Employee satisfaction

What is employee satisfaction?

Studies show that employees who feel satisfied with their work perform their tasks more diligently. They are also more willing to help co-workers and customers. If satisfied employees mean benefits for the company, let's look further into what employee satisfaction actually is.

What is employee satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction is otherwise known as a feeling of contentment – a certain attitude of an employee based on their internal opinions.

Satisfaction reflects employees' motivation to perform, shows whether they feel good about the company and whether they are generally satisfied with the workplace. It should not be confused with engagement level. Satisfaction levels are influenced by financial aspects and the ability to fulfill higher-order needs (a sense of success, prestige, respect, belonging, and self-actualization), among others.

Why is employee satisfaction important?

  • In tough times, any employer, even the worst, is better than none. However, in times when the labour market is an employee market, things tend to be quite different. The employer who does not care about both their team and their satisfaction can immediately shut down the business. Why? Because job satisfaction is a driving force for employees, sometimes greater than salary, as numerous studies show.

  • Job satisfaction increases the efficiency of operations, and gives a sense of fulfillment. It makes employees perform their tasks more diligently because they are better motivated to do so. And greater diligence means greater productivity.

  • A high level of satisfaction leads to an increase in social behavior. This applies not only to relations within the team when employees help each other, and support each other but also to behave toward the company's customers. And as is well known – excellent service quality means higher profits.

  • People who are satisfied with their work are less likely to take extra time off and do not try to avoid work by using sick leave.

  • Employees satisfied with their work environment, with the atmosphere in the team, with the assignment of tasks is a guarantee of low retention, and this means huge savings for the company: there is no need to organize expensive recruitment, delay work through new people's probation periods, the company does not lose fluidity in the implementation of tasks.

How to measure employee satisfaction?

An employee satisfaction survey is usually conducted as an anonymous questionnaire. It can consist of closed and open-ended questions. Leaving space for comments will give us more information about the mood of the team.

The survey should be conducted periodically in order to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and be able to quickly implement changes if necessary. In addition to short surveys, such as the monthly ones, it is a good idea to conduct an annual employee survey and compare the results over a period of time.

If a company uses HRM software, it can collect the results of employee surveys in a central database. This is a convenient solution to track in the long term, any deviation from the accepted norm. The HRM system also allows you to create ready-made employee satisfaction questionnaires and personalize them for the company's needs.

Measuring employee satisfaction should be followed by informing the team. All employees should be told about the form, procedure, and purpose of the survey. It is also good practice to discuss the final results with the team and to jointly create a remediation plan if the results showed that the situation in the team requires changes.

How to improve employee satisfaction?

Let's review other ways to improve employee satisfaction since we know that salary alone is not always important.

There are three groups of motivator factors that affect job satisfaction. These are:

  • Personal factors – the employee's age and gender, experience, personality, and character;

  • Organizational factors – that is, besides salary – the possibility of receiving a promotion, a sense of stability and security, professional prestige, opportunities for personal development;

  • Social factors – relations with co-workers, relations with superiors, the nature of cooperation with customers, perceived respect, employee retention, the general good atmosphere at work and company climate.

While the company has no influence on personal factors, it can make changes in the other two areas. Which ones? The company can:

  • Implement giving feedback – both positive and negative. A positive one boosts an employee's self-esteem, and a negative one motivates them to change.

  • Implement a system of kudos/commendations/support – complimenting employees on their successes is as effective a motivator as showing them support (especially for new employees, in those going through the onboarding process).

  • Assign a variety of challenges to different employees – some prefer challenging tasks, and others are fulfilled in less ambitious ways. If they are allowed to perform in their preferred area, they will perform more efficiently and their work will be more satisfying.

  • Solve day-to-day problems as they occur – if team members raise a problem, it will be good practice to seek a solution right away, rather than postpone it until later. Piling up problems makes team communication difficult and lowers team morale.

  • Treat employees with equal respect – this includes the issue of fair distribution of salaries and benefits.

What is the difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement?

Employee engagement and job satisfaction are different concepts. Engagement refers to how strongly an employee identifies with the company and its goals. It is the result of the overlap between the positive behavior of all team members, good internal communication, and a sense of trust.

The level of commitment depends on many factors:

  • on whether the employee sees a connection between their work and the success of the company as a whole;

  • on whether the company tries to engage employees by setting interesting tasks and motivating goals to achieve;

  • on whether the company tries to help employees learn something new, discover a new career passion;

  • on whether the company cares about the internal work environment and keeps track of whether work-life balance is maintained among the team.

Engaged employees are loyal, satisfied employees who speak positively about the company because they feel included in creating a better work culture.

Nurturing a high enough level of engagement among the team translates into better company performance and low turnover.

Best practices to keep employee satisfaction high

The best ways to keep employee satisfaction high involve offering compensation, and benefits, maintaining a work-life balance and recognizing an employee's achievements and contributions to the company.

  • Offering an attractive salary, where attractiveness is a subjective concept for each employee and depends on his or her life stage. What will satisfy a person at the beginning of his career will not be an adequate salary for a person with significant experience.

  • Offer a benefits package that meets the current needs of the employee. Exploring the needs of employees allows you to better select the components of the package. Some companies are approaching the topic of benefits as if they were a sales transaction. If employees are customers who have different needs, then benefits should be diversified to meet those needs.

  • Providing the employee with a work-life balance, by, for example: allowing them to work remotely, a flexible vacation schedule, time for personal development, and organizing team-building activities – such as physical activities for the team.

  • Recognizing an employee's achievements and contributions to the company, formally, to the rest of the team, and informally, personalized.

Employee satisfaction: summary

Examining employee satisfaction, through regular surveys, helps the company solve emerging problems faster. A properly constructed questionnaire provides information about interpersonal relations, work organization, and the team's mood. In addition, automating the survey process allows for convenient analysis of the results.

Employee satisfaction guarantees the company higher productivity and, therefore, higher profits. Thus, it is worth taking care to keep it at a high level.

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