Back in June 2014 we attended the annual SHRM Conference and Exposition where we met hundreds (maybe thousands) of interesting Human Reosurce professionals, journalists, students, etc...
One group (visiting from Asia) that we spoke to was "AIRY GLOBAL HR HIVE"...a new Human Reosurces related blog and information website.
They were interested in speaking with us about a number of HR related areas so after the conference we continued our dialogue and did an interview for them recently on what drives Employee Satisfaction.
The transcript of the interview is below BUT you can also read the full interview HERE (full article includes introduction, images, formatting and extra content)
[INTERVIEW]: TIPS AND THOUGHTS ON EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION FROM SATISFACTION@WORK
Airy Global HR Hive: What do you think are the most important but often overlooked factors for employee satisfaction?
Shea Heaver: Working relationships and feeling valued are critical to all employees and, therefore, the success of any business. Too many organizations fail to acknowledge and address these issues.
Working relationships are the greatest source of inefficiency for many organizations. Humans are naturally unique and none of us are born with an instruction book! We generally learn about each other by trial and error – so it's no wonder our relationships are frequently vague and uncertain. To minimize waste in our working relationships we need to be talking to each other, see what makes the other person tick, inviting and offering feedback and problem solving on each other's needs.
Feeling valued in the workplace directly impacts our senses of self-awareness and self-esteem. That then creates a positive self-image that allows us to work to our full potential.
When significant people in our lives listen, respect our contribution and reward us appropriately, we feel valued and become more productive.
Employees with high self-esteem are more productive, happier, less stressed and more enthusiastic about work and life in general.
"High self-esteem is the fuel for performance"
AGHRH: What do you think best motivates and encourages an employee to voice out concerns?
SH: When employees feel valued and have good working relationships they are much more likely to be open and eager to engage in two-way feedback. This is the backbone of increased employee engagement.
Employee feedback is probably the most powerful, yet under-used and ill-used management tool. It is about sharing your reactions to another party's ideas, feelings or behavior. Employee feedback in a safe and non-threating manner should be a regular occurrence and staff will feel more motivated, involved and willing to contribute their true opinions and views.
AGHRH: What are solutions can you provide in solving conflict within employees?
SH: Employee conflicts are not caused by differences, but by how those differences and are managed. With conflict and dysfunction at work taking up as much as 35% of a manager's time, it makes sense to develop a culture that builds relationships and helps eliminate people problems.
AGHRH: How can companies best establish individual and team goals? Is there a step-by-step procedure they can follow?
SH: Companies should not establish individual and team goals, individuals and teams should! Employee engagement and productivity needs to be addressed at the local level with the employee and the 5, 7, 10 people they work closely with.
The traditional approach of a lengthy, annual opinion survey followed by HR and management digging through responses trying to find trends or a one-size-fits-all solution simply does not work.
A May 2014 Forbes article echoed these sentiments when it opened with "The days of the annual engagement survey are slowly coming to an end, to be replaced by a much more holistic, integrated, and real-time approach to measuring and driving high levels of employee commitment and passion."
The best approach is an ongoing initiative where staff partake in a short diagnostic (survey) that measures employee and team needs across critical areas, and then empower them to make the changes to improve.
Tips on how to foster employee satisfaction:
Shea listed down some tips on how to effectively approach employee satisfaction:
- Measure level of satisfaction in key personal areas of need and concern (not opinions on company, management, etc...)
- Ensure results are tabulated and available quickly/immediately for the individual and teams (i.e. at the local level)
- Teams meet to review their results and establish a schedule of activities and meetings to address most important areas (meetings and activities should be no more than 30 minutes and bi-weekly at most)
- From each meetings and/or activity session, individual and team goals are established with a 'due-date'
- Continue working on activities and goals for predetermined period (2 – 3 months)
- Retake diagnostic to measure satisfaction levels and review/track progress
- Repeat steps 3 – 7
If you truly want your organization to be successful, you're going to want to keep your employees motivated and satisfied. While that fact may not be new, it's important to keep in mind that employee satisfaction and engagement has many nuances; it's not as simple as giving your employees a raise or giving them goals to reach. A holistic approach is the best way to go about employee satisfaction; listen and talk to your employees, foster and nurture relationships, and create a culture of openness for feedback in your workplace.
Link to Full Article