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Ways to Increase Employee Satisfaction

written by: N. Plowman•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/9/2010

Employee satisfaction is difficult to maintain in times of economic uncertainty, budget cuts, and layoffs. However, employers that implement non-monetary initiatives to increase employee satisfaction definitely reap the benefits of lower employee turnover rates and greater organizational commitment.

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    The Importance of Improving Employee Satisfaction

    A company's human capital is its greatest asset, and this asset should not be compromised during times of economic turmoil. Although it may seem difficult to retain good employees during times of payroll cuts and layoffs, it is not impossible if businesses devote attention to increasing employee satisfaction.

    Employee satisfaction is crucial to monitor because productivity relies heavily on job satisfaction. Not only do high levels of employee satisfaction positively influence a company’s bottom line, but they greatly improve employee morale and sense of organizational commitment. These feelings of positive worth and commitment lead employees to strive for personal and professional advancement within their current company rather than looking elsewhere for more satisfying employment opportunities.

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    Five Non-Monetary Ways to Increase Employee Satisfaction

    There are many ways to improve employee satisfaction; however, not all initiatives are feasible for all businesses due to the cost of incentive programs, workforce size, workforce demographics, and management goals. The following five non-monetary initiatives positively influence employee satisfaction and are feasible for large and small business owners alike.

    Reduce Employee Stressors

    A potential source of dissatisfaction is from excessive stress; therefore, a direct way to increase satisfaction is to decrease potential stressors. This can be done by reducing role conflict or ambiguity by better defining employees’ job descriptions and responsibilities. An employer can also reassign tasks or implement a job rotation program to reduce overload and burnout. Other sources of stress arise from inter-employee conflict, which can be decreased or eliminated by providing an onsite mediator or relationship-building specialist.

    Encourage Flexible Work Schedules

    For most workers, an additional stressor is finding the appropriate balance between work and life responsibilities. Many times stress can be reduced and satisfaction improved by providing employees with a more flexible work arrangement. This incentive would allow employees to choose one’s work hours, days, and location to accommodate personal obligations while still meeting business and departmental needs.

    Give Meaningful and Consistent PraiseUntitled 

    When companies experience negative growth, managers and leaders often forget to recognize and reward employees’ accomplishments. Even if monetary rewards were feasible, employees often react more favorably to intrinsic rewards such as compliments, encouragement, and praise. Therefore, business owners and managers should strive to take five minutes each week to thank his or her subordinates for their hard work and accomplishments. This provides employees with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment while motivating employees to continue to work hard and excel.

    Maintain Frequent and Honest Communication

    Communication problems within an organization can be detrimental to employees by lowering morale and hindering positive attitudes. Having formal communication procedures can enhance productivity as well as positively influence employee satisfaction by providing prompt and direct communication results. Furthermore, when company leaders fail to keep the workforce informed, the company's "rumor mill" begins to operate at full speed, which deteriorates employee satisfaction and commitment to organizational success.

    Provide Onsite Wellness Opportunities

    A final strategy used to increase employee satisfaction is implementing an onsite wellness program that increases productivity, improves physical and mental health, and decreases negative stressors. The costs of these programs vary drastically depending on the type of services provided. However, with careful planning and evaluation, small business owners can implement low-cost wellness opportunities such as setting up a small exercise area, offering healthy snacks and beverages, designating a relaxation and meditation area, providing opportunities for nutrition and medical consultation, or scheduling intermittent onsite massage therapy sessions.






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