So, what do we need to do?
First and foremost, employees want to feel as if they are doing meaningful work and contributing to a larger goal, both for the company and for themselves. They want to know that their work matters, and that management both recognizes and appreciates their contributions. For this to happen, certain things are key:
Development. It’s important for companies to have a strong internal training program in place to both recruit and retain employees. The younger generations, in particular, are looking for leadership development as well as training in their specific job functions. Many employees want to know there is somewhere to go within the company beyond their present position.
Recognition. Employee recognition continues to be a vital aspect of employee engagement, satisfaction and longevity, and numerous psychological studies provide empirical evidence to support this notion. We all want our efforts to be noticed and appreciated.
Flexibility. It’s important to take the time to understand the needs of our employees and possibly adjust internal practices to accommodate those needs, which may be different for different generations of workers. For example, work life balance and flexibility are highly valued by millennials, while options for health insurance and retirement plans may be more important to older workers.
Continuous Improvement. Finally, continually improving processes and gaining efficiencies that help alleviate frustrations and overwork can have a big impact on job satisfaction. This goes back to creating meaningful work and minimizing the time spent on tasks that don’t add value.