Many entrepreneurs believe that organisations are born out of ideas that are acted upon with perseverance. Yet, they often forget that it is the employees that take the idea to fruition! While terms like employee satisfaction and motivation commonly do the rounds in office memos and workshops, seldom are they practiced in an intrinsic way, within the organisation. With every industry getting more and more competitive with each passing year and new businesses threatening the market position of established giants, we look at the difference that employee satisfaction can make to an organisation’s performance.
Richard Branson led Virgin group highlights this best, ‘Your employees are your company’s real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen – so long as their needs are being met.’ With multiple successful businesses and an army of happy employees, it is tough to discount these words.
However, 100% employee satisfaction is a myth as there will always be some employees that want more. This can manifest in terms of promotions, more money, location of the work place, distance from the residence, and issues with colleagues and managers, among others. While remaining fair to all employees, the focus here should be on enhancing the satisfaction rate of the ‘right’ employees that are a good fit and critical for the organisation’s success. Identifying these skilled employees can help the CEO and Department Heads devise strategic plans to keep them satisfied and functioning to the best of their ability.
Let’s look at some of the core reasons that make employee satisfaction an important concern for all organisations.
1. Reduced employee cost
Take a look at all the major successful businesses across the globe, and you’ll find one thing in common – better employee retention. When employees are satisfied, they tend to stay on. Whenever an employee leaves, it requires a replacement thus incurring a hiring cost. The more frequent the replacements, the more frequent are the hiring costs. Moreover, each new employee needs to be trained, thus incurring an additional cost just to get him up to speed to do what the previous employee was already doing. Better employee retention saves not only the hiring cost but also the training cost.
2. Improved bottom-line
When employees are satisfied, they tend to stay and grow with the organisation. This ensures they better understand organisation’s philosophy and values. They also grow with the organisation and develop expertise to manage the critical and the complex part of the operations. When more and more employees are retained, it increases the expertise within the organisation. This increased expertise results in the capability to either demand a premium price or reduce operating costs, which reflects in the organisation’s bottom-line.
3. Positive work atmosphere
Simply put, satisfied employees are less likely to crib and engage in office politics that can affect the overall atmosphere of the workplace. Employees that are satisfied tend to look at the organisation as their own and develop a happy and positive attitude towards work. They feel better engaged and motivated to perform their tasks to the best of their ability rather than spend time badmouthing the organisation. For a lot of employees, a positive workplace becomes a motivating factor and they tend to give their best to the job in a bid to stay on with the company for a longer period of time. When the average employee tenure in the organisation goes up, it also sends a signal to the new employees and at least the peer pressure to leave the job is taken away.
4. Give their best in a crisis
An organisation where employees work mechanically, with their eye solely on the paycheck, is sure to face a tough time during crisis. Here, employees are less likely to work through the problems as they find themselves looking at the organisation as a separate entity. On the other hand, satisfied employees develop a sense of attachment to the organisation and work harder during troubled times. Often times, the senior management doesn’t even need to make special requests or coerce the employees into working extra hours. The challenge is looked at as a personal endeavour with employees overcoming all the hurdles with a sense of ownership, pride and loyalty.
5. Adapt to required changes
A business that does not constantly adapt itself to the changing dynamics of the outside world is sure to be left behind. However, when it comes to changes in the workplace, employees can be quite resentful and resist any new changes, impacting the growth of the business. Satisfied employees, on the other hand, are more likely to take things in their stride and contribute by embracing these changes. They look at it as a way to grow with the company rather than the added hassle of extra work. This positive attitude can go a long way in the success of the organisation and its ability to truly stand the test of time.
6. Reduced absenteeism
The first sign of employee dissatisfaction is increased leaves. A major pitfall for several organisations is the number of absent employees on a typical day. Unsatisfied employees are sure to clock in a sick day or take leaves whenever possible, affecting the work flow of the organisation. However, satisfied employees rarely take a day off and do so only when needed. Dissatisfied employees want to utilise their annual quota of leaves completely. Every month they will come late on 2 days because the policies allow late coming for 2 days in a month. Satisfied employees utilise all the time available to them for their and organisation’s growth. By reducing the number of days employees are absent, the organisation is able to achieve a lot more in a lesser amount of time, in turn contributing greatly to its success.
7. Build brand value
Employee satisfaction and the brand value of the organisation are linked intrinsically. For many employees the brand value of the organisation plays an important role in their level of workplace satisfaction. These employees are more likely to work hard and succeed in an attempt to stay on with the brand. When employees stick around longer, it adds to the organisation’s brand and helps in attracting new talent. Satisfied employees are less likely to talk negatively about their workplace to their friends and colleagues and are even likely to encourage people to join. Employees that feel undervalued or unappreciated, on the other hand, are likely to stick on only till they find something better while also discouraging others from joining.
When it comes to building an organisation, the employees are without a doubt, the greatest resource. Focusing on even simple changes that can contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement can reap major rewards for the organisation in the long run. However, achieving this cannot be solely the responsibility of the CEO or the HR Head but has to be implemented at the managerial level for overall growth and success of the organisation.
Yet, even though employee satisfaction is found to have several merits time and again, few organisations are able to get it right. To help you chart out the way to give your employee satisfaction system a boost, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Madhukar Kumar is a leadership coach and believes in the philosophy of “Know Thyself”. His non-judgemental listening coupled with thought-provoking questioning has helped his clients to uncover authentic leadership. Academically, he holds an engineering degree from NIT Surathkal and an MBA from IIM Calcutta.