Human Resources and Benefits

How Happy Are Your Employees?

“It doesn’t matter what you build, invent, or sell, your organization can’t move forward without people.”1 

Keeping your employees motivated, engaged, and happy can make a big difference in the long-term survival and success of your organization.  A recent survey by Virgin Pulse2 of over 1,000 U.S. full-time employees revealed employee perceptions of workplace satisfaction.

Some of the findings of the survey include the following:

75% were satisfied overall with the company they worked for and had no major complaints

25% felt a need for better employee-employer relationships

Survey participants expressed a higher desire to feel connected to their work and their co-workers than they did for perks such as free coffee and snacks, foosball, and nap pods.

Among those surveyed:

OVER 30% indicated that they felt most engaged when they had interesting and challenging work responsibilities.  

ALMOST 40% expressed a desired to feel they are making a difference. 

This newsletter discusses ideas for showing your employees you appreciate them and includes ideas for building engagement, motivation, and productivity among your workforce.

1 http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2013/09/08/7-ways-to-keep-your-employees-happy-and-working-really-hard/ 
2 http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140212005834/en/Love-Air-Virgin-Pulse-Survey-Finds-Employees#.Uwfh-cuYaUk

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Cultivating One of Your Greatest Resources —  Your Employees

Employee productivity is affected by a number of factors, including employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall happiness.  There are a variety of methods you can employ to help boost these factors among your employees to create a positive culture within your organization, ultimately leading to improved success of your organization.  This article includes several suggestions for cultivating your workforce, including:  1) ownership and new responsibilities, 2) encouraging use of paid time off (PTO), 3) flexible work schedules, and 4) compensation, benefits, and perks.

Ownership and New Responsibilities

You can help your employees feel an increased sense of job satisfaction by encouraging ownership of the end outputs your company delivers (the final product or service your clients purchase).  Do this by allowing each team member to become familiar with what others are doing and allowing them to contribute ideas for improvement.   When people feel ownership of the whole process and final outputs, they have an increased desire to do quality work.  Also, encourage your employees to leave their comfort zones.  Provide opportunities for them to take on new responsibilities.  This will help build confidence, reduce feelings of stagnancy, and help employees feel they are contributing to the organization at different levels.

Encouraging Use of Paid Time Off (PTO)

In 2013, an average of 3.2 PTO (paid time off) days were left unused1.  About 40 percent of workers claim their employers support taking time off but they are unable to use this time due to heavy workloads.  A smaller number of workers cited lack of support from management in using vacation time.  Encouraging your employees to use their paid time off can help increase productivity as well as improve workplace morale and employee retention.  Employees who take an appropriate amount of time off from work also experience significant health benefits.

Flexible Work Schedules

Flexible work schedules are a nonmonetary benefit employers can offer to help support the work-life balance of their employees.  If managed well, workplace flexibility can help boost productivity.  However, the benefits of flexible work schedules won’t be realized if employers fail to manage their employees and their time correctly.  Clear expectations must be communicated from the start, and schedules must be clear and unambiguous.  Flexibility arrangements should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure they are still effective for both the employee and the employer.

Compensation, Benefits, and Perks

Supporting employees in all aspects of their lives can help boost job satisfaction and productivity.  A recent survey by Virgin Pulse2 found that over 30 percent of employees feel compensation is one of the most important ways their employer can show they care.  In addition to compensation, survey respondents indicated they feel their employer cares when they are offered benefits such as health care, wellness programs, 401K, life insurance, paid time off, career development, and training opportunities.

Many employers that have been nominated as “best places to work” by their employees generally also offer broad-based wellness programs.  These programs typically include wellness screenings, health questionnaires, lifestyle management programs, targeted benefit plan designs, and incentives and rewards.  Of employees who work for businesses with wellness initiatives, almost 70 percent feel their employers care and the same percentage of employees are likely to recommend their workplace to others.  When workplace benefits go beyond what happens within the walls of the business, this can become a positive message to their employees, ultimately boosting retention, employee satisfaction, and the reputation of the company.3

The key is to create a culture where your employees feel they are part of something exciting and challenging, where they feel appreciated, and where they feel supported in all aspects of their lives.

1 http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/study-unused-pto-hurts-productivity-and-the-economy-2739448-1.html
2 http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140212005834/en/Love-Air-Virgin-Pulse-Survey-Finds-Employees#.Uwfh-cuYaUk
3 http://ebn.benefitnews.com/blog/ebviews/job-satisfaction-and-wellness-programs-cause-and-effect-2739125-1.html?utm_campaign=ebn%20in%20brief-feb%206%202014&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter
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