Think employee retention and turnover rates are the ultimate
indicators of employee satisfaction? Think again. Just because John Smith and
Jane Doe haven’t handed in their resignation and headed for the door doesn’t
mean they’re happy.
Recent studies suggest that a significant portion of the
workforce is disgruntled. While the unfortunate state of the economy in the
last few years has made it less likely that employees will voluntarily leave
their jobs, it hasn’t stopped them from longingly eyeing the exit sign.
What are your
employees complaining about?
In an article
and infographic from Inc., Matthew Wong quoted a recent report that
suggests 86% of employees plan on looking for a new job in 2013, up from 60% in
2009. That means that the majority of your workforce may be thinking about
leaving. Even if only a small portion successfully finds other employment, low
employee morale negatively impacts productivity and commitment to everyday
To survive in a down economy, many companies have had to
limit raises and reevaluate benefit packages. Additionally, employees have been
asked to do more with less. While these measures often help employers avoid
layoffs, workers are feeling the pinch. The top employee complaints are on-the-job
stress, health benefits and salary.
Most employees surveyed were completely satisfied with some
aspect of their jobs, with coworkers, vacation time and bosses being the big
winners. When you consider that the top complaints are with areas controlled by
the company and satisfaction lies with their comrades and escape, the news
Understand what your
Sometimes the novelty of perks can boost morale, e.g. coffee
service in the break room, free massages once a quarter or a tablet for
personal use. But for long-term impact on employee satisfaction, you need to
understand what your employees need. And those needs can differ significantly
based on a variety of contributing factors, including gender and age.
Studies indicate that while men are focused on money and
promotions, women are a bit more likely to want a more flexibility. Employees
ages 33 to 50 tend to want higher job titles and those 32 and younger feel they
need more training. When you get to the root of what they want, you can see that
employees need to feel as though they are valuable parts of the company. They
need to know that they are working toward a goal and progressing in their
Make them feel valued.
Chances are you’re not in a position to offer raises and
promotions to everyone; the good news is that you may not have to. Harvard
Business School professor Teresa M. Amabile said, “Of all the things that
contribute to a happy workday, the one thing that stands out from my research
is making progress on meaningful work. Feeling like you are able to move
forward on a daily basis engenders real joy.”
There a number of ways you can make your employees feel
valued and increase satisfaction. Make it clear to your employees that you
understand their need to grow professionally and progress in their careers.
There are variety ways to do this, such as creating career tracks, providing
coaching opportunities, and giving employees access to job training and skill
building assets. These measures can help redirect wandering eyes and give
employees a goal to focus on—a bright future with your company.