Employee satisfaction is a measure of how happy employees are at work. Employee satisfaction is also a key driver of employee engagement, which indicates how committed people are to the company and its mission. This engagement directly translates to higher productivity, more passion, and ultimately productivity. The linkage is clear and compelling and it underlies why employee satisfaction needs to be high on the list of priorities for organizations of all sorts and sizes.
So how do you ensure employee satisfaction at work? The key is to focus on practices and interactions that demonstrate people are cared for, listened to, appreciated and respected. These all contribute to strong relationships, and one’s relationship to work is just as important as relationships with family and friends. By focusing on positive, day-to-day interactions at work you build employee satisfaction and create an environment where people can thrive.
Here are 10 ways to start:
1. Listen Intently and Purposely
People will tell you what they want and need but you need to be open to hearing from them. Ask what employee satisfaction means to them, and they will answer! Use a variety of surveys and analytics to listen to what people are saying, learn how they are feeling, and understand what they want and need. Then respond and make changes as necessary to build and maintain high levels of employee satisfaction.
2. Have Honest Conversations
Honesty is the best policy – it’s trite but true, and it matters a lot when it comes to employee satisfaction. Insist on open communication channels, share information in a timely and transparent manner, encourage and promote honest feedback without repercussions and be sure to close feedback loops so people know their voices matter.
3. Appreciate Differences
Getting along and fitting in are important, but not to the exclusion of diverse ideas and experiences. The most satisfied employees know their opinion matters and they know that differences will be treated respectfully. Whether its working with people from different parts of the organization or working with people from different levels in the traditional hierarchy, think critically about how to support differences and ensure everyone has a chance to be their best.
4. Double Down on Inclusion
As part of the recognition that differences are a source of strength, make sure ALL employees feel welcome and that they ALL experience the organization’s culture in a positive way. Think about traditional work categories like gender, race and age as well as types of worker, work tenure, and geographic location. This includes providing a safe workplace – both physically and psychologically – that ensures everyone is able to speak up in meetings, ask questions, admit mistakes, and share their ideas.
5. Say Thank You
Appreciation goes a long way toward building employee satisfaction. It’s a simple and powerful means to show people you notice them and that what they are doing matters. When your people are given sincere thanks they feel good about themselves and their contribution and it reinforces that they are respected and valued members of the team.
6. Provide Development Opportunities
People want to progress in their careers, and it’s important to acknowledge that progression does not always mean moving up the hierarchical chain. To build employee satisfaction, take time to understand what development opportunities your people are looking for. Help them establish career goals and explore different career paths open to them. Then provide training and support to learn new skills, work on challenging assignments, and continuously build their competencies.
7. Provide Autonomy
Show your people the respect they deserve by giving them the space and freedom to deliver great work. Allow people to work independently without being micromanaged. Provide them the freedom to make decisions, take risks, and work on projects that are exciting and interesting. Allow mistakes – let your people know that honest mistakes happen and you’re ok with that. Acknowledge that mistakes often provide the best lessons for improvement and support this as part of their development.
8. Monitor Stress To Avoid Burnout
With the rise in working from remote locations, pay attention to work/life balance issues and encourage and model healthy work habits. Ensure people have enough time off to manage their stress and monitor their workload to ensure expectations are reasonable. Be on the lookout for signs of stress and adjust schedules accordingly. Lean on strong communication channels and be proactive with workload distribution so your people know they can tell you they are struggling long before their satisfaction level takes a nosedive.
9. Encourage Camaraderie
Connections at work are very important to employee satisfaction. People interact with colleagues as much, if not more than, the other people in their lives. And with the shift in how and where work is done, building and maintaining these work related connections takes more deliberate planning. Nurture and promote this important social element through regular team building, effective communication exercises and good, old-fashioned fun at work.
10. Review Pay and Benefits
As much as a high total compensation package won’t guarantee employee satisfaction, inadequate pay and benefits will almost certainly create dissatisfaction. Use surveys and aggregated industry and community compensation data to ensure your pay is appropriate. Consider moving to flexible benefits to accommodate a wide range of needs to be supportive in different ways for different people. Get creative and individualize pay and perks to meet a wide range of needs and maximize the impact they have on satisfaction levels.
Bottom line, employees who are happy and content with their work and their work environment will work harder, stay longer, and make an overall positive contribution to the organization. To achieve high levels of employee satisfaction means taking a people-centred approach and paying attention to the fundamentals of strong, positive workplace relationships. Show your people you care about them, appreciate them, and that you respect them; in turn they will show-up ready to do their best everyday. Employee satisfaction comes down to creating great moments each and every day and the cumulative effect is a great place to work for all.
Ready to learn what’s important for employee satisfaction at your company? We’re here to help. We designed an employee survey – based on 30+ years of studying employee experience – to measure and track levels of employee satisfaction related to recognition, trust, innovation, and more. Contact us about it today.