Why Employee Satisfaction Is Important and How to Improve It
⏱ Reading Time: 8 minutes
While you may think that building good relationships and having a comprehensive business strategy is the best way to achieve your company goals — have you thought about your employee satisfaction?
A satisfied employee is one that is positive in their approach. They’re proactive, productive and committed to contributing to the organization’s goals. Prioritizing employee satisfaction will increase your bottom line profits, create lower employee turnover and improve overall company performance and productivity. So it goes without saying that keeping your employees happy and content is definitely in your best interests.
Here you will find all you need to know about ways to measure employee satisfaction, and how you can improve it.
Picture 1. Employee satisfaction fuels your company’s success
Why Employee Satisfaction Is Important
There are many reasons employers should be concerned with the overall welfare and happiness of their team of employees. But the biggest one is that it influences the bottom line. Studies have shown a correlation between employee satisfaction and profitability. Essentially, if you’re looking to give your company’s finances a nudge in the right direction, then one of the best ways is to improve your staff’s happiness. It influences a company’s performance in many ways. A happy member of staff is a more productive member of staff, and they’ll also perform better. You know how you tend to go the extra mile for people that you like? It’s a bit like that.
Perhaps the best way to gauge the importance of employee satisfaction is to look at what happens when it’s not present. An unhappy member of staff will be unlikely to put in the hard yards. They’ll also be more likely to leave in pursuit of another job. Companies usually overlook employee retention, but it can make a massive difference to company productivity. You’re far better off to have an established team of employees working together for years. Rather than to have a continually changing workforce because people are leaving.
Finally, employee satisfaction is something employers should think about because it makes the workplace a more enjoyable place to be. It’s much better to achieve great things while also having fun and in a positive environment, if it’s an option.
Measuring Current Employee Satisfaction
It’s all well and good taking steps to improve your staff’s happiness. But how do you measure whether things are going well, or if you need to improve things further? There are three primary ways.
Picture 2. Make sure to measure whether your efforts are making an improvement
Talk to Them
One to one conversations where your staff feel comfortable to share their thoughts and feelings. This can be formally or informally, by scheduling a meeting or casually asking how they are finding their workload. Hower, it’s not like your employees are going to tell you straight out that they are unhappy at work. They may however, show some subtle hints of dissatisfaction or discontent, so it’s up to you to read between the lines.
People can clam up when they’re put on the spot. Anonymous surveys will allow your team to talk more freely about their working experience. Make sure you pay attention to how you structure your forms. Having open-ended questions allows your employees to write their true thoughts. It also gives you richer data, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of your employees. Additionally, it can also gain feedback you might not have even been looking for. Employee satisfaction surveys will allow you to gauge morale and see how satisfied employees are with their roles and workloads. They also allow you to identify areas where you can make work more fulfilling for employees so they become more productive.
Read the Room
Not everything has to be verbalized. Sometimes, you can tell a workforce is unhappy just by reading the room. If everyone’s miserable, it’ll be time to make some changes. You may notice things like productivity being down in the office, a reluctance for staff to take part in working as a team, or a lack of feedback. These are all warning signs that your employee satisfaction is low. These cues are important to keep an eye out for. As soon as you notice morale is down, it’s time to improve your employees’ satisfaction and build a teamwork strategy before your bottom line is affected.
Picture 3. Catch the non-verbal signs in the office
How to Improve Employee Satisfaction
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of employee satisfaction, let’s think about how you can improve satisfaction at your company. Everyone wants to have a happy workforce, and the good news is, that this is not something that’s difficult to achieve. Indeed, just by taking a few steps, you’ll find that you can push things in the right direction.
So what are the best steps to take? Let’s take a look.
Give Greater Autonomy
Studies have found that autonomy is vitally important to an employee’s satisfaction. Nobody wants to feel like they’re just a cog in a machine. But, if employees have no say over what they’re doing, then that’s just what they’ll feel like. You don’t have to grant total freedom to your staff, but could you allow them to work from home a couple of days a week. Or, allow them to choose their working hours? There are a variety of tools available out there to facilitate remote working from video conferencing to team chat apps.
So if productivity and communication is what’s holding you back – don’t fear. A study done by the University of Birmingham found that employees who have higher levels of autonomy at work reported a greater sense of well being and job satisfaction. They also found that gender plays a part in how different types of autonomy affects people in different ways. While women enjoy flexibility in the timing and location of work, men like autonomy in pace of work and job task and order.
Picture 4. Allow your employees to work from home
If you’ve hired someone to do something, then you should let them get on with it. All too often, employers try to control too many aspects of an employee’s work. A micromanagement approach isn’t just annoying for employees. It actively harms the organization, too. If you’ve hired correctly, then they are more than capable of completing the assigned task. But, they must be allowed to get on with it. If you’re always telling employees how to do their job, you may create an atmosphere of mistrust. Nobody likes it when their boss constantly appears over their shoulder telling them what to do. If that’s not bad enough, you also condition your team to be needy and rely heavily on your direction by denying them the independence to work.
Provide a Pleasant Workspace
Our surroundings have a huge impact on our overall well being and being in a pleasant environment helps to make people feel positive, energized and motivated. Even with all the will in the world, if your staff is working in dark, dingy, and all-around uninspiring workspaces, then there’ll be no great surprise if they’re not as happy as they could be.
If, on the other hand, they’re working in a bright, clean, and spacious office, then they’ll much prefer coming to the office. Make sure you have nice decor such as featuring light and cheery colours to have an inspirational workspace. Make sure to not stinge when it comes to buying desk chairs, buying good quality ones will allow your employees to feel more comfortable while reducing the risk of workplace strain or injury.
Invest in Your Staff
The more you invest in your staff, the more likely it is that they’ll stick around. Employees look for more than financial remuneration (though that is, of course, also an important factor). They want to feel like they’re growing in their career and that the company they’re working for cares about their development. An excellent way to show this is to pay for your team’s on-going training and education. This will benefit your employees, but also your business. After all, it’ll be your company that reaps the benefits of their training.
Prioritise Company Culture
Company culture is the backbone of a positive company culture — and the research proves it. A survey from Glassdoor found that when it comes to job satisfaction, 58% of employees and job seekers said that company culture is more important than salary. So while you can conduct as many employee satisfaction surveys as you please, combining them with improving company culture is a sure way to boost productivity and create better business outcomes.
Having an organizational mission, vision and values is important to unite employees and help foster a sense of purpose in their work. While having a shared goal lets employees feel like they are making a difference and contributing to the company. If you aren’t fostering a positive workplace culture and your employees aren’t banded together under a common vision, they are going to find it difficult to see the value in their work and may lack motivation.
Picture 5. Research shows that company culture is more important than salary for many employees
Employee satisfaction is oftentimes less prioritized than other shorter term objectives which can come at an expense to a company’s bottom line profitability. Companies that place importance and invest in their employee satisfaction can reap the benefits of higher employee retention, greater productivity and improved attendance.
Tegan Tedd is a digital marketer and content writer at Paperform. She loves writing about product marketing, technology, and workplace productivity.
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