A productive workplace is like a game of Jenga; each piece supports another to make the whole stronger. In business, those pieces include profitability, customer loyalty, productivity, employee engagement, talent, and more. And, just like Jenga, if you pull the wrong one out, the entire structure can come crashing down.
What might be surprising to some is, according to numerous studies, employee satisfaction just might be one of the most important pieces in the entire puzzle.
In a recent Forbes.com article, Dr. Noelle Nelson discussed the research behind her book, Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy. “When employees feel that the company takes their interest to heart, then the employees will take company interests to heart,” said Nelson, a clinical psychologist, best-selling author and business trial consultant.
Nelson said the companies that succeed in making employees happy experience a more than triple return on equity and assets than firms that don’t. And if that’s not enough evidence, Nelson said that stock prices for Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” rose an average of 14 percent per year, compared to 6 percent for the overall market.
Nelson’s research also shows that 90 percent of employees are willing to consider changing jobs and unsatisfied employees are 11 times more likely to move to a new organization in the next year.
So, now that the value of employee satisfaction is quantified, how do businesses achieve it?
In early 2015, Virgin Pulse conducted a survey of more than 1,000 full-time employees in the U.S. and Canada to find out how they really feel about their employers and work. The survey, “Labor of Love: What Employees Love About Work & Ways to Keep the Spark Alive,” highlights what employees love about work (and what they don’t) and how those feelings impact their overall well-being and performance on the job.
So, what makes employees happy? The results might surprise you.
- 60 percent of employees feel their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work, and 44 percent say it positively impacts stress levels. It’s clear that a supportive manager is critical in driving employee satisfaction.
Managers should be encouraged to meet frequently with employees to discuss goals and to check in on what they can do to help employees accomplish those goals.
- 53 percent said interesting and challenging work is the number one reason they love their company.
- 38 percent said that the company’s mission was a top contender for why they work where they work.
Accomplish these two requirements by assigning employees to meaningful work, encouraging them to demonstrate their progress, and connecting their work to department goals and the overall mission.
- 44 percent indicated that having flexible work arrangements was the number one benefit they would love to have at their company. And 35 percent said that supporting work-life balance was the top way a company could show they cared about their employees.
While it might seem like a lot, the message is actually quite simple: If companies keep their promises and show compassion for their employees, the profits will follow.