What’s Key to Improve Employee Satisfaction and Engagement?

Think your employees are satisfied with their jobs and their career development opportunities? According to the 2011 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Research Report, published by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), they are and they aren’t.

SHRM reports, from the results of their employee satisfaction survey, that 83% of employees are satisfied with their jobs but only 43% of them are happy with their career development opportunities: “SHRM’s new research showed that 83 percent of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current jobs. Although declining slightly since 2009, the percent of satisfied employees hasn’t changed significantly in the last 10 years,” Schmit [Mark Schmit, SHRM’s vice president for research] noted. “In general, people find ways to be satisfied at work.”

I’ve consolidated for you the SHRM survey results and their implications for the workplace. Most importantly, this data defines the factors that are most important to employees as you continue to seek to provide a workplace that emphasizes employee satisfaction and employee engagement as recruiting, motivation, and retention tools. Use the SHRM data to your best advantage. It tells you what’s important to employees to increase their job satisfaction and engagement.

Top 10 Contributors to Employee Job Satisfaction

Employees identified these factors as their top 10 most important contributors to their job satisfaction.
•Job security: 63%, for the fourth consecutive year, as the top most important determinant of job satisfaction. (67% of employees are very satisfied or satisfied with their job security.)
•Opportunities to Use Skills and Abilities: 62%. (74% are satisfied or very satisfied in their workplace.)
•Organization’s Financial Stability: 55%. (63% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Relationship with Immediate Supervisor: 55%. (73% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Compensation: 54%. (61% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Benefits: 53%. (65% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Communication between Employees and Senior Management: 53% (54% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•The Work Itself: 53%. (76% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Autonomy and independence: 52%. (69% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Management’s Recognition of Employee Performance: 49%. (57% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Feeling Safe at Work: 48%. (78% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Overall Corporate Culture: 46%. (60% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Flexibility for Work-Life Balance: 38%. (65% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
•Relationships with Coworkers: 38%. (76% are satisfied or very satisfied.)

SHRM Reports that Benefits which had been in the top two contributors to job satisfaction since 2002, slipped to fifth place. Relationship with immediate supervisor is new this year to the list of top five most important job satisfaction contributors. Among SHRM’s other results: Chance for career advancement (36%) has been declining since 2002. Coaching, mentoring, and succession planning are less important in companies with less than 100 employees.

18 Employee Engagement Conditions

Employee engagement, according to the SHRM report, is more likely to occur when certain conditions exist. Employers can maximize employee engagement via improving these factors. The percentages indicate the overall satisfaction of employees with the listed condition of engagement. The items are listed in order from the employee survey results: most satisfied to least satisfied with the condition in their organization.
•The work itself: 76%
•Relationships with co-workers: 76%
•Opportunities to use skills and abilities: 74%
•Relationship with immediate supervisor: 73%
•Contribution of work to organization’s business goals: 71%
•Autonomy and independence: 69%
•Meaningfulness of job: 69%
•Variety of work: 68%
•Organization’s financial stability: 63%
•Overall corporate culture: 60%
•Management’s recognition of employee job performance: 57%
•Job-specific training: 55%
•Communication between employees and senior management: 54%
•Organization’s commitment to professional development: 54%
•Networking: 49%
•Organization’s commitment to corporate social responsibility: 49%
•Career development opportunities: 48%
•Career advancement opportunities: 42%

With the percentages noted in both the satisfaction portion of the survey results and the engagement aspects of the survey, employers have some work to do to fully satisfy and, especially, engage employees. Note that four aspects of employee career and professional development fall in the bottom seven for employee satisfaction:

•Job-specific training
•Organization’s committment to professional development
•Career development opportunities
•Career advancement opportunities

Sorce: About.com, Sara M. Heathfield, January 2012
Read more about Sara M. heathfield here
Read about strategic staff surveys by 3S here

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