Work satisfaction of (all) your employees
Every company that wants to offer its employees a stimulating work environment in the age of relentless competition has to start with employee satisfaction. This is an investment with long-term and far-reaching consequences that gives the company more opportunities to develop, while the employees are given the environment to which they are happy to return to.
There is no uniform definition of work satisfaction; however, science from the field of organisational structures agrees that precisely work satisfaction merits a lot of energy, time and financial resources by the company, since its gains are, in comparison to the inputs, multiplied. Work satisfaction depends on the individual predispositions that each employee cultivates about himself/herself, his/her work and job position, and last but not least, his/her professional ambitions. In addition to this personal belief, employee satisfaction at work is influenced by a large number of other factors, which shows both the complexity and the importance of this concept. In the section Human Resource Management (1998, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ljubljana, p. 152), Ivan Svetlik associates employee satisfaction with the satisfaction of four basic needs:
(1) material needs – these are needs gathered in “to have”, which we satisfy with our salary and other material benefits that employment brings;
(2) safety needs – safety deriving from the stability of our employment (financial security of the future) and social and health insurance deriving from employment contract. In this context we also talk about safety in its most basic form: safety at workplace and within the environment to which we are exposed everyday during work.
(3) social needs – employees are satisfied when they cultivate good relationships with other employees (both superiors and subordinates), when these lead them to bee included into different forms of team work. This raises their work satisfaction and their performance at work.
(4) personal needs – the need to ‘be’, whereby we measure the ability of employees to participate in decision-making processes, access to additional education and trainings.
Adding to this are key points of human relations theories (Strauss, 1968) that explain that the well-being of an employee increases his/hers morale at work; or the theory of emotions (Straw et. al., 1994) which shows that employee’s emotional states are significantly related to their productivity levels.
Even if we measure the performance of an organization through profit alone: the studies conducted by Edmans (2011 and 2012) showed a clear link between employee satisfaction and long-term returns in the stock market. Companies that recorded higher levels of employee satisfaction between the years 1984 and 2011 had in this same period also between 2.3% and 3.8% higher profitability than the industry average.
In our time of fast global changes and technology advances it is imperative that companies and organisations do not forget about their employees and their respective values, feelings and their attitudes towards their workplace – which is something that even the most advanced technologies cannot offer.
On the other hand, the entry of technology and artificial intelligence into various work processes could represent a danger for positive relationships established among employees, which truly points out that the success of a company today depends on the level of satisfaction of employees in a company.
In December 2018 A. T. Kearney performed a research that aimed to check satisfaction (as a person’s primary emotion – positive well-being towards which an individual strives) and broader experience and feelings that individuals experience during work. They selected 500 employees from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region. Employees’ responses shed light on an important indicator: how do the employees interpret the feeling of satisfaction and to which other concepts they relate it to. Most of the respondents related job satisfaction to their direct feelings of harmony at work, their influence and recognition for the work they are performing. According to results of the research, every worker wants his/hers work to be appreciated and that the employer recognises the efforts he or she deserves.
In addition to this, A. T. Kearney survey showed that it is very important for workers to believe that the work done by the organization has a broader positive impact on society: not only an immediate one, but also in the long term. Satisfied employees also achieve consensus more easily than the rest and more easily work together towards the vision of the organization. Especially for the generation of millennials who will shape our future, acting toward a larger goal is a necessary work-related motivation. Although research shows that gender is not directly affecting by employee satisfaction, employers should be aware of the unconscious gender biases, stereotypes, and prejudice that can potentially harm both genders in the workplace and thus reduce overall employee satisfaction.
For all companies and organisations that value employee satisfaction obtaining GEMA Certificate means a step towards the right direction. By acquiring the latter and making the changes that GEMA introduces to the structure and culture of the organisation, GEMA actively engages in all four (4) mentioned spheres of employee needs, thus facilitating higher levels of their work satisfaction. It offers measures to address work and life balance of all employees (remember, above all, women face barriers at the workplace as a consequence of their domestic work and vice versa), regulations of the pay get (ensuring equal pay satisfaction), gender balance at all levels and consequential influence of all employees on work-processes, building of an inclusive organisational culture that provides a space for integration of suggestions and ideas of the employees that work towards a vision of their organisation.