“What do you do?” You probably ask this question when meeting someone new. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, making it a core part of who we are, and naturally, how we relate to others. Because of its importance, we’re continually evaluating our satisfaction with work, which basically comes down to one question: is our relationship with work meeting our needs? This makes it essential for employers to understand and measure job satisfaction, but also challenging, as we all value different parts and rewards of working.
Five Core Areas of Job Satisfaction
When evaluating job satisfaction, there are five core areas to consider:
1. Pay and Compensation
2. Opportunities for Promotion and Growth
5. Work Tasks
Importantly, job satisfaction serves as a tipping point for behavior, “do I do whatever it takes to finish this project?” and retention, “do I stay with this company or start following-up a few promising job opportunities I heard about?” In fact, satisfied employees are more than three times more likely to stay with their current employer for the next year.
Employee retention is most likely to improve when your strategies are driven by information about job satisfaction as it relates to the entire employee experience. In addition to the factors listed above, job satisfaction can be influenced by organizational performance, the quality of new hires, and even the economy – just to name a few. Fortunately, technology allows us to collect thousands of data points about the employee experience using everything from Human Resource Information Systems and performance data, to Pulse Surveys. Whereas 20 years ago we were faced with tough choices about what data to collect, now the challenge is how to best make sense of the data we have. With employee and customer experience data, hiring assessment results, and performance metrics – you have a vast amount of information to gather insights in order to increase employee retention and job satisfaction. Data analytics, which is simply the process of finding patterns across sources of data, can help you make sense of the many different sources of information available. As it relates to understanding job satisfaction and retention, here are three powerful sources of data: 1) Employee Experience Surveys, 2) Hiring Assessment Results, 3) Succession Planning and Performance Evaluations.
Employee Experience Surveys
An employee experience survey measures job satisfaction, as well as the key drivers of employee engagement and retention, like the quality of leadership, coworkers, the services and products your employees work to provide, and work environment. Survey data can be broken out by job group, tenure, or other important variables allowing you to make critical connections across data. For example, we know attitudes and beliefs are contagious, and leaders strongly influence the attitudes of their teams. Dissatisfied or even apathetic managers can negatively influence their teams; indeed there is a strong link between manager satisfaction and team retention. Survey data allows you to understand the state of manager satisfaction, its drivers, and how this affects individual contributors.
Employee Experience Surveys also allow you to ask important questions specific to your organization. Depending on your industry, job groups, and a multitude of other factors, you may want to measure satisfaction with other parts of the employee experience such as:
- Efficiency and effectiveness of policies and procedures
- Future direction and strategy
- Schedules and work hours
- Parts of the employee experience unique to your organization and needs
Further, you can also ask employees about their future behaviors, or intentions, which allows you to link employee satisfaction and perceptions to critical outcomes. The following intentions and behaviors are worth including in your survey:
- Likelihood of staying with the organization for the next six months
- Intentions to refer the organization as a place to work or do business
- Likelihood of giving 100% effort even if you doing less would be acceptable
By measuring the complete employee experience, you will have the data you need to identify the key drivers and outcomes of satisfaction – and an indication of your turnover and retention rates in the future.
Hiring Assessment Results
If you are using hiring assessments, you can correlate, or link, results for specific assessments to tenure and turnover data. Is there a stronger relationship between scores and retention for specific tests or subscales than others? Corvirtus regularly (at no cost) determines the relationship between assessment results and turnover. This is valuable information as it informs what qualities and abilities are linked to retention and allows precise adjustments in your hiring assessments.
Linking assessment scores to job satisfaction is more difficult, as employee experience surveys usually must be anonymous. However, you may be able to look for relationships between satisfaction and assessment results at a department or unit level. Exit interviews or surveys, on the other hand, are a great source of data for understanding if reasons for leaving, or type of turnover (voluntary, involuntary), is linked to assessment scores, allowing you to adjust assessments to ensure the greatest prediction of performance.
Succession Planning Metrics
Only a third of companies have a succession plan, and all too frequently these plans focus exclusively on C-level leaders. Succession plans not only support stable growth, but the process of succession planning provides your teams with performance feedback and clear expectations for promotion and compensation (a key area of job satisfaction). By tracking employee performance on key competencies and requirements for advancing to the next level (e.g., education and training programs, experience requirements), you will confidently know how many employees are prepared to advance – and can communicate these expectations to employees. You can also link the performance information you collect to turnover and retention metrics. If you find performance on specific competencies are linked to retention and job satisfaction, these areas are likely essential to your business and culture. Employees may struggle to thrive in your organization with weaknesses in these areas. Given this information, you can then adjust your hiring, training, and development programs to tackle these competencies and improve retention, satisfaction, and your ability to reach key business results.
Data analytics, or linking data across different sources across your organization, can provide powerful information for improving job satisfaction and employee retention. With an increasingly, deeply understanding what drives retention is essential to your ability to sustain growth and expand market share. Building stable, high performing teams is achievable when each part of your talent management ecosystem is aligned with your vision and purpose. Any talent management effort – from increasing satisfaction to quality – should begin with what you aspire to achieve. To explore this to its full potential, download our whitepaper - 4A Model: A Roadmap to Purpose-Driven Talent Management
Normative measurement of job satisfaction in the U.S. Journal of Managerial Psychology. (2016). Vol. 31, Issue 2.
The “Roots” and “Fruits” of Employee Engagement. Corvirtus Whitepaper.