The COVID years were bound to affect employees’ perceptions about their jobs at some level. And it’s really happening. A survey in India earlier this year found that over 60% of respondents were “seriously thinking” of reprioritising their jobs in favour of other life priorities. A more recent study in the US showed that job satisfaction is at a 20-year low, with younger workers (‘zillennials’) being the most dissatisfied.
Clearly, people’s expectations from their careers and employers have changed. Leaders and organisations need to relearn how to improve employee satisfaction - and fast!
In order to increase and improve employee satisfaction, you first need to understand what drives it. How your employees feel about their work environment, leadership, the amount of responsibility and trust they are given, their salaries and benefits, and more.
The Pandemic Has Changed People’s Priorities
That the pandemic has caused workers to introspect is an understatement. As workers reassess what really matters to them, many people are quitting their jobs to take sabbaticals, start their own ventures, or simply to find jobs that give them a greater sense of balance.
Those who continued in their jobs aren’t unaffected either. Their expectations from their employers have increased. This shift in the employee-employer relationship has been often referred to as purpose over a paycheck, and it's one that leaders need to understand if they want to inspire success within their teams.
Before we look at ideas to improve employee satisfaction, let’s look at why it matters.
What is Employee Satisfaction, and Why Is It Important?
Employee satisfaction is a measure of how well employees feel their needs are being met at work. It's also known as employee engagement, job satisfaction, or simply happiness at work.
The key to employee satisfaction is to achieve a healthy balance between what an employee needs and what an employer provides.
For example, when pay is too low, employees may not be able to afford food or rent. When working conditions are unsafe or uncomfortable, employees can become stressed and unhappy at work. When there aren't enough opportunities for advancement or room for growth on the job, it can feel like there's no point in trying hard because nothing will change anyway.
For this reason, research shows that learning how to improve employee satisfaction can lead to:
- Lower absenteeism rates
- Increased productivity and quality of work
- Reduced employee turnover
- Improved workplace morale
- Remaining competitive in the job market
- Enhanced employee motivation
Best Practices to Improve Employee Satisfaction
Everyone knows that the key to a successful workplace is employee satisfaction, but there's a lot more to it than having your employees just like their jobs. To really keep workers satisfied, you need to be aware of some of the key factors that lead to job satisfaction in the first place.
There are many ways you can increase morale, but beware: not every solution is created equal. Here are some things you should do when it comes to learning how to improve employee satisfaction and keep them happy.
1. Create a positive work environment
Most workers spend an average of 8 hours a day (or more) at work. That's a lot of time and therefore it makes sense that they would want their jobs to be satisfying and enjoyable.
If you want your employees to feel motivated at work, you need to create a positive environment for them. That includes giving perks like healthy snacks at their desks, break rooms, daycare facilities for their kids, special employee discounts, and much more. There are tons of things you can do for your workers to make their in-office experience more satisfactory.
Also read: How To Improve Your Workplace Culture
2. Celebrate their achievements
Studies show that receiving recognition leads to an 84% increase in engagement (even when companies recognise small wins and efforts at work.)
By establishing a culture that celebrates individual achievements and emphasises development over performance management, businesses can ensure their employees feel valued for their contributions and engaged in their jobs.
Celebrating employee achievements will make them feel more valued by their company and their manager, which can lead to better performance and retention rates. Additionally, it can help boost employee engagement (which is important for any business).
Here are some ways to celebrate employee achievements:
1) Give them a personal thank-you email or handwritten note
2) Send flowers or gifts
3) Host a fun team event (e.g., happy hour, bowling night)
4) Offer them paid time off
3. Offer a healthy work-life balance
Another way to improve employee satisfaction is by giving them greater control over their time. Studies showed that during the pandemic people felt unable to maintain a strong connection with family, colleagues, and friends.
Maintaining effective work-life balance lets your staff concentrate on their personal lives while also dedicating time during business hours for tasks that require concentration.
Workers who feel they have a healthy work-life balance are more likely to be happy and productive, making it easier for you as an employer because you'll see fewer tardies, sick days and requests for vacation time.
Furthermore, if your employees are happy at home, they will be more motivated at work. This makes them much more eager candidates for opportunities within your company because they care about its success.
Try Manah's free emotional wellbeing assessment now!
4. Proactively support their mental health
At a time when mental health has been thrust into mainstream conversation, employers must be proactive about providing mental health support and awareness training to their workforce. This way, if employees have any issues they need support with, they feel comfortable seeking help.
If you don't already offer some sort of mental health services on-site, it might be time to consider starting up a programme, so your team is prepared for future challenges.
Providing opportunities for stress relief and promoting work-life balance are just a few ways that leaders can show they care—and hopefully boost employee satisfaction along with it.
It's also vital to monitor happiness levels on an ongoing basis through anonymous feedback surveys. Having an open line of communication with your workers is an essential step toward making sure everyone feels supported.
5. Provide a clear career growth roadmap
Don't just promise growth opportunities. Provide a clear roadmap to employees about what skills they need to master over time and how they will translate into their growth at your company.
Make sure you state concrete goals with plenty of details about what you want them to accomplish so that everyone is on the same page. Too many companies promise endless growth opportunities. The reality is no one wants unlimited growth; they want specific goals they know they can accomplish on a timeline.
As you can see there are several ways on how to improve employee satisfaction. The key is to constantly track how well your efforts to improve satisfaction are showing up in metrics like employee engagement, turnover rate, voluntary turnover rate, and absenteeism, among others. Consistently following through on your plan is the key to success in the long term.
At Manah Wellness, we provide innovative tools and professional support to dynamic startups, emerging businesses, and trusted brands. Browse our vast range of services and resources to support wellbeing and growth:
Wellbeing Ambassador Training Programme for Corporates
Wellbeing challenges for high-performance teams
Virtual onboarding best practices for 2022
Employee motivation strategies to maintain team morale