How to handle employee satisfaction at work

two people laughing in a room

In a perfect world, all organizations expect their employees to be excited to come to work every day – Engaged and eager to succeed in their roles with a positive attitude. 

Unfortunately, that is not the case in the real world. For example, Friday rangoli competition doesn’t keep employees satisfied. Neither does that once-a-year outing to Goa. 

Why? Because engagement and satisfaction are two different things. Even if you work with a great team and keep them engaged, there will be some days where they don’t feel satisfied.  

Employee engagement is more related to workers being committed to helping the organization achieve goals. They show up on time and feel motivated to achieve their objectives 

Employee satisfaction involves the future too. You see, all employees want to progress in their jobs and careers. The fear leaves people scared about their job. Contentment involves a lot of factors, and we will talk about that in this conversation. 

Dissatisfied employees are not to be taken lightly, as it can harm your entire business. So, in this article, we’ll be exploring the different elements of employee satisfaction. 

How employee satisfaction affects your business 

To help you understand the beating your business might take, we have divided dissatisfied employees into two groups.  

  1. The Runners 
  2. The Couch Potatoes 

Both can bring trouble for a business, just in their different ways. Let’s find out. 

The Runners 

Meet Rahul. He’s hardworking, sincere, honest, and looking towards a bright future. Everything was going great when something happened.  

Something like: 

  • He didn’t get the deserved promotion. 
  • His manager doesn’t appreciate him. 
  • He wasn’t allowed to take a leave and see his ill father. 

There can be more reasons. Something happened, and that led to Rahul feeling unsatisfied at work. Now, he does come to work but only does the minimum required work. There is no motivation for newer projects or helping his team out. On the side, he’s also looking for a new job. Once he finds that, he quits. Without him, the team’s performance levels take a dip. Low productivity leads to low revenue.  

Now imagine the same situation with more than 1 employee at your organization. Do you see how easily it can destroy a business?  

The Couch Potatoes 

Meet Shanky. He is satisfied. Perhaps far too much. The money and open culture make him think that he doesn’t need to do anything at all. He does the bare minimum, gets others to do the rest of the work, and takes home a handsome salary.  

  • Is he contributing anything to the company? 
  • Is he helping others progress? 
  • Is he taking responsibility for work? 

The answer to the above and similar questions is a big NO. Shanky is a couch potato. He spends all his time gossiping or on a tea break instead of doing meaningful work. 

This is impacting the business. If one such employee can do so much damage, think about a place where there’s more than one. 

How to measure employee satisfaction  

You can’t improve when you don’t know how to measure the problem. Here are few ways you can do that: 

One on One Conversations 

Imagine your organization has 1000 people. Scratch that, let’s keep it to 100. Do you think everyone will come to you and share their problems? Reverse it and you won’t have time to talk to everyone individually either. So, schedule one on one’s on a monthly/weekly/quarterly basis. 

Don’t go with random questions, instead take the help of this ‘One on One Template‘ blog that’ll keep you ready. 

Conduct Surveys 

Not the long and boring ones. But the short, direct, and anonymous ones. Yes, we are talking about pulse surveys. 

Be Human 

Technology, no matter how good, can only do half of the work. If you don’t give a damn about the troubles your workforce is facing, there is nothing that can help your people feel satisfied. 

Start with empathy and create an active listening culture. Read between the lines. Employees might not directly convey all the issues, but they will do it indirectly. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to pick up the hints, understand the problem and help solve them. 

When it comes to money, employees know if you are paying them below the market standard. So, keep things competitive from your side. If you can’t solve an issue, then talk to your friends at other organizations. Maybe they faced a similar challenge and were able to solve it.  

Factors influencing employee satisfaction 

Employee satisfaction can take many shapes and sizes — but certain factors are typical. Here are [number] tell-tale factors to look out for. 

1. Toxic Work Culture 

Poor Communication 

Does it feel like your employees are never on the same page with their boss/managers? Are there frequent misunderstandings? All of this is evidence of a serious issue at hand. If you don’t care, neither will your people. 

Office Gossip 

Becoming friends at work is helpful. But gossiping like high school kids? not so much. If this type of office behavior is normal at your company, sooner or later, your best employees will run away. 

Unhealthy Work-Life Balance 

Long daily grinds at work, weekend tasks, frequent emails from the boss even during the holidays can sink the morale of your employees in the bin. For many, this leads to burnout. 

Unfriendly Leadership 

Great bosses lead their organizations through agility, guidance, and inspiration. Bad bosses do it with forceful or unappreciated demands. The type of leadership is arguably the major factor in employee satisfaction at work. If you’re confused about the leadership out, check out the leadership styles blog. 

Intimidation 

Bullying is not just for kids, but adults do it too. In a workplace where intimidation tactics are heavy, workforce satisfaction will remain low. 

2. Organizational Factors 

Salaries and Wages 

Yes, low salaries affect employees. It is one of the top symptoms of low satisfaction levels. The stress from working too many hours and receiving little money for it can affect anyone.  

Promotion 

Promotion indicates the worth of an employee to the organization. It brings along more power, money, benefits, job security, etc., that most employees want at work. Organizations that don’t handle promotions well have a long list of unsatisfied employees. 

Policies and Culture 

Organizational structure and policies directly affect the job satisfaction of employees. Everyone hates authoritative culture, whereas people love a more open and democratic culture. For example, If an employee can’t ask for a leave without making ridiculous excuses, it’s a sign of trouble. 

3. Personal Factors  

Age and Seniority 

With time, most people manage to move up the ladder and create a sound work environment for themselves. If that doesn’t happen, it does leave them dissatisfied with their jobs. 

Tenure 

Full-time employees enjoy more job security and benefits. Without a long tenure or job security, a workforce involving interns, part-time or contractual employees will worry about job security. It can affect their performance levels. We all love planning our future, and if it shows a person running around for interviews, it will hamper anyone.  

“Great employees don’t complain, they suddenly leave. So, pay attention to the signs.” 

Best practices to keep employee satisfaction high  

Rangolis? Fun Fridays? TT Table? Beer Parties? If you think any of these methods will solve all the trouble, then the answer is ‘Absolutely Not. 

Here are the steps that will ease the burden off your employees. 

Have an honest conversation with problematic individuals 

Trace the issues and go backward to who’s creating them. If you can trace back to just a few working relationships, try sharing your concerns privately in a non-confrontational way. Facing problems head-on with open communication can solve so many problems. Be it the managers, employees, or anyone else, talk to them and let them know that their actions are affecting others in the team. 

Prioritize mental health 

If the stress from work is eating away from your employees, try adopting healthy coping mechanisms (e.g., fixed work hours, no work on weekends, etc.) to maintain a positive mindset. You can ask employees to set a cut-off time for checking emails or performing tasks in case they feel overworked. 

Pulse Surveys 

Employees are scared about sharing problems at work, so it’s not easy to go and make a note of how everyone is doing at work. To get a sense of the situation, quick and short pulse surveys are needed. So that you know about employees’ problems immediately and solve them eventually. 

What more can organizations do? 

Just: 

  • Be flexible (for example, provide remote working and scheduling) 
  • Offer employees autonomy at work 
  • Stop micromanagement 
  • Recognize and reward those who deserve it 
  • Maintain transparent communication 
  • Promote employee wellbeing (Mental, physical, and social) 
  • Take care of the work environment 
  • Invest in employee development 
  • Build an open and Sociable culture 
  • Reduce bureaucratic decision-making  

Preparing For a Transition 

No matter how unpleasant the satisfaction or performance levels are, it’s still important to try and get everything back on track.  

In context, there are three basic steps: 

  • Figuring out the satisfaction level of your employees. 
  • Understanding the challenges and creating an action plan. 
  • Taking employee satisfaction back to the desirable levels.

Then, there’s the task of doing this all. Well, not to worry. Keka’s robust 360 degree performance management software has a lot of resources to help you out. 

Contributing Author
anubhav

Sr. Content Writer

Anubhav is forever weird, but he’s a fun Copywriter and interview host at Keka. Anubhav figured out in college days that with COPY you can get a bunch of very-targeted people to come to your website, consume your material, and even buy. His focus is on making HR easier for professionals and anyone wanting to make a difference in the workplace. When he isn’t writing, he’s either traveling to the mountains, playing football, reading about Tigers, or doing nothing.