When you’re looking for ways to make your business more successful, how often do you focus on employee satisfaction? Most businesses invest in product or service promotion, more efficient processes and ways to boost customer loyalty. But employee satisfaction also has a significant impact on the productivity, profitability and reputation of your organisation.
If you own a business, you’re probably fully invested in it. Whether you’re happy at work or not, you give it your all because there’s too much at stake. But when employees are not particularly happy with their work life, they don’t put their heart into it. That often means doing just enough to keep their job until they land a better one. And better usually means more satisfying.
This article is designed to help you get started on prioritising, measuring and boosting employee satisfaction for your business. So let’s start with why successful organisations think it’s important.
What are the benefits of a more satisfied work force?
Monitoring and improving employee satisfaction takes time and money, so you need to understand the business benefits involved.
Satisfied employees are typically less stressed and more productive. They’re focussed on working hard to support the company’s success, rather than what’s getting them down. Attendance rates are often higher as well, especially when work is one of their happy places. They also self-manage more effectively, requiring less time from managers and colleagues.
Reduced staff turnover
When your employees feel their work is meaningful, and they value the connection they have with colleagues and the company, they’re much less likely to leave. By monitoring how they feel and making genuine efforts to support their changing needs you’ll provide a workplace that grows with them. This makes it more difficult for other employers to lure them away.
High levels of satisfaction create a positive work environment, which in turn builds strong commitment to the organisation’s purpose and goals. Instead of simply turning up at work, employees increasingly see it as a valued and integral part of their life.
Highly satisfied employees will speak positively about the organisation they work for. They’re like your most loyal customers. When your reputation is elevated by employees, it’s easier attract people with the skills and talents you need to grow. New hires may even accept a reduced income to work in a more meaningful and satisfying position.
Is employee satisfaction the same as engagement?
These two concepts are similar, but they’re not the same. Satisfaction is how employees feel about their job. Engagement is more about their commitment to quality outputs and the organisation’s success. Increased satisfaction certainly leads to higher levels of engagement.
What influences employee satisfaction?
There are several factors that influence job satisfaction and their importance varies from one person to another. The most common things people are looking for include:
• A safe and healthy workplace
• Work that has purpose and aligns with their values
• Opportunities to learn and advance their career
• Caring and respectful management and colleagues
• Job security in an organisation with a strong future
• Good pay and benefits for what they do
• A company with a good reputation in the community
All of these measures are within the control of business owners and senior managers. They can be taken into account whenever decisions are made. They can also be continually supported through employee recognition programmes, celebrating successes, sharing business challenges and open communication about where the organisation is headed. The key is to understand what would make each employee more satisfied and take steps to improve their satisfaction wherever possible. It’s also essential to know what’s already valued by employees, so those things are retained.
How to measure employee satisfaction
The only way to know how satisfied employees are with their job is to ask them. If someone appears happy at work it could be due to their personal life, or maybe they’ve just landed a job with another company. You just don’t know. And a passing “All good?” or “You happy?” doesn’t count either. So here are some ways to measure and monitor employee satisfaction in meaningful ways.
Short, easy-to-understand surveys can give you the data you need to find general areas that need improvement and monitor shifts in satisfaction. Keeping them anonymous will often provide more honest and up-front feedback. If you have a large number of employees, you may be able to identify respondents by their department or wider team. Just make sure there are enough in the team to maintain the promised confidentiality.
The downside of confidential surveys is you don’t know who to follow up with regarding any low scores. That’s why regular one-on-one meetings are also important, so people can ask questions, share concerns or offer feedback on how things could improve. Small team meetings can sometimes provide a more supportive environment for employees to speak up or contribute improvement ideas, especially when they realise they’re not the only one with a particular issue. Collaborating on improvement solutions can also help to encourage a shared sense of responsibility for everyone’s job satisfaction.
Suggestion boxes allow people to provide anonymous feedback if they wish or put their name to an idea. Having a suggestion box also sends the message that employee input counts. Just be sure to acknowledge and act on the feedback received.
Employee net promoter score (eNPS)
Once a customer loyalty tool, the simple NPS survey has been adapted to measure employee loyalty as an indication of satisfaction. There are four recommended questions:
• On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company as a good place to work?
• On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company’s products or services to a friend or colleague?
A person giving a score of 9 or 10 is considered a promoter, 7 or 8 is neutral and 0 to 6 is a detractor. To calculate your eNPS, subtract the overall percentage of promoters from the percentage who are detractors. The neutrals don’t come into the equation, however their written feedback will be useful. Then drop the % from the eNPS answer to leave a simple number. As a rough guide, a normal eNPS is anywhere between -10 and +20. Any positive number is good and 10 to 30 is something to be proud of. Your eNPS score lets you make quick comparisons to monitor improvement strategies. But the real gold is usually in the comments.
How to improve employee satisfaction
There’s little point in gathering information about job satisfaction and employee engagement unless you act on it. Once you have collected useful information, you can formulate an improvement plan. Some of the most important things to include are: • A list of meaningful changes that are linked to the feedback provided – it’s important that people feel heard • Training and development initiatives to ensure people are empowered to be their best • Recognition and reward for those who show initiative and work hard to achieve success • Opportunities to increase autonomy and personal responsibility through things like flexible hours and less micro-management
Including employee satisfaction measurement and improvement plans into the way your organisation operates is a sure way to boost productivity, reduce staff turnover costs and enhance your public reputation. All three are ingredients for a more positive and successful business. Part of your plan to improve employee satisfaction could include adding Boost employee benefits, because they work for everyone. Find out more.