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In the aftermath of the Great Resignation and wave after wave of quiet quitting, HR leaders are paying more attention to job satisfaction than ever. An employee’s job satisfaction can impact everything from their productivity and engagement to how long they work for a company.

While around 90% of workers say their work is meaningful to them, internal metrics for each company can radically differ. But perceiving a job as meaningful is only one piece of the puzzle. Workplace dynamics, compensation, and employee benefits can all impact job satisfaction.

Monitoring job satisfaction over time can allow HR pros to manage better and understand their workforce's overall health and engagement.

Job satisfaction is the level of fulfillment and contentment that an individual experiences in relation to their employment. Job satisfaction can reflect several factors ranging from salary and job prospects to manager relationships and workplace environments.

Employees who report high job satisfaction are likelier to engage positively with their role. On the other hand, low rates of job satisfaction could lead to low employee retention, reduced productivity, and workplace issues. 

SurveyMonkey research from December 2023 reveals that as many as 85% of employees are satisfied with their jobs. 

Several key factors can influence an employee’s job satisfaction:

  • Workplace culture and work environment: Workplace culture defines how employees relate to their roles and interact with co-workers. A positive and relaxed atmosphere will lead to higher satisfaction when compared to environments that could stress or frustrate employees.
  • Career growth opportunities: A clear progression pathway involving promotions and raises will motivate employees and increase job satisfaction.
  • Salary: Total salary and overall compensation packages are some of the most essential qualities to consider in relation to job satisfaction. People will likely favor a job with a competitive wage higher than the market average. 
  • Recognition and rewards: Recognition is one of the most powerful tools to increase happiness and job satisfaction at work. Recent SurveyMonkey research has revealed that 82% of employees are happier when they’re recognized at work.
  • Work-life balance: The past few years have highlighted how vital a stable work-life balance is. Businesses that respect employee boundaries and allow for a healthy balance will have rates of satisfaction. 
  • Job security: If employees are confident that they have a guaranteed future at a company, they can envision their professional progression. Security often leads to an increased sense of job satisfaction.
  • Leadership and management: A great manager can make or break a job. Employees with good managers are likelier to have a better relationship with their role and demonstrate higher job satisfaction.
Graph of quarterly earning going up over time

Job satisfaction is important as it influences every employee's interaction with their work. Happier employees will be more productive, contribute more to a business, and stay at a company longer. 

Alongside benefits for the organization, high job satisfaction rates also improve employees' mental health. Employees who report high job satisfaction also tend to report a favorable work-life balance and a healthier relationship with their jobs.

Here are some leading reasons why job satisfaction is essential.

Job satisfaction has a direct impact on employee engagement. Employees who are satisfied with their work are more likely to engage positively with their tasks. Equally, they may assess any projects they finish more favorably when they enjoy their work with the project.

For employees, this can lead to a greater sense of purpose while at work. For businesses, job satisfaction can boost employee engagement and drive profits.

Employees more engaged with their work will likely finish quicker and produce higher quality work. This engagement trend significantly impacts productivity, with satisfied employees demonstrating higher productivity rates.

According to Oxford’s Said Business School research, happy workers are 13% more productive than dissatisfied co-workers. The link between happiness and productivity is a significant benefit of increasing job satisfaction in a business.

High rates of job satisfaction lead to reduced employee churn. By keeping employees for extended periods, a business can reduce the total amount it contributes to new employee training. 

Onboarding can be an ongoing cost for many businesses, which high satisfaction rates can help to reduce. Companies can increase revenue and help improve their bottom lines by having to train new employees less frequently. 

Although job satisfaction has many potential influences, there are methods your business can use to track it. 

Here are some strategies you can use to measure job satisfaction.

Surveys are a vital strategy when getting more information from your target audience. With surveys, you can collect qualitative and quantitative data that offer a complete picture of how your employees feel.

By repeating surveys and questionnaires over time, you can examine how job satisfaction changes in your organization. This approach helps to measure whether or not the methods you implement to improve job satisfaction positively impact your organization.

Let’s explore some valuable surveys you can use to measure job satisfaction:

  • Job satisfaction surveys: Use a job satisfaction survey to ask employees how satisfied they are with their job. You can use the Likert scale and open-ended questions to collect various feedback forms.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score® (eNPS) surveys: You can use an eNPS survey to determine whether employees would recommend working at your company to a friend. A higher percentage of positive responses suggests that your employees are, on average, satisfied with their jobs at your company.
  • Employee satisfaction surveys: An employee satisfaction survey helps to assess employee burnout, workplace climate, and overall loyalty. These surveys are useful when generating ideas on what you could change to improve job satisfaction. 
  • Employee engagement surveys: You can use an employee engagement survey to measure how engaged an employee feels at work. Over time, this survey allows you to measure, track, and improve employee engagement.
  • Pulse surveys: You can use pulse surveys to measure and improve employee retention. This survey helps to assess various areas across an employee’s lifecycle with your business to identify points for improvement. 
  • Exit interviews: Using an exit interview survey can give insight into why an employee is leaving your business. Gathering this information will help you pinpoint areas to fix for future employees to help you retain top talent.
  • Gender inclusivity at work survey: You can use a gender inclusivity survey or another diversity and inclusion survey to ensure you do everything possible to promote a diverse and equitable workplace. Improving your organizational culture can help to improve job satisfaction. 

Using surveys to measure job satisfaction also provides your employees with anonymity. When employees give feedback anonymously, you can gain higher response rates and get richer data. 

One-on-one interviews are a valuable way of gathering qualitative feedback on job satisfaction. You can use one-on-one interviews to contextualize your quantitative survey data when conducted alongside satisfaction surveys.

Focus groups are another helpful method you can use to get qualitative feedback. However, some employees will feel less comfortable sharing information in a formal setting and prefer the anonymity of surveys. 

Your business will likely already have a feedback cycle that it uses to gather and relate performance reviews throughout the year. Whether that’s every month or every quarter, your business will use this feedback cycle to assess performance and job satisfaction.

Adding more surveys to the feedback cycle process can enrich your data with more context. For example, a popular method of evaluating other people in a business is to use a 360-degree review survey. Your company will send out this survey to everyone in your organization, offering people the chance to give feedback to other co-workers and managers. 

This survey asks individuals to score other co-workers on their effectiveness, professionalism, and timeliness, amongst other qualities. By customizing this survey, you can create a precise method of collecting feedback on your surveys.

Alongside responding to surveys, you can also monitor employee engagement with software. Special software on an employee’s work computer will help to analyze engagement and track which tasks they are working on throughout the day.

This approach offers real-time insight into your employee engagement, which can reflect overall satisfaction levels. 

Graph showing positive correlation between employee satisfaction and employee experience

After measuring the levels of job satisfaction, you’ll have a clear idea of how your employees feel about working at your company. 

If your results are less than satisfactory, you can use the following best practices to improve your employees’ job satisfaction.

Company culture is among the most impactful elements that can impact job satisfaction. Company culture is a driving factor of job satisfaction at work. A positive culture helps to foster open and honest conversations, which can lead to faster improvements.

Job seekers are increasingly more concerned with company culture. Around 86% of job seekers consider a company’s reputation when searching for a job. For employees actively working in an organization, around 94% of survey respondents think that a healthy work culture is vital for success.

Businesses create culture from the top down. When establishing core company conduct guidelines, leaders should consider how they want their work environment to operate. Focusing on improving company culture over time by responding to feedback can contribute to higher job satisfaction rates.

Transparency and communication are vital in a healthy workplace. Better transparency between co-workers, especially around salary expectations, will help employees understand their place in an organization. Transparency can also foster a culture of inclusivity and ensure that people are paid fairly for the work they contribute.

Clear and regular communication from managers to team members can also help to improve job satisfaction. For example, you can explain why you’re monitoring job satisfaction and create bulletins sharing how you interact and respond to feedback. If you notice that many employees report dissatisfaction with one aspect, announcing how you’re attempting to improve will go a long way.

Employees perform best and feel happiest at work when you treat them fairly. Transparency will streamline all forms of communication in the workplace.

Further employee training can motivate workers to engage more with their jobs. You expand a worker's capabilities by offering opportunities to build new skills, obtain qualifications, and specialize in distinct areas. 

On the one hand, employees with more skills will help to contribute more to your business. On the other hand, this strategy benefits job satisfaction as employees will feel like your company invests just as much in them as they do back into your organization.

Here are some potential opportunities that your business can offer to boost career development:

  • Training
  • Up-skilling
  • Mentoring and coaching

Your business's working environment will significantly impact employees' overall job satisfaction. Fostering a supportive, social, and relaxed culture will help employees avoid stress and engage more positively with their work.

A supportive work environment can also expand into the benefits that you offer to your employees. SurveyMonkey research reveals that 41% of businesses don’t offer finance-related support to their employees. There are various benefits that you can offer to improve customer satisfaction:

  • 51% of employees want fully paid healthcare premiums.
  • 37% of employees expect 401(k) matching.
  • 27% of employees want reimbursement for health facilities or gyms.
  • 26% of employees want free food onsite.

Creating the ideal workplace goes beyond just company culture; it includes the core offerings that you use to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Measuring levels of employee job satisfaction is the first step toward boosting happiness in the workplace. The more information you collect, the more data-driven insight you’ll have to improve the employee experience.

As you improve upon areas where employees need additional support, you’ll help increase job satisfaction and gain all the benefits of a happy workplace.

Learn how SurveyMonkey can help you track and understand employee engagement.

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