Hundreds of thousands of workers across the United States wake up and go to work every day. Yet less than half of those workers report that they are satisfied with their jobs. According to Business Week, a mere one-third of American workers currently feel engaged with their job duties while they are at work.
In this country, employee job satisfaction nationwide has hit a record low — the lowest recorded since 1987. Yet even the most dissatisfied, disengaged workers continue to get up and go to work each day, day in and day out. What this means for the American employer is that companies today are only able to benefit from a small fraction of the full potential of their own workforce.
Disengaged, dissatisfied workers may show up and collect their paycheck, but they certainly do not feel motivated to give their best effort. However, on the positive side, this fact also represents a significant opportunity for employers to re-engage and re-energize their employees and reap the benefits in increased productivity and profitability.
Job Satisfaction Equals Profitability
Research highlights a clear link between satisfied employees and company profitability. When workers are not satisfied and engaged at work, their level of productivity, customer service, teamwork, reliability and contribution is lower. Conversely, engaged, satisfied employees take ownership of their job roles and ensure they are giving their all. This positively affects customer service, productivity, reliability, teamwork and ultimately, profitability.
6 Steps to Satisfied Employees
Luckily, it is easier to boost employee satisfaction and re-engage your workforce than to recruit, hire and train their replacements. These six steps are proven ways to help to boost productivity and job satisfaction.
Tie Performance to Profits
Performance-based pay is not a new concept, but it is still less widely used than its results might indicate. Tying an employee’s compensation directly to performance offers a level of engagement with daily job duties that a straight paycheck can never provide. Unmotivated workers will leave and true performers will redouble their efforts.
Make Work Fun Again
Holding contests, throwing employee get-togethers, rewarding top performers and celebrating holidays are all different ways to re-engage employees and make coming to work seem like fun again. Employees who feel connected to their co-workers and visible to their supervisors are more likely to step up their performance accordingly.
Create Opportunities for Learning and Growth
Offering employees the opportunity for continuing education and personal growth provides benefits to the company and to the employee — in other words, it is a win-win situation. Motivated employees will appreciate the chance to learn new skills and advance in their careers and will reward you with increased productivity and improved performance. You can also implement regular opportunities to seek employee feedback as a part of these learning sessions, and tailor future course offerings to your employees’ interests and career goals.
Ensure the Employee Fits the Corporate Culture
This is one of the more difficult facets of boosting employee satisfaction. Even the most skilled interviewers may not always be able to determine whether a new recruit will truly fit in with the corporate culture. For those who simply do not fit, they will likely be happier in a different job situation and their remaining co-workers more able to enjoy the corporate culture you provide.
Say “Thank You!”
Employees enjoy being thanked for their efforts. Sometimes these two simple words can do more to motivate a disgruntled or discouraged employee than any other tool you employ.
Finally, set a good example by being the kind of employee that you want your employees to be and by being the kind of leader your employees want to follow. Do what you say you are going to do, keep your employees well informed — in advance — about actions that may affect them directly, be willing to do what you ask others to do and teach your managers to manage by how you manage them. In this way, your trustworthiness will trickle down to positively impact every employee in your company.
With these six tools, you can transform even the most discouraged, disengaged workforce into a powerhouse team of productivity and profitability.
About the Author: Maria Palacios runs her family’s small business. Most of her employees have been with the company for a decade or more, and she credits this to a culture of mutual trust, profit sharing and sincere employee appreciation.