quicker than saying you are going to improve without actually attempting to.
Let’s take the time to think back on everything that has been said in this long-winded transcription. What’s the common theme throughout? What’s the ribbon that ties the employee satisfaction present together?
It’s all about the employee. It isn’t called business satisfaction.
Empathy goes a long way. Caring about the well-being and success of your employees goes even further. To keep your employees satisfied, you need to actually care about your employees being satisfied. Don’t ‘care’ because it helps improve your business. Care because you care.
Have we said care enough?
At the end of the day, listening and working with your employees goes a long way, regardless of your workforce or industry. Take the time to see why your employees are unmotivated and ask how you, as the leader, can help improve it. Though you are above them on the corporate ladder, we are all on the same level of human.