The Drivers of Employee Satisfaction

By | August 23, 2006

The FT published its Best Workplaces 2004 study. The findings show that the most admired companies consistently do well in four areas:

Respect – People are shown respect by the organisation and also on a peer-to-peer basis as well. With respect comes trust, and feeling you are trusted counts significantly towards your self esteem.

Work-Life Balance – This doesn’t mean employees are looking to ‘only’ work their contracted hours. What they are looking for is some give and take, whether that’s around family crises, personal illness, or getting the washing machine fixed. The feeling that the organisation can ‘flex’ its policies on a fair basis counts for a lot.

Pride – People want to feel proud of where they work. That pride might be connected to some work in the community, the way customers or employees are treated, or their work environment.

Job and Skills Advancement – People want to feel that as individuals they are developing and their organisation is facilitating that development.

All these themes connect to one thing. An organisation that has a sense of its own identity, what it stands for, and how its people fit into their vision. We’ve developed a ‘quick test’ that gets at the drivers of becoming a great place to work. Organisations that demonstrate the seven attributes outlined below tend to be places where employees want to work.

  • A coherent vision and a consistent approach to working towards it.
  • Values based. Personality based businesses tend only to build cohering teams around the personalities, being values based means the personalities are transcended.
  • Customer Driven. A genuine and verifiable approach to firstly meeting customers needs and wants in a formalised way and then empowering people to exceed those expectations as they see fit.
  • A functional, self confident (never arrogant) management team that demonstrates real leadership behaviours.
  • A balanced scorecard approach to measures and objectives that takes a medium to long term view.
  • A preparedness to take the tough decisions, early and as fairly as possible.
  • An organisation which wants to stay ahead of its sector’s learning curve. Yes it makes mistakes, but it always tries to ‘fail forwards’, taking something positive from the error and making some new connection or testing another insight.

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