For an HR leader, employee engagement is likely one of the outcomes one cares most deeply about. Not only is employee motivation and job satisfaction a reflection of how happy one’s workforce is, but it is also directly correlated with employee retention and productivity.
But there’s one catch: job satisfaction and motivation are super difficult to move the needle on. Both are challenging to define and notoriously difficult to measure.
However, with the right tools, any workplace is on the right track to becoming a conducive working environment, one that keeps numbers up, meets every goal, and, more importantly, keeps workers happy. Therefore, we are going to explore exactly what employee satisfaction is, along with best practices to measure and improve levels of employee motivation within your own organization.
What is Job Satisfaction?
Job satisfaction refers to the extent to which a worker feels fulfilled in their role. There are many factors how to improve employee satisfaction levels, including (but not limited to):
- Compensation and benefits
- Relationships with managers and colleagues
- Company culture
- How valued they feel in their roles
- Leadership transparency
- Their perception of work-life balance
If all of this comes off as very conceptual, you’re not wrong! When so much of employee engagement is rooted in emotion and perception, how exactly are you supposed to measure it? That’s what we’ll address in the next section.
How Do You Measure Employee Job Satisfaction?
Just as you would with any other outcome, you have to measure satisfaction levels over time. To do this, identify which employee satisfaction metrics you want to focus on. Here are a few we recommend:
1. Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI)
The ESI is a number between one and 100 that indicates the satisfaction levels of your employees. The index is based on three questions:
- How satisfied are you with your current workplace?
- How well does your current workplace meet your expectations?
- How close is your current workplace to the ideal one?
Employees rate each question on a scale from one to 10. You can start with this formula to calculate the actual score:
ESI= sum of all employees’ scores divided by (/) maximum possible score multiplied by (*) 100
2. Turnover rate
This is an indicator of how many employees have left your company during a specific period of time. To calculate turnover rate, divide the number of employees who voluntarily left your company within a specific period by the number of employees at the beginning of that period.
3. Employee feedback
Not all metrics have to be purely quantitative. In fact, we encourage companies to weigh qualitative data just as heavily. Feedback gives more nuanced responses that provide context and can help identify broader themes when it comes to the state of employee motivation within your organization.
Now you might be wondering: how exactly do I get this information from my employees? When it comes to data collection, there are three methods we recommend:
a. Employee survey. One of the best ways to collect both quantitative and qualitative feedback from employees is through an anonymous survey. If you’d like to use our template to work off of, check out the employee satisfaction survey we created.
b. Insights from existing HR tools. If you’re using HR software—whether as a recruiting or survey tool—use it to your advantage! Most high-quality platforms will have an analytics dashboard that allows you to pull out data from specific periods.
c. 1:1 conversations. Finally, having conversations with employees can motivate them to speak out, making it a powerful way to collect feedback. Some people may feel uncomfortable sharing constructive, honest feedback with you, so we wouldn’t rely on this as your primary or sole source of information. But even a few 1:1 sessions can add more color to your existing data – especially if you can assure employees that their feedback is confidential.
6 Best Practices to Motivate Employees
Every employer will have a slightly different approach to improving how employees feel about their jobs. But there are six best practices that apply almost everywhere:
1. Start with compensation
- Fair pay gives employees a feeling of appreciation and motivation. Unfortunately, 46% of professionals feel they’re underpaid at their jobs, which means nearly half of those in the workforce wish their pay would better reflect their efforts.
2. Help employees utilize their healthcare benefits
After salary, employee benefits likely serve as an organizational motivator—specifically healthcare benefits.
That’s where Healthee comes in. Healthee offers personalized healthcare benefits guidance to employees—whether that’s helping them discover what’s covered by their insurance, choosing the right plan during Open Enrollment, identifying an in-network provider for their specific needs, or how to save money on care.
3. Create opportunities to build connections
An important factor in keeping employees highly motivated is having meaningful relationships with colleagues.
- Host team-building activities to bring people together (virtually or in-person).
- Encourage employees to take moments away from their desk, whether by taking a walk with their manager or grabbing a virtual coffee with colleagues.
- Introduce interest groups, such as a book club, to help teammates connect through shared interests.
4. Offer manager training
Being promoted from an individual contributor to a manager is essentially like starting a new job, given the number of additional skills, responsibilities, and knowledge one needs to acquire.
- Navigate tough conversations with empathy
- Improve their communication skills
- Have more productive performance reviews
You can also create shared spaces for managers to learn from one another. For instance, at Healthee, we have a Managers Forum that meets every six weeks. During these sessions, our managers discuss everything from leadership tactics to their current struggles, giving them the opportunity to learn and grow in their roles.
5. Launch a recognition program to highlight employee motivation and job performance
To prevent this from happening, introduce a recognition program to acknowledge the contributions of your workforce. For recognition to be highly motivational, make sure it’s
- Regular. Demonstrating employee gratitude once a year doesn’t cut it. For employee recognition to be effective, it needs to be given consistently—whether that’s on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on their performance.
- Immediate. Waiting too long between the positive action and the employee recognition causes it to lose meaning.
- Specific. When recognition is specific, it comes across as more genuine.
6. Create a culture of psychological safety and belonging
Psychological safety is the belief that your voice will be heard when speaking up with new ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Cultivating a culture of psychological safety doesn’t happen overnight, but there are steps leaders need to take to move in that direction. According to a report by McKinsey:
“Our research finds that a positive team climate—in which team members value one another’s contributions, care about one another’s well-being, and have input into how the team carries out its work—is the most important driver of a team’s psychological safety. By setting the tone for the team climate through their own actions, team leaders have the strongest influence on a team’s psychological safety.”
Focus on Employee Job Satisfaction, Performance, and Retention
Employee job satisfaction is a hard issue to tackle, but there are tried-and-true ways to increase employee engagement levels at your organization. If you want to use your healthcare benefits as a way to create a happier and highly motivated workforce, consider introducing Healthee to help your employees get the most out of them.