SHRM Executive Summary


Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Doors of Opportunity are Open

Although job satisfaction is overall high in the workplace according to this survey, there is always room for improvement. Organizations are in a constant pull to keep employees engaged before facing high rates of turnover. They are recognizing that keeping employees engaged and satisfied are key ways to keep them around. Overall 38% of employees are satisfied with their job. This survey will identify key concepts and factors that employees express is crucial to keep they engaged and satisfied in the workplace.

Issue: Job satisfaction is fairly high increasing from 2013-2016, there is always room for organizations to improve on employee engagement. Without commitment to employees, leads to higher turnover and lower productivity.

Insight: Fairness and transparency are two key factors that plan a fundamental piece in creating job satisfaction in the workplace. These standards can increase organizational commitment, job satisfaction and productivity.

Implications: Integrating fairness and transparency into daily procedures, can have a major effect on the organization as a whole if played right. Leadership much display these types of behaviors in turn employees are more likely to follow suit and create trust and openness and establish more of a positive relationship between leadership and employees.

Methodology of survey: The findings from this executive summary finding is from SHRM Employee Satisfaction Survey of 600 U.S. employees. This data was collected in December 2016 by an external survey research organization. Surveys were completed through a web-based portal, which was led by a panel. All employees were full-time and part time with their companies for at least three months. The survey was broken down by 44 components of job satisfaction in categories including career development, compensations and benefits, employee relationships with management and work environment. The five factors that employees evaluated as the most important job satisfaction contributors were as follows; respectful treatment of all employees at all levels, compensation/pay, trust between employees and senior management, job security and opportunities to use their skill and abilities at work. Below we will examine what the greatest contributors to employee engagement are and how employees polled them. Respectful treatment of employees at all levels

It seems as though this is common knowledge to respect all employees, however the topic has been on the forefront and worth discussion. This encompasses a wide variety of challenges in the workplace as it relates to employees’ perceptions related to respect. This ranges from diversity and inclusion to prevention of workplace violence and harassment. Growing and building culture within an organization can come with contest if a company is structured with hierarchy roles or has a homogenous workforce.

Workplaces that welcome fairness and allow employees to be open and honest with their thoughts, concerns and opinions, even if views are opposing, offers a trustworthy space where respect is held and ideas are valued.

According to the survey, in 2016 about 65% of employees in fact agreed that respectful treatment of employees at all levels is very important and 38% of workers were very satisfied with this aspect. The aspect however reflected differences among workforce demographics:

· Female employees (72%) were more likely to report this aspect as important over Men employees (57%) were.

· Millennial’s (45%) were very satisfied with this aspect compared to Generations Xers (31%)

· Individual contributors (31%) were less likely than executives (52%) to be very satisfied with the level of respect shown to employees.

As a result, in the importance of respectful treatment and the differences between opinions, these are some suggestions:

1. Gain self-awareness and strive for improvement. Organizations that encourage self awareness and self-reflection among employees will see positive impact and behaviors when it comes to problem solving and relationship building.

2. Consider whether your organization may benefit from a civility policy and/or training: Organizations that encourage workplace civility and respect could reduce the opportunity for inappropriate conduct and harassments. With policies in place and trainings offer to employees, employees are offered a way to collaborate and improve on these skills and levels of civility in the workplace.

3. Create bystander intervention training program: Along with offering trainings for employees that focus around understanding inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, offering teaching opportunities for employees to practice mediating potential situations and scenarios. These types of trainings encourage changes in norms and attitudes among employees. This reduces the risk of offensive behavior. (Mentor program for millennials) Compensation/pay

About two-thirds (61%) of employees stated that compensation/pay is a very important contributor to job satisfaction, yet only 26% of employees noted that they were satisfied with their compensation. This is the largest gap between the two comparisons.

· Millennial employees (37%) were more likely to specify they were satisfied with their pay compare to 20% Generation Xers and 22% Baby Boomers.

The most obvious suggestion to employers with regards to compensation satisfaction would to be keep it simple and straightforward, that is to clearly communicate compensation. Employees that understand their pay structure and how well managers explain the system and how fair and unbiased the process is offers trust and understanding which is turn relates to job satisfaction.

Trust between employees and senior management

Building trust as a strong foundation between employees and senior management is crucial in the success of an organization. If the psychological safety of the employees is compromised, this can lead to damaging outcomes and challenges within the organization. Studies have shown that transformational leaders rather than transactional leaders are more likely to foster and develop trust among their subordinates which in turn creates positive results, organizational commitment, job satisfaction and motivation. 61% of employees rated this aspect as important and on the reverse, only 33% were satisfied with their level of trust towards their organization. Suggestions include: 1. Create an open-door policy. Leaders that encourage employees to bring their ideas, comments and questions to them directly offers a sense of connection and team without their being any negative consequences. Studies have recognized that employees have found more understanding and appreciation to procedural fairness when welcomed to an open door policy, this too created a sense of organization commitment and job satisfaction. 2. Commit to reinforce openness. As the open door policy, feedback systems are in place for employees. Managers must be able to communicate effectively in return. This is recognized with a transformational leader also is open will create a safe space for employee to speak without judgement or fear. Leaders who promote and display openness are more likely to create an environment in which employees will follow in their footsteps. Job Security Along with compensation/pay and stability, job security comes to be a very important aspect of job satisfaction. Any risk that can interfere with the permanency of workers’ employment can impose a great amount of harm to individuals short-term and long-term.

Among all members that were a part of the study it was animus that all employees want to experience guaranteed employment, but often times don’t feel reassured in their current roles. Opportunities to use skills and abilities Empowerment and job enrichment opportunities have a large influence on job satisfaction among employees in the workplace. Job enrichment is described as provide employees with more stimulating work, challenging job duties and offer intrinsic rewards for a greater sense of fulfillment. 56% of employees shared that the opportunity to use their skills and abilities was very important to their job satisfaction. Of that 44% were currently satisfied with the opportunities given to them. Survey Analysis Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Doors of Opportunity are Open provides a lot of insight into the workforce and what it takes to keep a workplace and its employee satisfied. When looking at the results of this survey and how it all relates to the 600 employees surveyed, there was an even split of three primary generations; Millennials (38%), Generations X (35%) and Baby Boomers (26%). There were only 2% of Veterans that took the survey and as noticed in most researched most have been retired out of the workforce for many years. The diversity, opinions, and ideas of job satisfaction and employee engagement within MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 15 these three generations provides a unique opportunity for leadership to really understand these co-horts and build opportunities around each group along with building them up as a whole. Kapoor and Soloman (2011) breakdown each generation characteristic traits as they relate to the workplace. Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are found to have the “live to work” mentality and “tend to respect authority and hierarchy in the workplace” (Gursory et al, 2008). They have tried to adapt and embrace technology. Dahlroth (2008) notes they are having embraced email and respond openly to others who rely on technology for their personal and professional life. Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, have been identified as selfreliant, multi-taskers who can have a skepticism with authority (Crumpacker and Crumpacker, 2007). They are advocates of managing a work life balance, so they tend to work smarter and efficient to make that balance a reality. Millennials, born between 1980 and 1999, embrace technology and all that it brings, which includes constant change. Spiro (2006) states that Generation Y, “are more affluent, more technologically savvy, better educated and more ethnically diverse hat other previous generations” (p.17). Unlike Generation X who thrives on independent working, Millennials crave teamwork and group work. They often require more coaching and feedback to build confidence in their work. Breaking down each generation and their initial working characteristics lays a foundation of how this survey relates to all the participants in the survey. This survey provides a lot of awareness to the needs of employees and what job satisfaction looks like to them. It was clear to see that fairness and transparency is critical in any organization to keep employees satisfied and create a trustworthy working environment. Knouse (2011) suggests the generation Y cohort excels in teamwork settings, they thrive on structure and MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 16 specific goal. this is a way for them to channel their optimism when contributing to the team. Organizations that provide employees with a level of openness and fairness as key elements to their company structure creates trust fairly quickly and allows for individuals to feel part of the bigger picture and success of the organization. This allows for the foundation to be strong and sound to be productive and offer an open floor for ideas, opinions and communication to flow freely and openly and create dynamic conversations and decisions as a whole. When offering these concepts into the workplace it protects relationships and negates the unnecessary bad behaviors, poor teamwork and development growth among peers. Offering this structure in the policies and procedures set the foundation of how an organization can and will be successful when equality and transparency are committed by top down and bottom up. The goal is to drive the team to success and offering the ideal playing field to do that only sets up an organization to do just that. Respect and trust are established by the leadership. Brazeel (2009) adds value to this statement as it relates to Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are often loyal and trusty worthy employees. “Baby Boomers are characterized by their hard work, long hours, and commitment to their employers” (Southard & Lewis, 2004, p.10). This generation is successful due to their trust and respect that they have established over years of working and the loyal they pride themselves on. Baby Boomers also value job security and the notion they will be protected in their role and the company. As mentioned in the survey, this went across the board of all members of the survey that having a sense of security in your job and workplace, you will remain loyal to the company. MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 17 Leadership that provides an open and honest policy and welcomes opinions, ideas to keep things fair, creates a safe and trustworthy work space where respect is held and ideas are valued. As this was observed as important and necessary, some leaders of the older generations (Veterans and Baby Boomers) are adapting to this new concept. Glass (2007) agrees this is a new idea that leaders what to be focusing on “effective communication” along with “incorporating collaborative decision making” (p.101). will offer a fresh outlook on the open door policy approach and begin to build relationships among all levels of the organization. This is when trust is built and employees feel valued, welcome and satisfied. MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 18 Conclusion and Recommendations Bridging the multi-generation gap in the workplace will be an ongoing challenge for leadership. Embracing all ages, work styles, employees needs and motivators signify dedicated leaders willing to create cohesive teams. As Baby Boomers start to retire out of the workforce and Millennials take over majority of the workforce, this is the time to really allow all strengths of all generations to shine, meld and grow. Fox (2011) comments the importance of embracing all generations in the workplace and utilizing each cohort talents to its best ability and gaining success. She states its important in, “understanding how each generation’s values, manifest in the workplace behaviors such as communicating, managing other, getting work done and trying to move ahead” (Fox, 2011). Recommendations to offer tools for management and leaders to adapt to the needs of all employees leading to higher levels of job satisfaction and employee engagement might include: 1. Be well versed in the organizations’ core values that represent being respectful to all employees at all levels and encourage and promote this behavior. 2. When constructing compensation plans, be aware of the audience and the need. Consider all factors when creating a communication strategy. 3. Offer open communication channels that benefit all employees. Strive for consistent and effective communication to promote trust. 4. Create job enhancement opportunities to offer employees to build and develop their skills and provide new challenges to promote and encourage mobility and MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 19 growth within the company and current role. Offering learning opportunities also allows for growth within teams as well and promotes confidence. 5. Promote honesty and positive reinforcements to allow for open communication. It’s crucial for employees to feel well supported and secure in their job and with the organization. Spiro (2006) emphasizes the importance of creating a safe and trustworthy workspace and notes, “everyone desires a workplace and culture that not only allows, but also encourages, him or her to be productive and influential contributor” (p.16). Organizations are realizing that there are similarities within these generations and a focusing on these positive congruent characteristics and build strong teams among all levels. There is so much value bridging the multi-generational gap and embracing the diversity for the positive. This adaptation to change and growth allows organizations to see success in many different lens and allowing employees to feel satisfied, challenged and ultimately valued in the workplace. MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 20 References Brazeel, S. (2009). Recruitment Practices and Generational Characteristics. Offshore.69(12).2. Crumpacker, M, Crumpacker, J. (2007). Succession Planning and Generational Stereotypes: Should HR Consider Age-Based Values and Attitudes a Relevant Factor or a Passing Fad? Public Personnel Management, 36(4).349-69. Dalruth, J. (2008). The Generations Factor. Association Meetings, August.32. Fox, A. (2011). Mixing It Up. HR Magazine: Society for Human Resource Management. 56(5). 22-27. Gilbert, J. (2001). The Millennials: A New Generation of Employees, a New Set of Engagement Policies. Ivey Business Journal: Improving the Practice of Management.1-3 Glass, A. (2007). Understanding Generational Differences for Competitive Success. Industrial and Commercial Training.39(2) Gursoy, D., Maier, T. & Chi, C. (2008). Generational Differences: An Examination of Work Values and Generational Gaps in Hospitality Workforce. International Journal of Hospitality.27. 448-58. Kapoor, C., Soloman, N. (2011). Understanding and Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes,3(4), 308-318. Knouse, S.B.(2011). Managing Generational Diversity in the 21st Century. Competition Forum.9(2). 255-260. MOTIVATING A MULTIPLE GENERATION WORKFORCE 21 Kowske, B.J., Rasch, R., Wiley, J. (2010). Millennials’ (Lack of) Attitude Problem: An Empirical Examination of Generational Effects on Work Attitudes. Journal of Business Psychology,25,265-279. Kupperschmidt, C. (2000). Multi-generation Employees: Strategies for Effective Management. Health Care Manager. 19(1). 65-76. Smith, K.T. (2011). Digital Marketing Strategies that Millennials Find Appealing, Motivating, or Just Annoying. Journal of Strategic Marketing,19 (6), 489-499. Southard, G., Lewis, J. (2004). Building a Workplace That Recognizes Generational Diversity. PM Magazine.86(3). Spiro, C. (2006). Generation Y in the workplace. Defense AT&L.16-19.

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