Employee satisfaction and the five fundamentals to achieving it

Did you know that over four million Americans have quit their jobs so far in 2021? At the end of July 2021, there were a record-breaking 10.9 million available jobs in the United States. Job openings have been so high since the start of 2021 that this short blip in history has received a name—The Great Resignation.

It seems impossible to maintain talent at a time like this—to reel in the best of the best and then keep them around long enough to truly add value to your organization. It’s a time where employers have to consider what value their company adds to an employee’s life and consider the difficult but important question, “What do we need to change in our organization to improve employee satisfaction?”

While there are certainly various ways to increase employee satisfaction, we are sharing with you five of the most beneficial tips. These five principles may just be the secret sauce your organization needs to get you back on track in building a valuable team.

1. Actions support values

Your company values may state something about valuing collaboration, innovation, and healthy company culture. But ask yourself, does our company actually value what it states that it does? Do your actions support your values? If your company, quote-on-quote, values innovation, do you allow your employees to share innovative thoughts, to bring unique ideas and perspectives to meetings, to have open conversations with managers about approaching problems with new solutions? 

If your company values a positive work environment, do your employees feel empowered to be themselves in the office? Does your organization promote the use of time off and mental health? Do your managers care about the personal lives of his or her employees in addition to his or her professional careers? Or, do you instead band-aid your “positive work environment” with a mental health day (or even week) off here or there? 

If your company doesn’t live its values every day, it doesn’t make sense to even have written values. Because the truth of the matter is that these values are not values unless embedded in everything you do. And similarly, there is very little you can do to improve employee satisfaction until this very important issue is resolved. In other words, if you don’t do this step properly, then steps 2-5 won’t matter.

2. Curate company rituals

Surprisingly, it’s far less beneficial to brush your teeth for 28 minutes once every seven days than to commit four minutes a day to brush your teeth. Why? Because even if the 28 minutes in one day equals 28 minutes spread across a week, your teeth are going to decay significantly faster in the latter example than in the former. Shocking, right? (not really)

However, the same is true when it comes to your company. While you may think that your mental wellness day/week or your workshop on diversity is doing a lot to change your company, these efforts cannot stand alone. Your organization must work to build a positive work environment every single day.

That said, taking a ritual approach is much more effective in developing employee satisfaction than one-off events and programs. A ritual, defined as an act that is regularly repeated, creates intention—the intention of thought, intention of action, and intention of culture. So, just like you would never brush your teeth just once a week, don’t expect one single (or even once annual) effort to change the face of your company forever. Employee satisfaction must be approached consistently and regularly to truly make a difference in the lives of your employees.

3. Ask for employee feedback

Becoming friends with a person requires dialogue, but not just dialogue—it requires asking each other questions. How can you truly know a person if you do not first understand where they come from, what experiences have shaped their life the most, and even how they take their coffee.

The same is true of your employees—while it may be less relevant to know the inner thoughts of their heart, it is exponentially more important to understand their optimal work environments, how they learn and communicate, how they prefer to receive feedback from managers, etc. 

While we have access to more information today than ever before, pulling generalized statistics and making employee-wide decisions on them doesn’t mean anything if that data is not specific to your people. So, in short, it’s simple—ask for employee feedback consistently.

4. Propose a solution to feedback

Once you’ve received that feedback, respond to it. Consider it. Make changes based on it. If your employees feel uncomfortable opening up to their managers and having meaningful dialogue, consider ways to improve that process for your employees. Perhaps it requires additional training for your managers to teach them how to have meaningful conversations regularly. Maybe this looks like having employee-wide workshops in which you discuss company-wide communication.

Implementation of feedback will look vastly different from company to company. That’s because your company is made up of a unique group of individuals. And the needs of your individuals are completely different from the company that shares a parking lot with you. So, once you’ve surveyed your people as to what needs to change, propose a solution, and follow through with it.

5. Communicate success

Then rinse, wash, and repeat. Success will come as your organization continually practices this process. Like many things in life, improving employee satisfaction evolves and never truly has an end. Find the pattern that works best for your organization and execute on it. And when your team has done a good thing, communicate that to your people. Before you know it, you’ll have significantly less turnover than before.

Stuck on how to improve employee satisfaction?

We hear you. It can be incredibly difficult to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your organization to improve employee satisfaction. While you can certainly tackle this on your own, we recommend scheduling a call with our team for a leadership assessment. In this consultation, we will help you determine what’s missing to improve employee satisfaction and what you are already doing right. Reach out to our team today to make this magic happen.


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