Most businesses understand that in order to succeed, they must hire talented employees who will commit themselves to the organization and its goals. However, the process of talent management merely begins when promising candidates accept their employment offers: organizations then must struggle to retain their strongest performers and maximize the potential of each employee. Fostering employee satisfaction in the workplace is clearly important for retention, but research indicates that employee happiness is also a strong driver of better business outcomes.
A Gallup study found that employees’ feelings about a company and perceptions of their working conditions predict future measures, such as the company’s sales, profits, and customer loyalty. This relationship is not one of mere correlation: the study indicated that employees’ levels of satisfaction had a direct impact on the organization’s success. Other research demonstrates that people experiencing positive emotions are more likely to come up with creative ideas, solve problems, and be more productive.
What makes a happy employee? While attractive compensation packages certainly contribute to job satisfaction, research indicates that salary is not the most important factor. Organizations should consider implementing the following policies in order to improve employee retention and business outcomes through a more content workforce:
• Establish clear goals and keep them central to all that the organization does. When employees at all levels understand the organization’s goals, values, and mission and how their work supports these objectives, they will feel a sense of purpose and be more engaged with the organization.
• Provide frequent feedback, offering guidance as to how employees may improve and recognizing their accomplishments. Millennials in particular thrive on regular feedback and like to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. While annual reviews are important for creating a formal record of employees’ performance, informal feedback on an ongoing basis will bolster workers’ confidence and sense of security in their positions.
• Foster respect and trust between employees at all levels. In its 2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) identified respectful and trustful treatment of all employees as the most influential factor contributing to job satisfaction. In order to cultivate these qualities in the workplace, organizations must first optimize their recruitment processes so that they only hire trustworthy people. Among existing employees, managers should encourage open communication to provide all employees a chance to express their ideas.
• Provide plenty of opportunities for employee learning and development. If employees know that their companies believe in their potential and are willing to invest in them, they will feel valuable and be more committed to the company. Furthermore, learning opportunities stimulate employees and ward off boredom and complacency.
• Entrust employees with interesting and challenging work that offers them the chance to apply their skills and abilities. This may require granting them some autonomy to perform their duties in their own ways, but employees will ultimately feel more accomplished and accountable for their work as a result.
• Offer competitive compensation and benefits. Fair compensation packages are undoubtedly critical to attracting and retaining top candidates, but in today’s talent landscape, recruiters should think beyond the salary offered. Job-seekers are attaching an increasing degree of importance to benefits such as health insurance, generous maternity and paternity leave, flexible work schedules, and work-from-home options.
(Sources: https://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/02/employee_happiness_matters_more_than_you_think.html, https://pps.sagepub.com/content/5/4/378.abstract, https://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/12-0537%202012_jobsatisfaction_fnl_online.pdf, https://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/2015-Job-Satisfaction-and-Engagement-Report.pdf).
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