Measuring and increasing employee satisfaction is one important way Human Resources professionals help build a corporate culture that enhances retention. One visit to an online employer review websites like Glassdoor or FairyGodBoss demonstrates the powerful relationship between employee satisfaction and turnover. Studies show companies that receive higher employee satisfaction ratings on Glassdoor perform better financially than companies with lower reported job satisfaction.

Employers are seeking answers about how to increase job satisfaction. Let’s define employee satisfaction and then review five ways that successful organizations increase work satisfaction.

What is job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction, or employee satisfaction, refers to how content an employee is in the job they presently have, including how well they like the tasks they perform and how satisfied they are with their supervisors. According to SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report, these are the top five factors that contribute to employee job satisfaction:

  1. Being treated with respect

  2. Adequate pay

  3. Trust between employees and executives

  4. Job security

  5. Opportunities to use skills and abilities

Is employee satisfaction the same as engagement?

Employee satisfaction shares many similarities to employee engagement, but Gallup cautions the two concepts are not quite interchangeable. An employee can be satisfied (contented) without being fully engaged in the work they are doing. While “both employee engagement and employee satisfaction relate to meaningful outcomes,” Gallup says satisfaction is a broader term and some facets of satisfaction do not relate well to performance, however, employee engagement predicts job satisfaction and correlates with many desirable business outcomes.

Psychologist Frederick Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory posits that engagement is dependent on two sets of factors–motivation factors such as challenging work and employee recognition and hygiene factors such as compensation and benefits, job security, and working conditions. Hygiene factors are prerequisites for job satisfaction and retention. Motivation factors are what drive up engagement.

How to increase job satisfaction

When employees experience work satisfaction, they are less likely to look for other employment. Here are five ways employers can help ensure job satisfaction for their employees:

1. Make work meaningful

The majority of employees report being more satisfied and productive when they do work they believe is both meaningful and significant. Millennials and Gen Z employees place a particularly high value on feeling like their work has a higher purpose and an impact on business objectives. A survey by The Energy Company and Harvard Business Review found that employees who “derive meaning and significance from their work” reported 1.7 times greater job satisfaction and were three times as likely to be retained than employees who found work less-than-meaningful.

2. Invest in training and professional development

Employees are more satisfied if they have the tools and skills to perform their jobs well. Employees should be able to tell you’re investing in them from their first day of onboarding throughout their career with the company. Provide training and technology that helps employees excel, and don’t just focus on the current job. Start a dialogue about career development and support employee aspirations for professional development.

3. Provide adequate compensation

Money may not be the most important driver of employee satisfaction, but companies who do not pay competitively will face difficulties with retention of top performers. A recent survey by Payscale revealed compensation to be the top reason most employees quit; 25% of employees who quit said they wanted higher pay. It is difficult for poorly paid employees to remain satisfied, even when they enjoy a great company culture and interesting work.

4. Give employees flexibility and autonomy

Giving employees flexibility over when, where and how they accomplish their objectives can go a long way toward job satisfaction. This might involve setting up a flexible schedule, allowing remote work, or simply telling employees they are free to pursue their own solutions or projects. Working in an agile company has been shown to improve employee satisfaction.

5. Recognize employees

Most employees would prefer to receive praise and recognition for work-related achievements than to receive a gift. Recognition for a job well done is essential for long-term satisfaction.

Bolster job satisfaction to improve retention

With high levels of employee satisfaction, organizations can strengthen retention and engagement. Work satisfaction starts with a foundation of hygiene factors, including pay and job security, and is strengthened by motivation factors such as finding meaning and recognition in work. Asure Software offers workforce technology solutions and consulting services that can help your organization measure and increase employee satisfaction and engagement.

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