It’s not a secret that the most valuable asset of any company is its employees. At the core, they keep the organization afloat, doing nitty-gritty work and increasing the bottom line. What they think and feel about their job greatly matters, in terms of making the business successful.
Simply put, when team members are satisfied, you can expect an excellent performance that manifests in various ways: more clients, additional projects, and operations branching out to different locations, among others.
On the flip side, when they’re unhappy and unfulfilled, their productivity level takes a dip. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself receiving resignation letters left and right. So before this happens, strive to keep your best talents in the company. The main strategy? Improve employee morale and job satisfaction.
4 Factors That Influence Employee Morale and Job Satisfaction
It’s important to know what influences employees’ attitudes and behaviours when drawing up your plan to retain them. The fact is the people’s job satisfaction and morale are multi-faceted. The factors below determine the level of motivation your team members display in the workplace:
1. The Company Itself
This covers many aspects; the first is reputation. How the outside world perceives your company can make or break your team members’ motivation towards work. In general, employees who think they’re part of an organization with a good image will likely experience a sense of pride and confidence about their work. The opposite happens when they think your reputation is tainted.
The other factor is internal: how the team collectively perceives policies within your organization and how these would affect employees’ job satisfaction. The quality of job benefits and compensation can be strong, compelling reasons for members to stay or leave.
Another factor that falls under the internal aspect is the relationships among team members. Office drama–which can be triggered by factors such as untamed gossip or unclear roles and responsibilities–can create a hostile work environment. This can dampen the spirit in the office. On the other hand, synergy within the group can take the work stress away and help make coming to the office a delight.
2. The Nature and Manner of Work
The kind of job employees performs affects their attitude towards work. Ideally, what they’re doing should be matched with their strengths and skills. Otherwise, they could grow bored or uninterested over time.
Additionally, how they’re expected to deliver outputs can influence their satisfaction. Some people find fulfilment in getting the job done through collaboration, while others through individual work. An office that accommodates different kinds of work styles is more likely to keep employees happy.
3. Leadership Style
The way team members are managed can have tremendous impacts on their level of morale. Each person has specific preferences on how they’d like to be supervised; but, in general, workers want to feel that their managers trust them. This vote of confidence helps improve employee satisfaction. It creates a positive atmosphere in the office which, in turn, gives people more reasons to be productive.
Work-life balance is likewise a big factor. Since it’s the supervisor’s call to delegate tasks, it will determine whether or not employees can find time for other things in life. In the case of responsible managers, team members rarely experience getting overworked, if at all. In most instances, it’s one of those things that make people stay in an organization.
4. Employees’ Personal and Professional Needs
This refers to many different factors, the first being their own physical and mental health. In general, fit team members are more likely to endure the stressful work environment and find enjoyment in what they do.
Another most important factor in this aspect is the sense of personal achievement about your company vision. When employees see their place in the bigger picture, they feel like they’re part of something huge, which makes for a fulfilling feeling, and–ultimately–greater employee engagement.
How To Improve Employee Morale and Job Satisfaction
Given all the factors mentioned above, it’s easier now coming up with a plan on how to keep team members happy and combating demotivation in the workplace. About those points, below are some suggestions on how to improve job satisfaction:
In the company
1. Promote a Culture of Niceness
Again, job satisfaction and morale are influenced by your internal and external reputation. To give that image a boost, a culture of niceness can help. Niceness may be the last thing you’ll prefer when you’re in a cutthroat, aggressive business industry, but it doesn’t necessarily mean slowing progress down. Rather, it’s creating a positive work environment for everyone, where people honour, respect, and bear with one another, avoiding gossip, listening to suggestions for improvement, and making every effort to be of service to everyone.
The culture of niceness likewise translates into being a good Samaritan in the community, joining advocacies that fit the brand. With this kind of corporate life, employees feel safe inside the workplace; at the same time, they take pride in being a part of such.
2. Create Opportunities to Build Team Outside Work.
Again, relationships matter in planning how to improve employee satisfaction. While team members can surely get a chance to know each other more as they work, the rapport they build is different when they’re in a non-work setting–say, in a laid-back lunch-out or a challenging team-building activity. It’s your job to think of opportunities like that wherein everyone can form a tight bond. Include them in your brainstorming sessions.
3. Be Creative in the Employee Benefits You Offer
Go beyond the traditional health insurance and retirement savings plan. What else do your employees need and want? A student loan relief program, perhaps? A pet-friendly office?
Maybe you can arrange for mental health support initiatives or in-office wellness services. Some companies offer unlimited vacation leaves which interestingly motivate workers to do better. Expand your perspective in terms of offering employee benefits to achieving a more positive employee job satisfaction and morale.
On the Nature and Manner of Work
4. Put Employees in Best Jobs
“Best” means a state in which your employees can excel and shine. A smart manager knows who thrives in routine, specialized, and collaborative jobs, and puts the right people there. Understand your employees’ deepest strengths and talents to make this possible. Invest time in getting to know your team members. Streamline your hiring process, to make sure that jobs appropriately match applicants’ skills.
5. Include Flexible Work in Your Policy
Remember: what creates job satisfaction is not just the kind of work employees do, but how they do it. Here, the golden principle in keeping workers satisfied is to give them freedom. Freedom can take many forms.
In some companies, they allow flexible schedules, wherein members can come and go as they please, as long as they complete the required amount of working hours. It can also mean working three days per week but with longer hours.
In other organizations, they permit remote work. Employees can do their tasks wherever they prefer–at home, at a coffee shop, or even at a hotel near a beach. Consider including these in your policies, managing flexible work arrangements efficiently to improve job satisfaction and increase employee engagement.
6. Allocate Different Spaces for Different Work Styles in the Workplace
Your office design should accommodate both autonomous and collaborative work. Employees should be able to easily drop in at personal work stations, conference rooms, or huddle areas to accomplish their tasks. With their work supported, they can get the job done more efficiently, and–by extension–feel a sense of fulfilment.
On Leadership Style
7. Empower Employees to Make Good Judgment Calls in Their Job
There’s a genuine sense of positive job satisfaction and morale when team members have a sense of ownership over their work. One sure way to let them experience this is to empower them to make decisions on their own.
Imagine the confidence they’ll gain and the company loyalty they’ll develop when they’re the ones calling the shots on projects or strategies. Train them to be assertive in decision-making. Impart to them your overall goals and principles as a guide.
8. Launch a Mentoring Program
Take the training for sound decision-making up a notch by introducing mentors to employees. After all, the best way they can know what’s best for the organization is to learn from the people who know it already. With that, assign top executives in your company to be coaches to people you’re grooming to become future leaders.
These senior officials should help you craft the curriculum you’ll be following for the mentorship program. More importantly, they must be able to challenge mentees to go out of their comfort zone and take risks for greater success.
9. Open Lines of Communication
An open-door policy is beneficial in many respects. It allows you to get feedback on what’s happening on the ground, helping you make sound decisions on policies and strategies and develop trust among team members. When they’re encouraged through feedback, they get a sense that their leaders are reliable and responsive.
That said, reiterate in every meeting or interaction that you appreciate honest, transparent communication. Give your undivided attention to employees when they do come to you. This will, for sure, boost employee morale.
10. Show That You Care
Beyond opening communication lines, you should be able to express that you care for your employees. Take time to get to know them, not just their talents and skills that are relevant to your operations, but also personal subjects, like hobbies, life priorities, and family birthdays. In John Maxwell’s five levels of leadership, building rapport is key to solidifying trust in the management.
Ask workers how their kids are. Go out to lunch to honour the current month’s birthday celebrants. If you have time, gather the team for a spinning class led by your fitness enthusiast employee. These little things can result in huge payoffs, in terms of building employee morale.
On Employees’ Personal and Professional Needs
11. Develop Their Professional Skills and Their Careers
Again, personal achievement matters in increasing job satisfaction and morale. You can very well help employees in this matter by investing in professional development initiatives. Do a thorough analysis of your workers’ needs, in terms of skills and knowledge. From there, make an appropriate program. Invite resource speakers, if necessary
12. Put Them at the Center of Your Vision
The company’s vision, grand and ambitious, is a source of motivation and inspiration, yet it can also be a little too overwhelming. Your employees may feel a disconnect from it. This can get in the way of being enthusiastic about getting the job done.
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes and ask what’s in the vision for you. What’s the personal benefit of working towards realizing this vision? When you’re able to communicate how meaningful their work is in the grand scheme of things, this will help boost employee morale and productivity.
13. Acknowledge Hard Work, Not Just Achievements
When employees are doing a great job, tell them even before they close a deal or get a new client. Recognize efforts, not only successes. Thank employees personally; go to their desks and give them a pat on the back.
Do it in front of people, the clients or their fellow team members, in whichever platform available such as emails or town halls. This will give them greater confidence, which would then translate into better employee performance.
14. Give Constructive Feedback
While you take note of employees’ accomplishments, it’s also equally important to empower them with suggestions for improvement. When received gracefully and applied correctly, this will not only benefit the entire organization but the employee themselves, as well. It will add value to their professional development.
How are you keeping your employees happy and satisfied? Don’t wait until productivity takes a dive or resignation letters to begin pouring in before you make an intentional effort to boost employee morale and job satisfaction. Come up with a plan today.