There are few better places for your business to invest in 2024 than in its employees. Happy, motivated employees are a huge asset to your organization: they’ll be more productive, increasingly engaged, and ready to go the extra mile when duty calls.
However, employee satisfaction is difficult for business owners and HR leaders to manage.
Recent years have seen significant changes in employee expectations. Remote work has taken center stage in a push toward more flexible working patterns. At the same time, employees are increasingly looking to their employers to create a sense of community.
It’s a tricky balance, but one that’s crucial to the success of every business in 2024 and beyond.
What is Employee Satisfaction and Why is it More Important Today?
Employee satisfaction measures how content your business’s employees are with their job. When an organization has high levels of employee satisfaction, everyone is excited to come to work each day. Your office will be buzzing with energy, a vibrant hub of productivity and connection. On the other hand, when satisfaction levels are low, employers can expect poor performance, high levels of turnover, and difficulty hiring.
In the current job market, employee satisfaction is more important than ever. Ever since the pandemic, employee resignation rates have reached historic highs. And employers are struggling to fill the gap. Economic data shows around 8 million job openings across the country as we entered 2024.
Taking steps to ensure high levels of employee satisfaction boosts retention rates and makes your business a more desirable place to work, ensuring you can attract (and keep) great employees who will carry your business toward success.
Current Trends in Employee Job Satisfaction
In so many ways, the pandemic redefined the employer-employee relationship. Today, the balance of power has shifted. The increasing adoption of remote work has opened up a world of new opportunities for employees. Today, companies that fail to meet the expectations of their employees are at risk of losing their most talented team members.
It’s a test many organizations are struggling with. Research from Gallup shows that after peaking in 2020, levels of employee engagement have declined, with just 32% of employees reporting they were engaged in their roles in 2022.
Many employees, however, report strong relationships with their co-workers and managers, according to the Pew Research Center. Two-thirds of workers reported being extremely satisfied or satisfied with their relationships with their colleagues, with over 60% indicating they were happy with their relationships with their immediate supervisor.
The gap in employee satisfaction doesn’t necessarily come down to the team and managers your employees work with. Instead, it seems more likely that organizations as a whole need to do more to foster higher levels of employee satisfaction.
4 Strategies to Improve Employee Satisfaction
Analyzing the trends in employee job satisfaction leaves one clear question: what steps can businesses take to improve employee satisfaction and increase employee engagement? Here are four strategies and actionable tips.
1. Adopt Flexible Scheduling & Working Arrangements
Data shows that adopting flexible working schedules is one of the best ways to boost employee happiness. Research found that 35% of employees report they would be happier at work if their employer provided more flexibility. What does that look like in practice? Here are a few ways your business can offer employees increased flexibility.
Remote or Hybrid Work
Today, many jobs can be done remotely or on a hybrid basis. Opening this option up to your employees significantly boosts satisfaction, removing hours of commuting time every week that your employees can spend on their work or with their families.
Less Mandated Hours
The days of the traditional 9-5 are over. Today, employees want the flexibility to pick their kids up from school in the afternoon, or work out in the morning. There’s no need to throw your business’s schedule out of the window. Instead, consider making some small tweaks. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Give employees a choice of start and end times (e.g. the option to work 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. or 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.).
- Move to mandated hours where all meetings are scheduled and give employees the flexibility to schedule their own work around these (e.g. employees must be online 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., but can complete their remaining three hours of work whenever suits them best).
Asynchronous Communication Options
Flexible work schedules only work well when a business has the infrastructure to support them. By using tools like Loom and Slack instead of meetings, your business ensures that employees can continue to communicate easily, even if they’re not working at the same time.
2. Invest in Employee Appreciation Programs
Celebrating work anniversaries and major accomplishments is key to boosting employee satisfaction. Everyone likes to be rewarded for a job well done. Your employees are no different.
82% of employees report being happier when they’re recognized at work, according to a SurveyMonkey study which found that improving employee appreciation can boost retention.
Employee appreciation can come in various forms, from non-monetary incentives like public praise in chat threads, to more traditional routes like quarterly bonuses. The best plan for you depends on your business, your budget, and your employees.
Here are a few employee appreciation ideas to get you started:
- Cash bonuses
- Additional time off
- Employee appreciation gifts
- Celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries
- Private and public praise
- Events, such as holiday parties or celebratory meals
3. Provide Professional Development Opportunities
Many employees, particularly the ones you want to keep, are ambitious go-getters hungry for continued career progression. As their employer, it’s your responsibility to provide those opportunities. If you don’t, they’ll start looking for them elsewhere.
These professional development opportunities can take various forms. You might sponsor your employees to attend a conference or trade show, pay them to take a professional training course, or provide mentorship opportunities with senior executives.
The beauty of this approach isn’t just that it benefits employee satisfaction; it also enhances the skills and capabilities of your employees. By investing in professional development opportunities, businesses aren’t just investing in employee satisfaction, they’re also nurturing their future leaders.
4. Offer Branded Merchandise
Gifting your employees branded merchandise isn’t just a nice thing to do; it’s a way to make them part of something bigger than themselves. Promotional products with your logo and branding give your employees a clear identity to associate themselves with.
Great corporate gifts make your employees feel like part of the team. It’s the same reason that people buy the jersey of their favorite sports team. Shared bonds and connections are key to our happiness as humans. It’s a principle that applies just as much in the workplace as in the bleachers.
Consider offering an onboarding kit to welcome new employees to the team. Alternatively, you could set up an annual pop-up shop that allows employees to select their own branded apparel. However you do it, make sure to gift high-quality branded merchandise. These gifts serve as a symbol of your relationship with employees. Besides, the better your branded merchandise, the more often it’ll get used, boosting both employee satisfaction and brand visibility.
Start Improving Employee Satisfaction Now
Taking a thoughtful approach to managing employee satisfaction is vital to your business’s ability to attract and retain talented professionals. Things have changed significantly in recent years, and if you haven’t updated your employee appreciation strategy, you may be falling behind the curve.
If you need assistance choosing branded merchandise or employee appreciation gifts, reach out to a GoDelta Brand Consultant. We’ll work with you to select unique, high-quality items your employees will proudly wear and use.