“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
~Anne M. Mulcahy~
What comes to mind when you think of business success? Improving the bottom line? Cutting costs while increasing profits? Those are important, but no business is successful for long without good, talented employees who are happy to come to work and do their best every day. Below are ways to focus on improving employee satisfaction – and increasing your business’ success and profitability at the same time:
1. Value your employees – in every way.
Did you ever have a boss who was quick to praise for a job well done – but stingy with benefits and pay? Actions always speak louder than words, and while current finances may not always permit you to pay top dollar, pay as much as you can based upon company profitability. In other words, the employee who toils five days or more a week to help make your company a success deserves to be recognized for that effort with praise and with benefits and pay commensurate with performance. Fair pay for work done is one of the best ways to improve employee satisfaction, and it’s also simply fair.
2. Create a culture of true camaraderie.
Of course, your first priority each day is to get business done and make your company successful. To do that, though, it’s important to have fun once in a while too, as colleagues. Schedule office parties occasionally where all employees are invited to bring their spouse/significant other and children, too. Acknowledge birthdays with a 15-minute impromptu party. Don’t frown upon spontaneous wiffleball games in the hallway; in fact, why not join in? Improving employee satisfaction means letting your hair down once in a while – prudently – and allowing your employees do the same.
3. Celebrate victories together.
All too often, companies reward management with big bonuses and lots of recognition, but overlook the accomplishments of lower-level employees, some of whom may have significantly contributed to management’s successes. That’s not fair, and employees (rightly) resent that. Instead, whenever your company has a big victory, celebrate together. Schedule a company lunch, or have a little party. Recognize your entire team – everyone. Recognition is a central component of improving employee satisfaction.
4. Be a part of your local community.
One of the best ways to create a cohesive work environment is to become a part of the local community. Connect with your community as a group, and give back to it. Get involved in community service as a company. Investigate what particular needs your community has. Serve Thanksgiving dinner at the local homeless shelter, or volunteer to participate in a cancer walk as a company team. Getting out of the work environment and rolling up your sleeves together toward a shared goal brings cohesiveness to your group that continues back at the office. Breaking out of everyday roles outside of the office can go a long way toward improving employee satisfaction in the office as well.
5. Encourage open communication.
Don’t just say you want to foster open communication; do it. If your employees don’t feel they can talk to management, they won’t; resentments will fester, and productivity and employee morale will fall.
Communication starts with you. Tell your employees how they’re doing, and encourage them to talk to you about how you are doing, too. This isn’t about insubordination, by the way. Don’t take the attitude that because you’re the boss, you’re naturally untouchable. If something’s wrong with the way the company is being run or the way people are being treated, employees should be able to tell you about it. If you’re a large company, you may not know that there may be a particular problem with lower management unless you’re told – and you won’t be if employees can’t speak up.
Communication shouldn’t just be about problems that need to be fixed, either. Your employees comprise your own rich brain trust that can help your company, products, or services become better. Encourage employees to share their ideas and reward them for those you use. When employees are heard and valued, improving employee job satisfaction won’t be a chore you “must do.” It will simply happen.
About the author: Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy, a leader in connecting their candidates with school-based PT jobs and early intervention service jobs.
Do you need happier employees? For tips, help, and coaching on improving the satisfaction of your employees contact Joel.
Talkback: What steps have you taken to increase the morale at your office? What has worked best… or failed spectacularly?
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Stop Hemorrhaging Dollars as your Employees Walk Away from their Jobs:
A study in employee retention
“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”
~ Anthony Robbins ~
Gordon worries about the high cost of employee turnover. He’s been going through the bottom line and adding up the millions of dollars it’s costing his company to recruit, replace and train new workers.
Additionally, he’s concerned about the indirect costs-customer dissatisfaction, quality control issues, loss of expertise and corporate knowledge, and loss of business opportunities.
He knows that employee turnover affects the job satisfaction of the remaining employees and that high turnover tarnishes the image of the whole company.
Gordon decided to study employee retention. What is it that makes employees stay or go?
He read three separate studies about employee retention:
1. Organizational Culture and Employee Retention by John E. Sheridan of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
This six year study looked at the various organizational cultures in six public accounting firms. The study determined that the culture of a company played an important role in whether employees stayed or left. The costs of a toxic company culture resulted in over six million dollars in employee turnover.
Gordon stopped to analyze his company’s culture. Did it encourage thought, freedom, and innovation? Were there areas that had a more repressive management style? Were his teams working well together with a healthy sense of competition, or where conflicts reducing performance and job satisfaction?
2. Family Responsive Policies and Employee Retention Following Childbirth by Jennifer L. Glass of the University of Iowa and Lisa Riley from Creighton University.
This study showed that “several employer policies significantly decreased job attrition.” The biggest factor was the length of leave available for childbirth. Another significant factor was the ability to avoid overtime when the leave was over. Also helpful were supervisor and coworker social support.
Gordon evaluated his company. He has many women in all levels of the company. He considered that men, too benefited from family time for emergencies and aged parents.
He checked to see how much leeway the company could offer his employees for family leave. Could they cross train so that time off for childbirth could be maximized and perhaps flex time for a period after? He recognized that the alternative might be losing that valuable talent.
He also noted that mandatory overtime was a strong contributing factor to lack of employee retention in this study.
3. Targeted employee retention: Performance-based and job-related differences in reported reasons for staying by John P. Hausknecht, Julianne Rodda, and Michael J. Howard
This study found the most frequent reasons for staying at a job were: “job satisfaction, extrinsic rewards, constituent attachments, organizational commitment, and organizational prestige.” High performers were more influenced by advancement opportunities and organizational prestige. Hourly employees were more likely to stay because of extrinsic rewards.
Gordon noted the difference between the successful methods of retaining workers in this study. And he wondered if this pattern held true for his employees. He decided it would be most accurate if he compiled his own employee retention study.
He had HR organize questionnaires, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and exit studies to give an accurate picture of why his workers chose to stay or go.
The result for Gordon was that turnover dropped over 50%. The image of his company as a worker friendly place made recruitment easier. And productivity and customer satisfaction increased.
For ways to check with your employees and study what your most effective retention tools are, contact joel.
Talkback: Has your company studied employee retention? What policies or benefits do they have in place to keep their workers?
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“Champions don’t become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. If you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at his daily routine”
~ John Maxwell ~
Some people slog through life thinking, This is as good as it gets. They put in hours, take their paycheck, and find joy someplace else.
It doesn’t have to be that way for you. There’s a way you can find satisfaction in your current place of employment. You won’t stay in the same spot. Instead, I’ll show you four quick ways to take your career to another level while sticking with the security of your current employer.
- Write your dream job description.
- Find areas in your current job that match your dream job
- Look to add value around you
- Delegate the dregs
1. Write your dream job description. Everyone deserves to go to work with eagerness and delight at what they day will bring. They should work from their strengths and core values. Fulfillment comes when you feel you are making a meaningful difference.
The first step to create your dream job is to define what it is—and what it is not. Sometimes this is harder than you think! Then a career coach can help you find those insights and core values that motivate you to succeed.
If you don’t know what makes you happy, you’ll have a hard time defining your ideal job. So take time to carefully study what your strengths are and what you’d like to spend the majority of your time doing.
2. Find areas in your current job that match your dream job. Look at your current responsibilities. Which ones do you enjoy doing? Which types of responsibilities fit with your dream job description?
These are the ones you want to expand on. Look for ways to increase the amount of time you spend on these jobs. Perhaps a co-worker hates the very work you love. You could look at taking on some of that added responsibility. As you work to your strengths, you will shine.
3. Look to add value around you. Because you are skilled in your “dream areas,” you have a nice level of expertise in them. Continue to grow that expertise. Be available to take on extra work in that area. Because it’s fun for you and you enjoy it, it won’t feel like work.
Because you are eager to assume that responsibility, you’ll earn the gratitude and recognition of your bosses. You may become the go-to person for that area of the work. More work will come your way, and soon, you’ll have merged into your dream career.
Your added value will make it easy to then ask for the pay you want.
4. Delegate the Dregs. You also want to look at the parts of your job you hate. Find an honorable way to do less of them. Because every person has different strengths and skills, one of your co-workers may love that job. Look for ways to trade jobs so you can get the ones you love and your co-workers take from you the ones you hate.
Sometimes just getting rid of the worst jobs can help you love your job more—especially if it frees up time for those projects you love.
As you take these four steps, you can morph your current job into your dream job. Write your dream job description. Expand your value to the company by sharing your strengths and delegating jobs you don’t like. Get the satisfaction you deserve.
Joel’s career coaching opens up opportunities to discover your strengths and find or create your dream job. Take that next step in your career today! Find joy in your work now. Email Joel and learn how to find your dream job—or even how to change your current job into that dream job.
Talkback: How have you moved into your areas of strength? Have you ever given some of the jobs you hated to someone who liked them? What tips can you give others to change their job for the better?
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