Last week, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released the results of its latest Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey and found the largest increase in satisfied employees since it began conducting the survey in 2002. A 5 percent increase from 2013 brought the number of employees reporting overall job satisfaction in 2014 to 86 percent.
Employee satisfaction seems to follow or lag other economic indicators. Job satisfaction was also at 86 percent in 2009, then declined markedly before returning to pre-recession levels in 2014.
What makes employees happy? While money is important—it ranks fourth–the number-one reason was “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” while “trust between employees and senior management” came in second. Respondents rated benefits as the third most important contributor to job satisfaction. Other important factors are job security, relationship with immediate supervisor, and opportunities to use skills and abilities.
The survey results provide a roadmap for keeping employees happy and engaged:
- Create expectations for leaders and managers to treat employees with respect and a sense of fairness. Make sure these are clearly defined and agreed upon by leadership so expectations can be met.
- Transparency is a key element of trust and it starts at the top with open and continuous communication. This communication creates trust between leaders and employees and is a necessary ingredient for workplace satisfaction.
- Benefits are important to satisfaction, so find out what benefits are satisfying. Many employees like flexible scheduling, but is this true for all employees? Surveys can be done to find out which benefits are truly beneficial. MSEC can assist with these surveys.
- Create a total rewards plan that matches the needs of the workplace and is competitive in your industry and geographic region. This plan includes both pay and benefits in the mix. Typically, successful employers update their plan every two to three years and adjust it annually.
Workplace happiness is one of the strongest predictors of your company’s success. Take action now to ensure you’re the employer of choice in your industry.