As a general rule, many workers don’t appear to be happy campers. We thank God when it’s Friday, and sing songs about living for the weekend or having the Monday morning blues. We’ve created the term “hump day” to remind ourselves that we’ve made it halfway through the work week, and to encourage ourselves to hold on until Friday arrives so we can once again thank God that we don’t have to go to work for two days.
And whenever working people are asked what they would do if they won the lottery, the overwhelming majority reply that they would quit their job. That’s first. Not calling the family, buying a new house for dear old Mom, making a contribution to a favorite charity. Not even verifying that they actually won the lottery, or trying to find out when they’ll receive the first payment. Nope. “I’ll quit my job,” or “Take this job and shove it,” is the very first thought that usually comes to mind.
Some of these thoughts are understandable, given that workplace stress has been blamed for everything from sleeplessness to depression to heart-disease. Companies are laying off employees and giving their duties to the remaining workers. Also, they’re cutting back on other expenses, such as replacing outdated equipment. As a result, workers are expected to do more with less, and they’re also expected to be glad that they even have a job in this economy.
And let’s not forget about the leaders who can’t lead, and the managers who mismanage, because they’re the primary contributors to employee dissatisfaction – along with stagnant or shrinking wages.
If it appears to be a dismal picture, it is, but there’s hope that it can be turned around, if for no other reason than self-preservation. In the past, pleas to convince some bosses to actually care about their employees appeared to fall on deaf ears. However, data now shows that employee satisfaction rates are directly related to a company’s success.
Employee Satisfaction Is Related To Profits
The success of an organization may be directly related to employee satisfaction. According to a recent University of Pennsylvania study examining the relationship between happy workers and company value, organizations with high job satisfaction rates also had high stock returns.
The companies that routinely land on the list of the best companies to work for also have higher stock returns than the average company. In fact, the University of Pennsylvania study found that the companies on the “best” list had 2.3 percent to 3.8 percent higher yearly stock returns than other organizations. And these companies also tend to perform even better than predicted.
The best companies are ranked by Forbes, based on such factors as the credibility of management, camaraderie, and job satisfaction, in addition to recognition programs, training, and internal communication.
Of course, Google leads the pack, followed in order by SAS, The Boston Consulting Group, Edward Jones, Quicken Loan, Genentech, and Salesforce.com. Other well-known companies on the list (in no particular order) include Intuit, Mayo Clinic, CISCO, Hyatt Hotels, and Aflac, in addition to General Mills, Publix Super Markets, Microsoft, and Mercedes Benz USA.
Employee Satisfaction Is Related To Productivity Levels
A recent Gallup Poll found that employees who are happy at work and like their jobs are generally more productive. Workers who are satisfied tend to be engaged, and employee engagement is usually a result of positive communication and interactions with managers. It is also a consequence of being given meaningful work to perform, accompanied by clear and attainable goals, and the level of support needed to succeed. Engaged workers are less likely to call in sick, goof-off at work, and grumble and complain about the company to fellow employees.
Employee Satisfaction Is Related To Customer Satisfaction
A Northwestern study revealed a strong link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. That’s because the employees influence the attitudes of the organization’s customers. Employee dissatisfaction is revealed in how the workers interact with customers whether in person, on the phone, or in written correspondence. Response times, attitudes and demeanors, and the quality of customer care are all affected – either positively or negatively – by employee satisfaction and engagement levels.
And when employees influence customers positively, these customers in turn drive the company’s level of profitability through the purchase and use of the company’s products. Northwestern also notes that customers with high product satisfaction levels cost less to serve, and also tend to use the product more, which in turn helps to increase the company’s profitability.
Employee Satisfaction Is Related To Loyalty
In addition, employees who are engaged tend to be more loyal to the company. In other words, they’re less likely to spend all day searching for new jobs and plotting their exit strategy. Most companies spend a considerable amount of money recruiting and training employees, and high turnover rates can quickly diminish profits. Also, when employees with longevity leave the company, they take a wealth of information with them.
Although most companies have written work procedures, there’s no way to document everything that an employee knows. In addition, employees with longevity have usually developed relationships with other employees and customers. So when these long-time workers leave the company, they’re also leaving a void in the organization.
Employee Engagement Is Related To Creativity
Another important reason to engage employees and care about their satisfaction is the incredible amount of creativity that each member of the team brings to the organization. Allowing them to share their ideas and letting them tweak the system to perform their job more efficiency and effectively is a win-win situation.
When workers find their jobs challenging – not to be confused with frustrating – they begin to think of new processes, new methods, and even new products and services. And in this competitive, global market, what company couldn’t use new ideas?
In addition, it’s important to invest in workers by providing training to enhance and improve their skills. Training also helps employees gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the company, and as their powers of comprehension increase, they’re in a better position to contribute both creative ideas and practical suggestions. And of course, rewarding employees for their ingenuity, creativity, loyalty and hard work is one of the best ways that a company can show its appreciation. While financial compensation never goes out of style, public acknowledgement is also an effective engagement tool.
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