Over the last decade or so, employee satisfaction rates have jumped; reports from 2016 state that nearly 88 percent of employees are “overall satisfied” at work. To many employers, this may signal a time to relax.
If so many employees are content, why worry? Well, for a few reasons:
- Lack of insight into levels of contentment. The survey included any employee who was “overall satisfied” in that 88 percent. There are certainly different levels of contentment, and it’s not a given that all 88 percent of those employees are actually happy about coming to work each day; they’re just not disgruntled.
- Consider group size. What about the other 12 percent? At first glance, it may seem like 12 percent doesn’t matter much. But think about your workforce. How many people make up 12 percent? If you have 100 employees, that’s 12 people who are not happy at work – and you may want to find out why.
- Many professionals are actively searching for new jobs. Though 88 percent are satisfied, 51 percent of employees reported that they’re actively searching for another job. Something doesn’t add up here.
So, how can you be sure that your employees are satisfied? Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to tell, but there are certain methods that can leave your mind at ease.
1. Establish a Benchmark
Statistics on employee retention rates and turnover rates are great places to start. If you have high turnover and low retention, you know something is amiss. Establish benchmarks to measure these off of.
2. Ask Your Employees
What is the easiest way to find out if employees are satisfied? Asking them. Of course, if you ask an employee directly if they’re happy at work, most of them will say “yes,” even if that’s a lie. Instead, you can give informal, anonymous surveys asking for specific feedback. To ensure that employees respond, you can offer incentives for doing so.
Be conscious of employee concerns. If an employee comes to you with a request or concern, listen up. You may think they are alone, but it’s likely that other employees share similar thoughts.
Weekly one on one meetings open the door to gaining regular feedback from employees to their managers.
3. Learn Through Observation
If the methods above don’t sound feasible, you may just want to pay attention. You may be amazed at what you hear if you keep an ear to the ground at all times. Many employers learn about employee satisfaction by continuing to:
- Watch for employee referrals. If your employees are referring their friends as applicants for job postings, that’s usually a sign of a positive work culture.
- Look at interpersonal relationships among your employees. Do they get along? Do they make plans together outside of work? Do they chat at work and during breaks, or do they mostly keep to themselves?
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