7 Questions to ask yourself about job satisfaction and employee intention
Can you paint a picture of your company as one that listens and validates employees’ opinions? Rewards hard work? Creates an enviable work culture?
Uncovering ways your company culture misses the mark can lead to improvements in productivity, overall work-life balance—and your bottom line.
Job candidates choose a company because of the culture, not just the paycheck. It’s not a fad that will fade away.
A Columbia University Job Satisfaction report found:
- 9% job turnover rate at companies with a rich culture
- 4% job turnover rate at companies with poor culture
- 64% of all employees feel their companies do not have a strong work culture
Culture has a direct relationship to your company’s success. Your employees’ experience should reflect the one you’re trying to provide your customers. But, how do you know whether you have that rich, thriving company culture? Are your core values aligned with the customer experience you are trying to achieve?
To start, ask these seven questions.
01 Is Your Office Environment Comfortable?
Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, before we can be innovative and creative, we have to satisfy our basic physiological and safety needs. It’s understandable that we need air, food and water, right? But we also need to feel safe from threats, even perceived threats. This seems obvious, but find some motivation here, leaders. You can set up a comfortable working environment with a coffee maker, water fountain, supportive chair and decent desk space. Don’t crowd people, or the safety risk will kick in.
Does this mean you have to have space-level ergonomic chairs and an in-office waterfall? Nope. Just treat your employees well in a space where they can feel comfortable getting to work.
02 Is your communication effective?
This is simple. The best way to find out whether your communication is effective is to ask. Integrate feedback into your company’s culture. Make sure all employees feel heard and that they are being communicated to clearly. Communication has consistently proven to be a real issue at many companies, leading to poor employee engagement.
A Gallup Workplace report notes that:
- Engagement is highest among employees who have some form of daily communication with their managers.
- Engaged employees report their manager returns their messages within 24 hours.
- 65 percent of employees who don’t feel they can approach their manager with any type of question are actively disengaged.
One way to conquer the hurdle of employees being able to deal with managers is with an anonymous feedback system. Weekly, biweekly or even monthly, have employees complete a short survey about job satisfaction, happiness and anything else the company wants to measure. Don’t think you can skirt around anonymity. If you really want the feedback system to work, anonymity is a vital component.
03 How Can You Help Your Employees’ Well-Being?
This includes everything from encouraging a work-life balance that helps diminish stress to paying for a comprehensive medical care plan. You need to think about both the physical and the mental well-being of your employees. You don’t have to have a gym on-site, but what would it hurt to create an opportunity that’s similar? Research and consider offers like rebates for local gyms, offering on-site yoga classes (even if they’re taught by another employee), and allowing paid half days for employees to visit the doctor. Happy, healthy employees are productive employees—and that’s good for everyone!
04 Are Your Employees Aligned with Company Values?
Start this step in your hiring process. Recruiting and hiring should focus not just on whether the candidate can literally get the job done. You should also be evaluating whether the candidate is a match culturally and values-wise. Your company culture means nothing if your employees don’t live it. Be sure to clearly communicate the company values—and do it often. Hang the list in common spaces throughout your office, and remember to pull the core values into every discussion about how the company is doing.
Employees who live and breathe your company culture become ambassadors who spread your messages. They help you find other great candidates who are cultural matches for open positions. Ensuring that your employees are on board with the company values starts from the leader and trickles down.
05 How Do You Recognize Your Employees?
Actually, let’s take a step back to ask: Are you even recognizing your employees now? If the answer is no, this is your first mandatory fix. Employee recognition programs are crucial to a thriving culture.
SHRM/Globoforce surveys found that companies with employee recognition programs have workers who report:
- 6% lower frustration levels, and
- 48% higher engagement levels
When asked what management could do to improve engagement, SHRM/Globoforce surveys found that:
- 58% of employees said “give recognition”
Even more effective is an employee recognition program that supports your company values. It’s important to be specific so employees know exactly what they’re being valued and rewarded for. So, it’s probably best to dump the meaningless “employee of the month” labels or promises of parking spots that will never be used. Instead, reward employees who have truly lived by a company core value with their work on a specific project or a particularly helpful customer service experience.
Have fun with the awards! Cash is always good, but they don’t all have to be cash. Think outside the box and offer a paid day off, a massage, a trip to a game, lunch, or even a home cleaning service. Listen to your employees to get a better grip on what they would consider a reward for their efforts.
06 Are You Limiting Your Employees?
Many employees, mostly millennials, report having an entrepreneurial spirit. A Creative Live Jobs Report found that 60 percent of millennials put themselves in that camp. Instead of writing that off, nurture it. Collaborate with those spirits to build opportunities for innovation and creativity. Adobe has made a name for itself with its Kickbox project, an open-source program where employees can run experiments to come up with ideas for helping the company. Google came up with the 20% Program, where 20 percent of an employee’s time is left for more creative “passion projects.”
07 Are You Encouraging Collaboration and Friendship?
You might think that workplace friendships are a distraction. If that’s the case, then you’re not seeing the whole picture. Work relationships matter to quality of life. And you, as a leader, should always be prioritizing employee quality of life. Sponsor weekly or monthly group lunches and take your team outside of the office occasionally for bonding—even if it’s just a backyard cookout. Your employees don’t have to be best friends forever, but positive work relationships are an excellent step toward a vibrant culture.
If you want to have a thriving organizational culture, simply ask yourself the right questions and be honest about the answers. ∞