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The importance of employee satisfaction in the workplace cannot be underestimated. Why? Employee satisfaction in the workplace generally translates to loyalty, higher productivity and better overall job performance. That's a win-win for employee and employer.
What's Important to Employees?
According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it takes more than a good salary and benefits to keep employees engaged and satisfied with their work. Some of the important facts cited by employees include the following:
- Respect: This was rated the most important. Employees want to be treated courteously. They want to know that the employer will listen to them. They want to know that new ideas and suggestions will be considered and that any problems will be addressed.
- Healthy Environment: In addition to physical safety, employees seek a workplace where they can be free of stress, harassment, discrimination and morale issues.
- Trust: Employees expect their employers to be fair and honest with them.
- Security: Employees don't want to worry about the longevity of their employment. Employers must be open and truthful about the state of a business and its long-term viability.
- Career opportunities: No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. Employees are more likely to work hard if they see opportunities for increased responsibility and more pay.
- Competitive pay and benefits: These may not be the first consideration when taking or keeping a job, but pay and benefits are the most tangible evidence of employee worth. If employees don't feel valued, they're going to seek better compensation elsewhere.
The Employer Side of Job Satisfaction
Employee satisfaction isn't just good for workers. There are real benefits for the employer:
- Lower turnover: The process of hiring and retaining employees is expensive. Longevity correlates with high employee satisfaction in the workplace. If employees are satisfied, they're less likely to look for other jobs, meaning the employer doesn't have to look for replacements.
- Greater productivity: Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more motivated and productive.
- Increased profits: Both lower turnover and greater productivity contribute favorably to an organization's bottom line.
- Loyalty: When employees feel valued, it shows in the way they deal with customers.They're likely to tell anyone they meet about the quality of the workplace and its products and services. Loyal employees help boost a company's business and reputation.
Improving Employee Satisfaction
Employee satisfaction in the workplace takes effort on the part of an employer. Here are some steps any employer can take:
- Facilitate communication: Let employees know what you expect. Encourage open dialogue, so employees feel they will be heard.
- Recognize good work: People appreciate praise for a job well done.
- Demonstrate care about employees' well-being: A workplace can be stressful, both mentally and physically. To the best degree possible, foster a calm, stress-free environment where employees can do their best work without unnecessary drama. Take care of employees' physical well-being by encouraging exercise at break times, subsidizing gym memberships or installing a vending machine with healthy snack options.
- Offer learning opportunities: Make sure employees stay invested with new challenges. That could mean increased responsibilities, training in new tasks or financial support for off-site learning.
- Focus on the long-term: Short-term goals are important, but setting and communicating long-range strategic goals help employees stay motivated.
Employee Satisfaction in Flexible Workplaces
Flexibility in the workplace, affecting when and how an employee works, can be mutually beneficial. For example, a working parent may need a later start time to be able to drop off children at school. An employer willing to be flexible will allow the employee to stay later at the end of the day, take a shorter lunch break, or bring work home, depending on the structure and needs of the business.
In a survey by JP Morgan Chase, 95 percent of employees reported higher levels of motivation when working for an employer that was sensitive to work and personal life. Flexibility is another aspect of workplace culture that is ultimately beneficial for both employer and employee.
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- Entrepreneur: Why Job Satisfaction is an Important Part of the Vicious Circle
- Villanova University: How Important is Job Satisfaction in Today's Workplace?
- Human Resources Online: 6 Ways to Boost Employee Satisfaction
- The Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College: What is Workplace Flexibility?
Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for eHow.com, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.