If you stood up in a room full of business owners and stated how important it is to keep good employees every single one would nod in agreement. So if it is that important, why does 12 % of the American workforce change jobs each year? Employee exit surveys seem to always focus on why people leave their positions. But by then it’s too late. You’ve already lost them.
Wouldn’t we be better off to figure out what motivates them to stay? One common misconception in what makes employees happy has to do with salary. I’ll admit that pay is the most important consideration for workers struggling to make ends meet while earning the minimum wage. But salary drops to number four on the satisfaction scale once an employee achieves a wage that affords them a decent standard of living. So, let’s get to the list.
Employees say the most important factor in their job satisfaction has to do with how they are valued by management and the overall organization. Workers want to feel like their contributions on the job will be appreciated. They want their ideas to be viewed as important, their opinions taken seriously, and feel they are trusted.
The second item on the list deals with working conditions. Happy employees have job security, know what is expected of them, and have advancement potential. They are passionate about what they do and derive a high level of satisfaction from their work.
Next in order of importance has to do with the other members of the team. Are their coworkers professional, friendly, and accepting? Is there a feeling of camaraderie in the organization? Is their supervisor approachable and even tempered? The surest way to pollute a workforce is to hire a new employee without considering how they will fit into your existing organization.
Then, after salary, comes benefits and perks. Every employee wants paid vacations, retirement programs, and health benefits, but other little things can make a big difference. Workers really respond to having flexibility in their schedules, job sharing, or the ability to work from home on occasion. They relish opportunities to enhance their skills through trainings and seminars paid for by the company. Other appreciated perks are the small spontaneous bonus or a few hours of paid time off for a job well done. Knowing what makes your employees happy is only half the battle. The other half is figuring out a strategy to use the knowledge to retain your valuable staff. Next week, we’ll talk about what it can cost to lose a good employee.

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