The Society for Human Resource Management has been surveying employee satisfaction since 2002. The results of that survey in 2015 showed job satisfaction is at an all-time high. The percentage of workers that reported being “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” was 88% of those surveyed.
So before you translate these numbers to everyone is happy, consider this. A “somewhat satisfied” rating means that there is some component of the employee’s job that is not as they would like it or expect it. In fact, only 37% out of 88% were “very satisfied” so that could translate to 63% of employees are a retention risk. If the right employer or situation is presented to that group, there is a good chance these employees would consider their options.
While results are positive, employers are cautioned to look for areas where improvement is possible. A large percentage of employees reported being satisfied “to a certain extent.” Maybe those are the folks gathered by the water cooler and grumbling or perhaps they are part of the group of employees that report being less than fully engaged. The survey tracks engagement on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 5 is fully engaged). The average rating is 3.8, not bad, but still there are employees that are less than fully engaged. Lower-levels jobs appear to have the least engaged employees. There is still much opportunity for HR managers and employers to improve on the great foundation that is in place.
The top factors for job satisfaction and engagement are listed as:
- Respectful treatment of employees
- Job security
- Trust between employees and management
All good reminders of what matters to people most.
As the demographics of employment continue to shift in favor of the employee, it will be important for HR managers, and the employers they work for, to keep pushing for even greater levels of employee satisfaction. Retention is directly tied to satisfaction and a small dip in retention can have a significant impact on the overall employee cost. Attracting new employees is significantly more expensive than maintaining the ones an employer already has. Just ask a recruiter. The market to attract an established employee to exit their existing company comes with a hefty price tag. As a result of strong employee satisfaction levels and increasing pay, recruiters, and the employers they represent, are being forced to offer increases in compensation. In some cases, sign-on bonuses are once again being used to lure the best and brightest. As the market for the best talent heats up from the doldrums of just a few years ago, expect to see compensations levels rise for the top 5% of the workforce.