Employee Job Satisfaction
How to Increase
Job Satisfaction and Improve Employee Engagement
Gregory P. Smith
Employers face dynamic and ever increasing
challenges. A global economy of discriminating consumers has placed
demands on employers never before seen. Employers face the
challenges of maintaining productivity as well as keeping their
workforce engaged and motivated. Environmental pressures,
rising health care costs, and the needs of the workforce
have placed management in a complicated and tenuous situation. The
answer lies with creating a work environment that maintains employee job
satisfaction as well as motivates people toward
A new survey conducted by
the Conference Board showed only 45 percent
of Americans are satisfied with their work.
This is the lowest level ever recorded by
the Conference Board in more than 22 years
Those that fail to improve job satisfaction are at risk of losing their
top talented people to the competition.
Supervisors and managers who maximize the
potential, creative abilities, and talents of the entire workforce have a
greater competitive advantage than those who don't. Employees that
are engaged in their work have a higher level of job satisfaction. Motivated
workers provide the health insurance businesses desperately needed in
these chaotic times.
HOW TO INCREASE JOB SATISFACTION--THE PRIDE SYSTEM
The leaders of the organization have the responsibility for
creating a high level of job satisfaction. Dr. Edwards Deming said,
"The aim of leadership should be to improve the performance of man and
machine, to improve quality, to increase output, and simultaneously to
bring pride of workmanship to people." A motivating
environment is one that gives workers a sense of pride in what they do.
To show supervisors and managers how to build a more productive work
environment, I've created a five-step process called the PRIDE system.
Leaders can improve motivation within their organizations by following
- Provide a positive working
- Reward and recognition
- Involve and increase employee
- Develop the skills and potential of
- Evaluate and measure job satisfaction
STEP 1--PROVIDE A POSITIVE WORKING
Increasing job satisfaction begins by first providing a
positive work environment. Fran Tarkenton says, to find what
motivates people, "you have to find what turns people on."
This is the most important factor in the process. A motivating
working environment requires going over and beyond the call of duty and
providing for the needs of the worker.
Walt Disney World Company provides an
excellent work environment for their employees or "cast members."
Employee assistance centers are spread strategically across the theme
park. Some of the services included employee discount programs,
childcare information, money orders, postage stamps, check cashing, and
bus passes. The Walt Disney Company realizes that taking care of
their employee's needs keep them motivated, on the job and loyal to
STEP 2--REWARD AND RECOGNITION FOR
INCREASING JOB SATISFACTION
Mark Twain once said, "I can live for two
months on a good compliment." Personal recognition is a powerful
tool in building morale and motivation. A pat on the back, a
personal note from a peer or a supervisor does wonders. Small,
informal celebrations are many times more effective than a once a quarter
or once a year formal event.
Graham Weston, co-founder and CEO of Rackspace
Managed Hosting, gives the keys to his BMW M3 convertible for a week to
his top performing employees. This creative way to reward employees has
a bigger impact than cash. He says, “If you gave somebody a $200 bonus,
it wouldn’t mean very much. When someone gets to drive my car for a
week, they never forget it.”
STEP 3--INVOLVE EVERYONE AND USE
People may show up for work, but are they engaged
and productive? People are more committed and engaged when there is a
process for them to contribute their ideas and employee suggestions.
This gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their work.
The Sony Corporation fosters the exchange of ideas
within departments by sponsoring an annual Idea Exposition. During the
exposition, scientists and engineers display projects and ideas they are
working on. Open only to Sony’s employees, this process creates a
healthy climate of innovation and engages all those who participate.
STEP 4--DEVELOP WORKER'S SKILLS AND
Training and education motivates people and
makes them more productive and innovative. At Federal Express, all
customer contact people are given six weeks of training before they ever
answer the first phone call. Learning never stops and testing
continues throughout their employment tenure. Every six months
customer service people are tested using an on-line computer system.
Pass/fail results are sent to each employee within 24 hours. They
receive a personalized "prescription" on areas that need reviewing with a
list of resources and lessons that will help. Federal Express'
intensive training and development program has resulted in higher
motivation and lower turnover.
There are many reasons training and
development makes sense. Well-trained employees are more capable and
willing to assume more control over their jobs. They need less
supervision, which frees management for other tasks. Employees are
more capable to answer the questions of customers which builds better
customer loyalty. Employees who understand the business,
complain less, are more satisfied, and are more motivated. All this
leads to better management-employee relationships.
STEP 5--EVALUATE AND MEASURE
Continuous evaluation and never ending
improvement is the final step of the PRIDE system. Evaluation is a
nonstop activity that includes a specific cycle of steps. The
primary purpose of evaluation is to measure progress and determine what
needs improving. Continuous evaluation includes, but is not limited
to, the measurement of attitudes, morale, and motivation of the workforce.
It includes the identification of problem areas needing improvement and
the design and implementation of an improvement plan. Good organizations conduct a job satisfaction survey
at least once a year.
Rosa’s Company completes a cultural audit once a year, which
measures employees' feelings about pay and benefits, care and
recognition, etc. Additionally, all employees evaluate their bosses
twice a year using an Internal Customer Satisfaction Index. (ICSI)
The ICSI has only four questions, and asks the employees to give
their managers a letter grade from A to D in four different
categories. Any grade lower than a B requires additional comments.
Businesses have searched far and wide for
the competitive advantage, the best equipment, robotics, or the latest
business technique. These devices provide only temporary solutions.
The true competitive advantage is trained and motivated people proudly
working together, contributing their vitality and energy toward the goals of the
Greg Smith is a
nationally recognized speaker, author, and business performance
consultant. He has written numerous books including his latest, 401
Proven Ways to Retain Your Best Employees. He has been featured on
television programs such as Bloomberg News, PBS television, and in
publications including Business Week, USA Today, Kiplinger's, President
and CEO, and the Christian Science Monitor. He is the President
and "Captain of the Ship" of a management-consulting firm, Chart Your
Course International, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Phone him at
770-860-9464. More articles available: http://www.chartcourse.com