Employee morale and a high job satisfaction – one is an employer’s concern, the other is the employee’s … right?

We’d argue differently. In the current employee/employer relationship dynamic, where employees have the upper-hand due to the record low unemployment rate, it’s critical for employers to care about not just the mood of the workplace (employee morale), but also each individual’s job satisfaction.

Employers who do, and invest in it, see rewards, like:

  • Higher employee engagement
  • Better retention
  • More employee referrals (Tip: learn how to set up an employer referral program)
  • A reputation as an employer of choice

3 Steps to Improve Employee Morale & Increase Job Satisfaction

Step 1: See Where You Stand

Why do you want these things? Before you start making changes, drill into the “why” of why employee morale and your employees’ job satisfaction matters to your organization. (Hint: It’s not to increase profits; that’s a result.)

Reasons Employee Morale Matters to Your Organization

  • We care about our employees’ happiness
  • It’s important to us that our employees are professionally fulfilled
  • Our employees deserve to feel proud of their work

Take the Temperature of Your Workforce

Employee surveys and ongoing conversations among leadership and the workforce are critical. You can’t make the right changes if you don’t know what is bothering your employees. Learn more about making the most out of regular check-ins with your employees.

Step 2: Invest in Individuals

Give Them Opportunities

Career growth opportunities are the No. 1 reason employees leave their jobs, according to a 2018 study by the Work Institute. Want to edge up that retention number?

Ways to Increase Employee Retention

  • Learning Opportunities: 4 in 10 Millennial employees would leave their current job for one that offers professional development programs (Gallup). Employees are hungry to get a leg up – feed them by building their skills.
  • Training: 48 percent of HR professionals say training existing employees is the most effective recruiting strategy for hard-to-fill positions (SHRM)
  • Career Mapping: Creating a plan for your employees’ company journey shows confidence in their work, encourages them to think of themselves as long-term leaders and puts mutually accepted goals in place for growth. Learn more about Planning for Promotions.

“CFO: What happens if we train them and they leave?”
“CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

Recognize Employees

Everyone likes to be acknowledged and thanked for what they do A quality company culture will encourage gratefulness among its workforce. Here at BirdDogHR, we use “Bucket Slips” to spark some recognition, and pretty much everyone displays them publicly. Bucket slips are notes our employees give each other to recognize, praise and show gratefulness. The giver writes the reason and drops it off at the recipient’s desk. Every month or so, our HR pro comes around and tallies up how many Bucket Slips each person has. Then, he hands out swag bucks. Each bucket slip earns one swag buck, which employees can exchange for any gift card of their choice.

Promote from Within

A company that makes a commitment to promoting from within earns a good reputation, quicker hire times, better morale and lower costs. Just be sure to pair your internal promotion plan with great managerial and leadership training, so you don’t end up with a “bad boss” crisis.

Pay Your Employees Enough

It should go without saying, but this “invest in individuals” section is based on the idea that you are already paying a living wage. After all, according to this CNBC report: “The percentage of American full-time minimum-wage workers who can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in any U.S. state without being what the government calls “burdened” is so vanishingly small – less than one percent – that it rounds down to zero.”

It’s hard for employees to have high morale or job satisfaction if they can’t live without a roommate or spend over 50 percent of their earnings on housing.

Step 3: Align Your Company Strategy

Lead By Example

When leaders pick up the mantle of continued learning, bold leadership and believing in their employees, they show that the company is exactly what it preaches. Great leaders don’t command, they lead by example, and they do it in a way that builds up the people around them.

Set Challenging Goals

You know who makes a satisfied employee? Someone who likes a challenge. But if you give your employees a role that is too easy for their skills, you’re setting them – and yourself – up for a short-term relationship. Employee morale and job satisfaction aren’t tied to performance; they’re tied to the feeling employees have about their performance. It’s the difference between making an uncontested layup versus a drive, pivot and hook shot. Both are two points, but which one makes you smile?

To learn how you can create a meaningful experience for employees that make them want to stay and grow with your company, read Overcoming the Workforce Skills Gap: Future Proofing Your Workforce.

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