4 Ways To Improve Employee Satisfaction in Small-Medium Sized Businesses
We’ve had a really busy couple of months internally and our content focus has been tilted towards providing free templates and guides, as appose to our more traditional blogs and papers. However, in the coming weeks we’re looking to produce a number of informative blog’s on subjects that our network has requested.
For our first piece of content we wanted to discuss employee satisfaction and how critical it can prove to be in small-medium sized businesses. This blog is ideal for Senior Leaders (CEO’s, Managing Director’s, Operations Directors) and HR/People teams who are working for businesses with 800 employees or less.
Below you’ll find an introduction to employee satisfaction, information on why it is important and an analysis of the benefits and risks involved when investing into this part of your business. Towards the end of the blog you’ll find four simple to implement tips for SMB’s who are looking to improve satisfaction across their teams.
Employee Satisfaction Overview
Employee satisfaction could be best described as how content each member of your team is in their role and overall within your business. Those businesses with a robust and well thought out employee experience (EX) are more likely to have higher employee satisfaction.
It is important to note that employee satisfaction is not the same thing as employee engagement. You could have a very satisfied team who are disengaged – satisfaction helps but it does not guarantee engagement! Satisfaction typically focuses on how the employee is feeling, engagement looks more at the impact and influence that individual is having on the organisation, linked to the experience provided by the organisation itself.
Potential benefits of high employee satisfaction include:
- Higher chance of increased productivity and performance
- A more collaborative culture
- Better relationship between colleagues, managers and senior leaders
- Less internal politics and red tape
- Increased innovation and ideas being generated
Risks with investing into employee satisfaction:
- If employee satisfaction initiatives such as surveys are not taken seriously, they just become a tick box exercise and cost the organisation money
- You could invest heavily into employee satisfaction and create a great work to place, but this does not guarantee high productivity and improved performance
Four tips for small-medium sized businesses looking to implement an employee satisfaction strategy…
#1 Employee Feedback
It is proven that in order to feel satisfied employees must be provided with a voice. The approach that you take to gathering the feedback doesn’t really matter, it’s more about what you do with the data that will generate results. Here’s a few ideas on how to gather feedback:
- Employee surveys
- Employees committees
- Employee champions
- Employee focus groups
Once you have understood what’s going well, what could be better and what needs improving, its critical to create a clear list of actions, that is then communicated out to your team. Then ensure that you delivered on these actions and measure the results in the coming months.
REMEMBER: Gather feedback consistently. An annual approach will provide you with far too much insight that you simply cannot deliver on – it’s also one moment in time!
#2 Leadership and Management
The old saying “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses” is a great representation of how important your leaders and managers are across your business. People Management isn’t easy – anyone who has been involved with it in the past will share a similar view. So, what are you doing to support your managers and senior leaders? Here’s some ideas…
- Management development programme – teaching the foundations of management, with a number of tools and techniques
- Leadership development programme – understanding the step up to become a leader, compared to management. How to you create team members who are accountable, engaged and motivated by you, not those who are helping you to achieve results set by leaders.
- Future leaders programme – identifying your future leaders early on, will help them to develop the required skills before they even take up a people management position. It also means that you can promote from within – reducing costs and the associated risk!
If you want high employee satisfaction then its really important to provide clarity on opportunities available within your business. Not all businesses are in a position to give their team consistent promotions with better financial opportunities or chances to lead teams but the thing is – not everyone wants this! It’s really important that managers work with each member of their team to learn about what is important to that individual. Some people want more flexibility, some may want extra qualifications and others want things that you won’t have ever thought of! This is where tip #1 and #2 come into their own. Stop making decisions based on your gut feeling or your latest flavour of the week – make them based on evidence!
Over the last three years the number one improvement area that our clients teams have provided feedback on is communication. It is such a simple thing to do, but many of us do it badly. Some businesses do not communicate enough which leads to confusion, frustration and lack of clarity. Others over communicate or only use one method, which can lead to key messages being missed. Both of these have a negative impact on employee satisfaction. Here’s some communication ideas for you try out:
- If you have the budget then we’ve seen intranets completely transform businesses – this is a central hub where employees can learn about the latest updates from senior leaders, collaborate with other teams and also take ownership of communication themselves.
- Leadership lunches and drop in sessions – to avoid hierarchy and teams feeling as though leaders are disconnected from the rest of the business, lunches and drop in sessions can improve relationships between everyone in your business. So simple and best of all it is cheap!
- At a more local level weekly team huddles can prove effective too! This is where all managers sit with their team on a Monday to set goals and filter actions related to these goals for the week and review them consistently. Again – looking to provide clarity and improve satisfaction.
In summary there’s a lot that you can do when it comes to improving employee satisfaction. If used in the right way employee satisfaction can directly impact productivity and performance. However, be careful not to give your team too much and get nothing in return – this may result in a happy team that love to come to work, but do not generate the results required. In order to balance employee satisfaction you also need a strong performance strategy – which is linked to reward and recognition too!
If you have any questions regarding employee satisfaction then you can contact the team here…
Learn more about how we’ve helped businesses such as The Rugby League World Cup 2021 to improve employee satisfaction here…
Founder & Managing Director