When it comes to improving employee satisfaction, most managers and companies will go out of their way to improve this crucial aspect of their business. Here, we will discuss some ways to improve your employee satisfaction at the office and find the best ways to retain the talent you’ve acquired and build their loyalty for your business.
What Is Employee Satisfaction?
Employee satisfaction, happiness, and engagement may be interchangeable terms for many managers. They are umbrella-terms covering many contributing factors such as recognition and rewards, payment, career pathing, workplace cohesion, healthy interpersonal relationships with co-workers, a sense of belonging, and coherent corporate culture.
If you look at recent employee satisfaction surveys, you will see that people want money less – as odd as it may seem for many executives – and prefer recognition for their hard work instead. Studies show that happy employees equal happy customers because motivated and engaged employees will genuinely and sustainably help your company grow. Data reveals that happy workers see up to 60% less turnover and absenteeism. Furthermore, they are the driving force of a company, as they also make customers more likely to come back to your business.
Nevertheless, most managers think that offering raises or bonuses from time to time will be enough to keep their people at the top of their potential. They cannot be more wrong. So let’s see a few ways to improve employee satisfaction in the workplace, so that your business thrives.
1. Implement Recognition and Reward Programs
According to a LinkedIn worldwide survey, 74% of job candidates desire a job where they feel their work matters. The same goes for the people who have already been working for the company for a while. Recognizing the efforts and merits of your team and rewarding them accordingly goes beyond bonuses and raises, however.
A well thought and mindfully implemented recognition and reward program should span a year and not be a one-time-only chore for the managers. Moreover, these programs should encompass multiple vital aspects:
- Public recognition, in the form of awards, commendations, certificates, or gifts;
- Private recognition, in the form of personal praise from a peer or a customer;
- Promotion, to show employees that you value them and trust them with even more responsibilities;
- Monetary awards, taking the shape of raises, bonuses, prizes, etc.
While most managers focus on the fourth aspect of the recognition and award program, Gallup’s data shows that employees consider that the most effective recognition is honest, authentic, and individualized.
One of the easiest ways to say “thank you for your hard work and dedication” to your employees in an authentic and personalized manner are corporate gifts. They make the perfect choice as the foundation for your recognition and reward program. They also speak about the company’s interest in building genuine relationships, thoughtfulness, and going the extra mile. You can choose from countless employee gift ideas and personalize them depending on the number of people you employ, their needs, preferences, values, and, of course, your company’s culture. Corporate gifts fit the bill when it comes to celebrating holidays and birthdays, company’s benchmarks, employees’ successes, and so on.
But, when it comes to corporate gifts for employees, keep in mind that one size does not fit all.
If you cannot buy a personal gift for each of your staff members, go for vouchers, gift cards, discounts, etc. Just make sure the handouts meet your employees’ needs, hobbies, and personalities.
Your reward program should also contain other types of rewards that do not necessarily translate into monetary benefits:
- a few days off,
- a teambuilding/company retreat,
- flexible hours,
- work from home,
- workspace improvements,
- an investment in your employees’ health,
- a trip, and so on.
If you want your employees to be productive, happy, and engaged, you should begin with a recognition and reward program. The latest studies show that almost half the employees consider that lack of praise and recognition is the biggest hindrance to their overall productivity and willingness to stay, so it is best to develop a robust program as soon as possible. Just make sure that you understand the difference between a sustainable reward program and merit pay/performance appraisal.
2. Make Routines More Bearable
No matter how challenging a position is, all jobs come with their grunt work and routines. If nothing changes for extended periods, people start feeling demotivated and become less productive. Breaking the grinde in the workplace is easy as long as you put your mind to it. According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, there are a handful of areas where you can improve employee satisfaction. Breaking the routines is just one of them. Here is what she suggests:
- Make small surprises to your employees; you can consider little, unexpected treats and gestures such as bringing in coffee and baked goods;
- Organize an office party or allow your employees to come up with a quirky holiday of their own and celebrate it together;
- Office giveaways also work well, along with impromptu small gifts of appreciation;
- Organize a competition with some gift cards or luxury vacation as a prize;
- Take your people out to lunch, etc.
All these ideas should not be expensive, but promote social interactions, break up the routines, and demonstrate your appreciation.
3. Promote Good Health
Considering that employees’ health comes with a high cost to employers, people’s health and wellbeing are not the responsibility of individuals anymore, but organizations as well. As we said above, when you build a reward and recognition program, your co-workers’ good health should be a priority, and a building block of your strategy. The promotion of health in the workplace can take a couple of routes:
- An educational component: organize seminars and workshops related to promoting healthy habits and lifestyles both in the workplace and at home;
- A practical part that is revolving around making changes in the workplace: in-office healthier food choices, frequent breaks during the workday, upgraded kitchen facilities for those following a particular diet, regular appointments with doctors and health practitioners at the office for discussions and feedback, etc.
- A rewarding component as part of your recognition program: discounted gym/spa memberships for the employees, yearly fitness programs for all employees as part of a charity your organization supports, etc.
Job satisfaction and health influence each other. According to research, job satisfaction is a crucial factor for employees’ health. Workers who are unhappy at work tend to show increased levels of stress, higher risk of burnout, and numerous health risks involving heart diseases, neurovascular accidents, and more. On the other hand, poor health is a crucial negative factor that influences productivity, attention, engagement, and job results as a whole. Unhappy people are unhealthy, and unhealthy people are unhappy. With this in mind, promoting health at the workplace is a serious matter that all executives should add to their human resource strategies.
You will find many concepts under the umbrella of “employee satisfaction” that you can address in a multitude of ways. From implementing a robust reward package to reducing bureaucracy and time-wasting in the workplace, you can devise plenty of plans and programs. All you need to do is look at these matters honestly: do you care about your employees/customers’ satisfaction? Is turnover a problem for your organization? Are you willing to take the extra step to improve happiness at the office, so your company thrives through its human resources?