What is it that the modern-day employee wants most from their job? Whether you’re a HR manager or a CEO, if you’re in a position to influence company culture and haven’t yet asked yourself this question then you’ve forgotten the most important ingredient in your company’s recipe for success – employee job satisfaction.
One of the most serious concerns of today’s businesses – perhaps particularly so for newer enterprises such as tech start-ups – is brain drain. Losing company talent causes disruption, can harm company morale and adversely affects innovation and creativity in an organisation as its top-performers leave for greener pastures.
A common mistake is to assume that high employee retention is a natural by-product of high salaries. While a healthy financial package may be enough to initially attract an employee to a company, it is rarely what keeps them there over the long term and is almost never what keeps them at their most engaged and productive.
So what does?
The answer is simple: job satisfaction. What’s a bit trickier is successfully combining the elements that help to achieve it.
One of the latest buzzwords (or buzz-terms, if you prefer!) being used as shorthand for this combination of elements is “Emotional salary”. While it might sound like something you’d expect to hear at a New Age retreat, it still does a good job of differentiating more deep-seated employee needs from purely financial incentives.
5 Ways to Improve Job Satisfaction?
There is a proven correlation between employee engagement and organisational performance. That’s what’s at stake for companies. Studies also show that countries with more engaged employees also have a lower mortality rate. That’s what’s at stake for a company’s employees.
Emotional salary therefore refers to the different ways a company can affect a sense of wellbeing in employees and allow for greater personal and professional development and productivity. So let’s take a look at the 5 key areas:
1. A Clear Sense of Purpose
Everyone likes to feel wanted. Employees who are made to feel that their work is making a difference to their department, organisation or customers are more likely to stay motivated and enjoy what they do.
2. Opportunities for Development
In a piece for the World Economic Forum, Jonas Prising, the CEO and Chairman of global HR consulting powerhouse Manpower Group wrote:
“In a world of greater technological disruption and shorter business cycles, the job for life model is dead. Instead, Millennials are focused on developing the skills to move on or up regardless of who they work for. Recognizing they will likely work longer careers than their parents, 79% of Millennials said the opportunity to learn new skills is an important factor to them when deciding where to apply for work. Seventy-eight percent would switch jobs to learn new skills if the pay were comparable … 93% of Millennials see learning and skills development as a crucial part of their careers — they are even willing to spend their own time and money to upskill.” Who are we to argue?
3. Freedom is Fulfilment
Employees who feel like someone is constantly looking over their shoulder or checking and changing their work are more likely to feel constrained and unfulfilled. Having the freedom to work towards their goals using their own skills and initiative is a key part of developing confidence and competence. This doesn’t mean granting them complete autonomy, but it does mean that an organisation’s focus should be on giving them the right tools, feedback and guidance.
4. Consistent Company Values
Does your company truly value innovation? Does it really support talent development? Is it totally committed to the highest standards for its customers? In times of difficulty, a company’s values will be put to the test. If they don’t hold up, then its employees’ faith in its commitment to those core values will be broken. Remaining true to them in times of stress is just as important, and maybe even moreso, than it is in times of success.
5. Connection and Communication
Having a sense of connection with those you work with is another hugely important element of job satisfaction. Being able to communicate openly, share resources and work freely with fellow employees helps creates a an invaluable sense of community and purpose. It also means that a broader cross-section of skills will be utilised, leading to a reduction in costs and an increase in productivity.
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