Boosting job satisfaction is actually quite easy, it just requires a commitment from managers.
More than anything, it comes down to treating employees with respect.
Here are 15 simple (and mostly free) ways to boost job satisfaction.
Be Transparent With Employees
It’s important to be transparent with employees and include them in what’s going on in the company. Knowledge is power, and you want to empower your employees as much as possible.
It’s even more important to share bad news and negative information with employees. When you share bad news and open up, you’re being vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is the key to building a relationship based on trust.
Author Brené Brown does an amazing job of explaining this in her TED talk:
This is particularly important for millennials and Gen Z employees.
Everyone wants transparency, but especially millennials. They’re used to a much deeper level of transparency because they grew up with the internet and social media.
Create Social Connections
Humans are social creatures, we need social connections to survive (that’s why social media is so popular), and we have an innate need to share and connect with others.
At work, this can be tough, both because you don’t really know your coworkers and you might get in trouble for talking about non-work related things.
Managers should help create those social connections by organizing events like team lunches, happy hours, whatever they want (Pro tip: ask them for ideas).
But as a manager, you need to initiate, many employees are too shy or scared to make the first move.
Those social connections will make employees closer and get them to collaborate better.
Coach Your Employees
Coach employees, don’t manage them.
As a manager, you want to support your employees and help them achieve their goals, not micromanage them.
Coaching is much easier said than done, not everyone can be the best coach, there is an art and science to it.
Yes, coaching takes time, but it’s worth it in the end. Like Tom Hanks said, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
In Google’s famous Project Oxygen where they looked at what the most important traits were to be a good manager, the number one answer was “be a good coach”.
Have Frequent (And Act On) Employee Surveys
There are two very important points here. You need to have surveys frequently and you need to act on them.
Doing a survey once or twice a year isn’t enough to get an accurate picture of what’s going on in your company. You want to be measuring engagement in as near real-time as possible.
At Officevibe, we run our surveys every week. While that might seem like a lot, we only ask five questions though, making our participation rate very high.
But more important is acting on the survey results. There was research that found that:
- 27% of managers never even reviewed the survey results
- 52% of managers never did anything even when they reviewed
It doesn’t matter which tool you use, how often you do surveys, or what incentives you offer for completing them.
If you don’t do anything with the results, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Banish Fear From Your Culture
As a manager, you want to remove any fear that might exist with your employees.
Encourage them to submit ideas without fear of retribution.
Let them know that their ideas matter and you’re interested in hearing them. Give them a channel to submit those ideas to you.
Fear of retribution is holding your employees back from greatness.
It’s your job to make sure that they’re not scared to be who they really are and that they can grow.
Show Respect To Employees
This is the easiest (but surprisingly most overlooked) way to boost job satisfaction.
All you need to do is show employees the respect that they deserve.
If an employee needs to take some time off to go to an appointment, don’t make it a big deal.
If an employee takes an extra 15-20 minutes for their lunch break, don’t make it a big deal.
Give Employees Recognition
Employees need recognition frequently.
According to research I’ve seen, praising people at least once a week is required because of the way dopamine works in the brain.
All any employee wants is to know that you value their work and recognize when they did something they’re proud of.
Here are 20 free ways to reward and recognize your employees.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
If people are working too much, they’ll become burnt out which will decrease their job satisfaction.
I went into detail about how managers need to set clear boundaries for balancing work and life in a recent post called Technology Is Destroying Our Work-Life Balance.
There are two things you need to make sure to do:
- Tell employees to go home and relax after work and that you don’t expect them to be “always on”
- Be a good role model and practice work-life balance yourself
You want employees that are well-rested so that their energized and productive.
Align The Team Around Goals
There are so many companies out there with no clear mission, no values, no goals, no well-defined purpose.
I find that so sad.
How can we expect employees to be productive if they don’t have a clear goal?
You need to set clear goals for your employees and meet with them frequently to monitor their progress.
Help them (through coaching) achieve those goals by being there for them when they need it.
Give Employees Autonomy
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it all comes down to treating your employees with respect.
When you hire someone, it makes no sense to micromanage them and not let them grow professionally.
It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.Steve Jobs
Trust your employees, let them show you that they’ll be able to figure it out.
Offer Flexible Schedules
Because everything is mobile and online, it doesn’t make sense to restrict people to a 9-5 schedule.
Some people are more productive in the morning, and some people (like me) don’t work well early in the morning.
Let your employees optimize their schedules around when they work best and are the most productive.
It’s in your best interest to give them some flexibility so that they can give you their best effort.
Encourage Employees To Exercise
Exercise is the greatest thing you can do to increase happiness, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.
When you exercise, you feel so much better about yourself and that comes through in your work and interactions with colleagues.
You can offer to subsidize gym passes or organize yoga sessions in the office somewhere.
If you want to go crazy, you can buy employees FitBits or something similar, but even simply educating and encouraging everyone to exercise is often enough.
Create The Perfect Workspace
It’s surprising how much science and psychology plays a role in your satisfaction with your work environment.
The lighting, colors, plants, use of ergonomic furniture all play a role in how satisfied you’ll be at work.
Help your employees do their best work by optimizing all of these things. We’ve written before about the psychology of colors at work, but ask employees what they like and try to optimize the space as best you can.
Offer Good Employee Perks
While perks don’t define your culture, they certainly help retain and attract employees.
Most of the perks that employees want are free, so you should be offering as many as you possibly can.
Again, it all comes back to respecting your employees and treating them with care.
Offering things like unlimited vacations, longer parental leave, lunch and learns, and healthy snacks are great ways to make sure employees are well taken care of.
Give Challenging Work
Employees want to be challenged at work.
Without getting too scientific, the Yerkes-Dodson law says that employees crave challenging work, but not too challenging.
It needs to be mentally stimulating, but not too stimulating that they get overwhelmed.
If a task is too easy, they’ll get bored. If a task is too difficult, they’ll get overwhelmed and don’t finish it. What you want to find is that sweet spot in the middle.
Dan Pink has referred to this as a Goldilocks task.
Work with your employees to figure out what tasks they’d like to work on.
How Do You Boost Job Satisfaction?
Any ideas for improving job satisfaction at work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!