As a manager, the job satisfaction of the people in my team is important. If I am honest, it is more to do with the psychological need to get one with people and my in-built desire as a teacher to develop those whose careers I am responsible for than it is about productivity. But employee satisfaction is closely correlated with positive business outcomes; data between 1984 and 2009 suggests that companies on the ‘100 best companies to for work in America’ earned 2.1% higher stock returns than the industry averages.
A 2019 Siad Business School study using Gallop data coving nearly two million employees across seventy-three countries showed a significant, strong link between employee satisfaction and corporate performance. The study measured four business outcomes; customer loyalty, employee productivity, profitability, and staff turnover. The researchers found that the higher the satisfaction of staff, the lower the staff turnover and higher customer loyalty. The correlation was weaker with productivity and profitability, but they were still linked.
Ultimately, higher wellbeing at work is positively correlated with more business-unit level profitability.Krekel et al.
How to improve employee satisfaction
The basics matter, like job security, opportunities for development and progression, and fair compensation and benefits all need to be present. If these things are in place, one of the simplest ways to make employees happier is to produce a well-run company where staff are treated as people. Keep employees consulted and informed about company plans, provide them with clear goals and objectives, foster psychological safety, and follow periods of intense work and long hours by quieter times for recovery.
One quick activity to take from Biz Stone that makes a big difference to my teams work satisfaction is emailing a short weekly update. Writing around 350-450 words or producing a three-minute video at the end of the week summarising things people should know keeps them informed and connected to what is going on. Give it a go, set up a read counter, and get some feedback.
If in doubt, follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”