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Understanding and improving employee satisfaction

It's tempting to think of employee satisfaction as something that happens to you, like getting the flu or paying taxes. It may seem out of...

Author Rachel McQuigge of WFHomie and GoCo

by Rachel McQuigge - September 14th, 2022


It's tempting to think of employee satisfaction as something that happens to you, like getting the flu or paying taxes. It may seem out of your hands, but in reality, employee satisfaction is a metric your organization can improve yet: improving employee satisfaction will increase productivity and retention rates—two things every business owner wants.

What is employee satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction describes how satisfied or content employees are with elements like their jobs, their employee experience, and their company. Employee satisfaction is important because happy employees are more engaged and productive, which can help drive business growth.

If your employees are happy, they're more likely to stay with you. They'll also be more motivated, better at their jobs, and more productive. In addition, happy employees tend to perform better than those unsatisfied with their work environment or the company.

Why does having satisfied employees matter?

At the heart of it all, employee satisfaction matters because satisfied employees are more engaged in their work and have better morale. The logic goes that if workers are happy with their jobs, they're more likely to perform well, which leads to higher productivity and (eventually) profitability.

What factors influence employee satisfaction?

Several factors influence employee satisfaction. Some of the most important ones include:

Relationships with managers and coworkers

How employees feel about their relationships with their managers and coworkers significantly impacts whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied at work. To improve your employees' satisfaction, you must ensure positive working relationships with those above them in the company hierarchy and their peers.

Meaningful work

Employees who enjoy what they do are generally happier than those who don't like what they do daily. So, if you want to boost employee satisfaction, consider creating new opportunities for employees to engage in more meaningful tasks and feel more fulfilled in their work environment.

Compensation and benefits

Employees who feel fairly compensated for their work are more likely to be satisfied than those who feel they are underpaid. So if you want to improve employee satisfaction, offer competitive salaries and benefits packages.

Work-life balance

A good work-life balance is essential for employee satisfaction. Employees who have a good work-life balance are generally happier than those who don't. So, to improve employee satisfaction, consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as working from home or flexible hours.

How can a company improve employee satisfaction?

Measure employee satisfaction with eNPS surveys

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) surveys are a great way to track employees' feelings about their work environment and the company. These types of surveys ask employees questions like "On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work?" or "How likely is it that you will remain an employee of this company?"

Be consistent and transparent in how you collect data

Ensure uniform and transparent data collection is no secret to gaining your employees' trust.

Implement and encourage healthier work practices

Employees who are physically active at work and have access to healthy food options tend to be happier than those who sit all day with little opportunity for exercise or healthy eating on the job. Many employers have taken steps toward improving workplace wellness by offering gym memberships or discounts on healthy foods at the company cafeteria — which are great ways for employees to maintain their health while at work.

Offer flexible work arrangements

Flexible scheduling helps employees balance their personal and professional lives, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced stress levels and absenteeism due to personal commitments such as doctor's appointments or childcare needs.

Some companies offer flexible hours or allow employees to take long lunch breaks to go grocery shopping without worrying about missing important meetings or deadlines that may affect their performance appraisal rating.

Encourage employees to take vacation days

Employees who take vacation time are generally more productive when they return to work and have a better outlook on their jobs. Encourage employees to take advantage of their vacation days by offering flexible scheduling options and adequate time off. 

By allowing them to plan their vacations without feeling overwhelmed or burdened by work, you create a supportive work environment that values their well-being and recognizes the importance of work-life balance. 

Additionally, consider implementing a vacation policy that promotes the use of vacation time and provides incentives for employees to take regular breaks. This can include rewards or bonuses for those who utilize their vacation days fully. 

Remember, a rested and rejuvenated workforce is more likely to bring fresh perspectives, increased creativity, and higher productivity levels to the workplace.

Making changes to your company based on findings

If you're unhappy with your eNPS score, it's time to take action. The first step is to understand what's driving the scores. You can do this by surveying employees and asking them directly why they gave the company the score they did.

Once you know what's causing employees to be dissatisfied, you can start making changes to improve the work environment and company culture. Some common solutions include:

  • Improving communication between management and employees

  • Offering more training and development opportunities

  • Increasing pay or benefits

  • Improving work-life balance

  • Making the workplace more diverse and inclusive

  • Make sure you have a clear vision and strategy

  • Focus on the needs of your employees

  • Make sure you have a clear communication plan

Employee satisfaction is a crucial part of any company's success. As you can see from the information above, many factors influence employee happiness and engagement. Organizations should have an environment where employees feel valued and appreciated so they will want to work hard for you. Employees who feel valued are likelier to be loyal and dedicated to the company's mission.

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