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The 4 Biggest Factors That Promote Employee Satisfaction

A satisfied, engaged employee is a productive one. One study found that an increase in job satisfaction was directly related to a 6.6% increase in hourly productivity. Other research has found that satisfied employees enjoy 31% greater productivity overall and 37% higher sales. Sometimes the effects of engagement and job satisfaction can even have unexpected returns, including 48% fewer safety incidents.

But just how can business owners go about cultivating the kind of job satisfaction that promotes these great benefits? Luckily, research has an answer. The Society for Human Resource Management conducts an annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report that identifies the top contributors to job satisfaction. Here are the top four from their report.

Respectful Treatment of All Employees at All Levels

Perhaps it’s a little surprising that the top factor – cited by 65% of respondents to the SHRM survey – doesn’t directly relate to the employee’s work or their compensation packages, but it makes a lot of sense. People spend half or more of their waking time at work; it’s only reasonable that they want to feel that their bosses and colleagues treat them fairly and respectfully. This is a workplace culture issue, and management and HR staff should strive to cultivate a corporate culture that rewards and encourages respectful, civil behavior.

Overall Compensation/Pay

In second place comes the usual suspect: compensation. Workers want to be fairly compensated for their time, skill, and expertise. Salary offers should be benchmarked against industry standards to ensure they’re competitive, but employers shouldn’t forget that the total compensation package can sometimes make up for lower wages. Benefits have market value and improving them can help foster happier employees. It pays to think outside the box when crafting compensation packages.

Trust between Employees and Senior Management

Fundamentally, the workplace is about relationships and people coming together to form a team working in service of a common goal. As with any relationship, trust is key to success. If workers do not trust their employers, or vice versa, it will erode job satisfaction and, with it, employee loyalty, productivity, and retention. Good communication with employees is the cornerstone of trust.

Job Security

An employee who is insecure about their employment prospects is not a satisfied employee. Consider this common situation: executives are facing hard choices, and layoffs are on the table. Nothing will sap morale (and satisfaction) faster than feeling like your job is on the chopping block. Remember also that employees pay attention to how the employer handles situations like these, and if layoffs have come out of the blue or have been handled badly in the past, they’ll worry about that happening again in the future.


CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.