What is employee satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction refers to professionals’ overall contentment regarding their company and job. A high level of employee satisfaction implies that the employer is meeting people’s needs in various areas, such as compensation and benefits, co-worker and manager relationships, career opportunities, and infusing meaning into the workplace.

Why is employee satisfaction important?

Satisfied professionals can contribute more to their company.

Low compensation, bullying in the workplace, or an overly heavy workload, for example, can detract from productivity, innovation, collaboration, and high work performance.

While employee satisfaction isn’t the only factor that drives success, it is a major contributor to an engaged workforce, an improved bottom line, better customer service, and a positive brand.

How can you improve employee satisfaction?

HR professionals can’t control people’s happiness or attitudes toward work, but they can integrate practices to boost employee satisfaction. Some practical steps HR can take are:

  • Make gratitude a regular practice. Saying thank you can have a long-term impact on engagement. Recognizing people’s hard work, achievements, and dedication can bring meaning to their work lives and infuse them with motivation that lasts.    
  • Encourage effective management. Managers play a critical role in employee satisfaction. A micromanaging, unappreciative, and disorganized manager can tip the scales negatively. Conversely, managers who communicate effectively, inspire team members, and guide professionals to work autonomously can steer the workforce toward satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. 
  • Create meaningful opportunities. Integrating growth opportunities helps people actualize their potential and find purpose. Satisfying basic needs through sufficient compensation and a safe work environment is crucial. Yet by going beyond the basics to include L&D and career opportunities, HR can satisfy people’s innate hunger for growth and meaningful work.   
  • Communicate. Lack of communication leads to unclear boundaries and expectations. Letting people know what’s expected of them in a clear, kind way nurtures the employee-employer relationship. Providing regular constructive feedback also helps people understand how and what to improve.

How do you measure employee satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction can be hard to gauge. Someone may seem satisfied, but inside they may be unhappy with their job. Running employee satisfaction surveys can help HR better assess how their people actually feel about their workplace experience.

What are some examples of employee satisfaction survey questions and tools?

Company culture, management, and meaningful work are key components of employee satisfaction. Thus, HR can touch on these topics by including questions such as:

  • Do you feel your co-workers collaborate as a team?
  • Do you feel your managers value your feedback?
  • Does your job allow you to use your skills and talents?

Additionally, you can measure employee satisfaction through employee net promoter score (eNPS), a questionnaire that assesses how willing people are to recommend the company to friends.

Why should employee satisfaction be a part of modern HR strategy?

Employee satisfaction is a precondition for a happy, engaged, productive workforce. So by addressing and prioritizing employee satisfaction, HR can help build a financially successful company with a positive reputation and satisfied customers.