In Times of Reshuffle and Resignation, Boost Your Employees’ Job Satisfaction
You don't have to be miserable at work.
Employees have realized this over the decade, a realization the pandemic has accelerated.
As a result, job satisfaction has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for most companies.
Even so, only 49% of employees say they're satisfied with their jobs, meaning roughly half of every company's workforce isn't too happy.
The biggest problem with a dissatisfied workforce is the causal link to employee turnover—something that will cost you lost experience and money.
On the other hand, increased job satisfaction among your employees will lead to lower turnover, lower costs, and consistently high output.
This article will help you understand:
- The drivers of job satisfaction.
- How job satisfaction integrates with engagement and employee experience.
- How to keep employees happy with a fresh job satisfaction strategy.
👩💼What is job satisfaction?
Job satisfaction is a feeling of fulfillment that comes from a job well done and an environment that is conducive to that.
This feeling of fulfillment strongly influences productivity and employee retention (happier employees are 13% more productive), turning it into a valuable metric you need to measure.
The key factors affecting this metric would be:
- Nature of the job and workload;
- Company policies;
- Job security;
Note that each of these varies in importance to each employee. For example, pay may be the most important factor for one employee. At the same time, respectful treatment may be more important for another.
"I know that I am satisfied with my job when being at work does not feel like a chore and when I enjoy fulfilling my duties, even the most challenging ones. When I like what I'm doing and the people I'm working with, no Monday is a drag, and no day is too long." Lorelei Trisca, Content Marketing Manager at Zavvy.
You cannot ignore job satisfaction if you're committed to employee enablement.
🆚 Employee satisfaction vs. employee engagement vs. employee experience
Employee satisfaction, engagement, and experience sound similar enough, but you should not focus on one and ignore the others.
Satisfaction generally refers to how content an employee is with their job.
Engagement refers to how involved an employee is with their work. Some factors that contribute to engagement are:
- Company values and culture;
- Opportunities for promotion and growth;
- Individual motivation.
➡️ Discover 11 examples of outstanding employee engagement experiences.
Experience sums up the employee's entire journey with a company, from the onboarding process to their day-to-day tasks. It includes:
- Everything that contributes to the person's overall opinion of their employment,
Employee experience, engagement, and job satisfaction provide different insights into your workplace culture and employee perceptions.
Let's take an example that illustrates satisfaction, engagement, and experience in practice.
Janet is paid well and works reasonable hours. The job role is interesting.
However, she hasn't been promoted in 4 years or received much training to expand her skill set. She is overall satisfied with her job, but her engagement is low.
To top it all off, her current manager is not receptive to feedback. Senior management doesn't administer surveys either. So she has no opportunities to share her insights, which means her employee experience is poor.
Janet is likely to leave this company—despite her basic job satisfaction needs being met—because her engagement and experience needs are not.
❗ 6 Reasons why job satisfaction is important
So, while pay matters a lot, many other factors influence job satisfaction.
Why should you care? We have six reasons for you.
1. Increased profits
Improving job satisfaction leads to happier employees and, therefore, higher employee retention. The immediate benefit of this is lower hiring costs.
And in the long run?
Employees who stay with you instead of moving on to other companies perfect their existing skillsets over time and grow their institutional knowledge, leading to superior output.
A highly skilled workforce improves your reputation and client relations, paving the way for increased, steady profit figures.
So, better skills and experience -> Superior output + Happier clients -> Steady profit figures.
2. Higher productivity
What's the relationship between employee engagement and job satisfaction, and how does it translate to higher productivity?
Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to be engaged with their work. Let's take Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and see where job satisfaction and engagement would appear.
When employees have job security and receive adequate pay and treatment, they go the extra mile to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
In contrast, employees dissatisfied with their jobs are more likely to disengage from their work, leading to lower productivity levels.
When all of these elements of job satisfaction come together, it leads to a positive loop in which satisfied employees show higher productivity levels, leading to even greater job satisfaction.
3. Lower turnover
Generally, the more satisfied employees are with their jobs, the less likely they are to leave their current positions. Therefore, measuring their level of satisfaction is crucial in high-turnover industries, such as retail and customer service.
Even a slight increase in job satisfaction can lead to a significant decrease in turnover.
Keeping employees longer can translate into significant savings in recruiting and training costs.
When employees feel like they're working towards goals they find meaningful, they'll be more likely to be engaged in their work.
Tip: Help employees set individual goals that align with your company's broader strategy.
5. Satisfied employees translate into happy customers
Happier employees tend to provide better customer service, which leads to satisfied customers. How?
Happy employees are more likely to be engaged with their work and take pride in their company. This pride translates into better quality work, which ultimately reflects in the company's bottom line.
Plus, they are more likely to be friendly and helpful when interacting with customers.
6. Increase the chances of referrals
Satisfied employees are more likely to act as ambassadors for the company, both to potential customers and other potential employees. They'll be singing your praise, making it easier for you to hire in the future.
They're also more likely to refer friends and family members to open positions, making the recruiting process easier and less expensive.
➡️ Learn how to create a strong employer branding strategy with our tips and insights.
🧑🍳 13 Proven ingredients for job satisfaction
You know why ensuring job satisfaction should be your priority this year. So now, what should your strategy focus on?
We've narrowed the list down to 13 components.
When communication is open and effective, it can help build trust and respect, both of which are essential for a positive work environment.
Tip: Remember that communication is a two-way street.
You must successfully communicate what you want from employees and create an environment for them to express what they want from you.
Culture can either support or undermine an employee's sense of belonging.
A positive workplace values employee input, has a collaborative environment, and facilitates professional development.
In contrast, gossip, nepotism, unfair employee competition, and a general lack of respect characterize a negative workplace culture.
Employees who feel secure in their jobs are less likely to experience anxiety and stress.
Where there is no guarantee of job security in a field, you can compensate by:
- Investing in employee development and reskilling.
- Providing clear communication about organizational changes.
- Demonstrating a commitment to employee retention.
To be a good leader, you must provide clear direction, set high standards, and create a positive work environment.
Employees who feel they are being led effectively are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
Who doesn't want to advance in their careers?
When people feel that they have the potential to move up within the organization, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.
Increasing the level of challenge and variety in a job makes employees more likely to find their work more rewarding. Plus, it makes them more promotion-ready for the future.
Tip: Introduce challenging projects into your employees' existing roles. This will help you glean where their skills lie and give you a better idea of what their upcoming roles should be.
6. Career development
Employees who believe their careers stagnate are more likely to search for new opportunities.
It's not just about getting promoted, either. Developing new competencies is also a form of career development. Employees need to feel that they are progressing to be satisfied with their careers.
7. Working conditions
How do you describe good working conditions? Check if your workplace has:
- Great hygiene factors;
- Proper tools;
- Attention to ergonomics.
Good working conditions are fundamental as they promise safety—both physical and mental.
8. Inclusion & Belonging
Casually reminding employees to be inclusive or even hosting the odd Zoom call to stress diversity won't work.
You need to tackle the subject of inclusion consciously by:
- Recruiting diversely for leadership positions.
- Providing training on unconscious bias.
- Penalizing discrimination.
➡️ Get more insights on why a feeling of belonging at work is so important for employees. We also added some practical ideas you can implement right away.
9. Pay and benefits
Businesses need to offer competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package to attract and retain quality employees.
Work-life balance affects employee job satisfaction strongly. Flexible work arrangements and paid time off are also essential factors in job satisfaction.
10. Rewards and recognition
Rewards do two things:
- Give your employees incentives to keep working hard.
- Let them know they're on your radar, so good performance or lack thereof is not going unnoticed.
Here are a few ways to get started on this:
- PTO or additional vacation days;
- Coaching, mentoring;
- Tuition reimbursement;
- Bonuses and public praise.
11. Work-life balance
No one wants to spend all their time at work, even if it's a dream job paying six figures.
Employees can make time for family, friends, and leisure activities outside of work only if you're not overloading them with work or constantly emailing them outside work hours.
Tip: Look at every employee's work-life balance separately.
Employee A may live close to work, manage to have a good work-life balance, and come into the office daily.
Employee B might have to commute for hours to do the same—so they would benefit more from a hybrid schedule. This brings us to our next point.
Hybrid-remote work offers flexible hours, which can be a significant advantage for those with family or other commitments. Even for those without– a hybrid workplace is very attractive.
97% of employees from a Buffer study said they would recommend remote work to others. And 97% said they would like to work remotely for the rest of their careers for at least some time.
So no wonder that having work mode flexibility will also contribute to job satisfaction.
13. Job enrichment
In an ideal world, you'd be expanding your business and promoting your employees at an alarming rate. That's not practical, but you still have to avoid dissatisfied employees, which is where job enrichment comes in.
Job enrichment is when you expand the scope of existing duties or offer opportunities for further development.
➡️ Read more about job enrichment in our dedicated article. Plus, we've included five tips for your job enrichment strategy.
💡 11 Strategies to drive job satisfaction in your business
We've given you the ingredients. Now we'll share 11 strategies for driving employee job satisfaction.
1. Be realistic and transparent with your expectations
Imagine walking into a party. You don't know the host or any of the other attendees. As a result, you awkwardly stand around, wondering: What am I supposed to do here?
Your employees experience the office equivalent of this when you fail to set expectations and clearly outline expectations.
While setting expectations may seem like a no-brainer to you, Gallup found almost 50% of employees faced this problem at work.
2. Recognize good work
We've said it before, and we'll say it again—recognition is the easiest way to let your employees know they're on your radar. This is especially important in a large company, where everyone can be reduced to a job title.
There are several ways you can recognize good work, such as:
- verbally praising employees for a job well done,
- sending them a handwritten note, or
- increasing PTO days.
The key is to be specific with your praise. Simply dropping a good job without context will not help anyone.
3. Focus on the long term
Everything from benefits to development needs to be something you can continue doing long-term.
Tip #1: Don't spend the annual budget on giving your employees expensive benefits for a few months—then leave them high and dry when you're tapped out.
Tip #2: Instead, look for a consistent, fiscally realistic system that does a decent job motivating your employees.
In all honesty, increasing your employees' PTO days will energize them more than getting them on an expensive company gym plan.
4. Keep communication active
Good communication can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflict.
Here's how you can get started with this:
- Encourage employees to share their ideas.
- Encourage seniors to either coach employees, be mentors, or offer feedback.
- Hold regular meetings to allow employees to give feedback and ask questions.
5. Prioritize employee well-being
Employees are more likely to get sick when stressed, leading to increased absenteeism and lower productivity.
There are many ways to improve employee well-being, such as:
- Healthcare and wellness programs;
- Flexible work arrangements;
- Normalizing rest days and mental health care.
6. Offer opportunities for learning
You can upskill your employees:
- On the job;
- With specific, work-related courses.
We recommend both avenues. Workshops and courses can help employees develop new skills and knowledge. On-the-job training creates a culture of constant learning.
Tip #1: Encourage your employees to experiment and take risks to learn new things on the job.
Tip #2: Don't exclusively focus on formal learning; allow employees to learn in the flow of work.
7. Give feedback often
Whether praising a job well done or offering constructive criticism, regular feedback lets your employees know that you value their work. Plus, you will also show that you are invested in their success.
Tip: When you successfully integrate feedback into your workplace culture, it feels less like criticism and more like helpful input.
8. Measure engagement frequently
The only way to know if your strategies are working is by measuring them—and engagement is the most tell-all metric there is. Why?
Since engagement is something employees mainly focus on after their basic needs at work have been met, an increase in engagement signals an increase in satisfaction.
Similarly, improved engagement signals that the employee experience has also improved.
There are many ways to measure employee engagement, pulse and employee engagement surveys being two of the most effective.
- Pulse surveys are short, anonymous surveys you can send out regularly to gauge how employees feel.
- Employee engagement surveys are more in-depth, offering valuable insights into what drives workplace satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).
Tip #1: You can also create a job satisfaction survey. We've rounded up nine essential tips and 56 sample questions to help you get started.
Regular surveys will tell you what's working and what isn't, without which your strategies are as good as guesswork.
Tip #2: Make an employee engagement action plan once you have collected data.
9. Foster connections at work
There are a number of ways to foster connections at work, but some of the most effective include:
- Providing opportunities for socializing.
- Encouraging employees to share their ideas and opinions.
- Creating a "community" feel within the workplace.
Encouraging co-worker connections is especially important in a remote-first environment.
You can use Zavvy to automatically connect your colleagues for casual meetups, meaningful conversations, or walking meetings. For greater team spirit, productivity, and satisfaction at work.
➡️ Explore our connection program templates gallery. You'll access real Zavvy journeys that team Zavvy uses weekly.
10. Provide a clear career path
No one wants to do the same thing with no monetary increase forever. So telling employees what their future roles will be if they play their cards right can look something like this:
Content Writer > Strategist > Editor > Content Manager.
➡️ Discover 12 tips for enabling career growth in your workforce.
Have a good look at the rate of turnover. For example, how many years do employees usually stay with you? If this number is five years, aim to promote within three years.
Let your employees know this too, so they know what they're working towards. Your employee might move on to another company while you wait for their secret promotion.
Tip: Create a clear career progression framework for your employees.
11. Empower employees with autonomy
Research from the American Psychological Association has shown that employee participation in decision-making improves job satisfaction.
When employees feel like they have a say in how things get done, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
The impact of employee empowerment on job satisfaction is vital because it can help to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility for the business.
➡️ Keeping employees satisfied is People Ops' Job #1. Let Zavvy help you
Development and feedback are two essential ingredients to enhancing job satisfaction.
Zavvys' employee development software helps you reach company goals faster by:
- Teaching your employees valuable skills in a bright, fun, and motivating environment.
- Customizing development plans according to your employee's career goals and role requirements (role cards).
- Letting employees and managers alike track progress, just like an online course.
- Linking feedback to development conversations, making it actionable.
Feedback can be messy and, if not done well, can offend and pull down your star performers. So, creating a culture that makes giving and receiving feedback easy is essential.
With Zavvy's 360 feedback solution, you can customize and automate the feedback-gathering process in just a few clicks. No more endless email exchanges, no more forms, and spreadsheets.
Reach out to find out how we can help you drive employee job satisfaction. Book a free 30 minutes demo right away.