What keeps the modern employees satisfied?
Updated: Apr 22, 2022
Look around you. Do you notice people are losing their sense of belongingness to their employer? Do you find companies finding it difficult to retain good talent for the longer term? Do you find companies battling with always-on hiring while having high turnover costs? Yes, sadly this is the trend in most workplaces today.
The workforce undergoes a cyclic generational shift. Millennials, who already contribute to about half of the workplace, are set to make up nearly 75% by 2025. This generation grew up in times of technological advancements, with information and social media overload. For companies, it is really important to understand their needs, desires & influences for effective employee engagement. To add further complexity, we have seen the biggest shift workplaces have undergone with the advent of Covid-19. No matter how good organizations claim to have adapted to remote/hybrid work culture, significant challenges are dawning upon them.
Effective employee engagement has never been more important to organizations than now. According to a research finding by Gallup, actively disengaged employees cause U.S. companies between $450 – $550 billion in lost productivity per year. An engaged employee believes in the organization’s strategy & vision, goes the extra mile to meet business objectives, and acts as a custodian of the organization for the outside world.
So what drives employee engagement?
As for most things involving human behaviour, no one answer fits everyone. Even within an organization, where you will find like-minded people, individual motivational drivers vary. Hence, the leaders need to have breaths in their planning & ensure the most important factors are addressed appropriately.
Organizational culture is really broad and entails several aspects. As per Edgar Schein’s model, there are three levels of organizational culture, Artifacts, Espoused values & Underlying assumptions. While organization values and underlying assumptions are somewhat submerged, artefacts of how people within the organization conduct are fairly visible. However, with remote working, these artefacts need to be emphasized & made distinctly visible to employees. More than 50% of CEOs and CFOs say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rate. Leaders need to emphasize establishing & imbibing the organizational core values and keeping their workforce aligned to the organization’s mission and vision.
Often, employees aren't fully aware of the specifics of their roles and responsibilities at the time of hiring. In the early career phase, people are okay with having some bit of ambiguity around it, as they are open to learning new skills and gaining new experiences. As people start getting into the depth of specific fields, role alignment plays a significant role in their work satisfaction. An individual can not stay longer without finding his alignment with the role and hence if ignored, it leads to early attrition.
Learning and Growth Path
This is arguably the most important factor employees consider for their work satisfaction. 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Learning starts right when employees join an organization via formal or informal training programs. Employees regularly lookout for building more skills aligned with their medium to long-term career aspirations. At the same time, having fair visibility and a path toward growth within the organization is critical. It provides employees with a guided path to aspire for their growth and a long-term career in the organization. In the absence of a defined growth path, however, employees tend to lose motivation and look out for new opportunities externally.
Feedback & Recognition
People crave attention by nature and more so when they have achieved a good feat worthy of appreciation. This desire has only been intensified by the social media overdose. The newer generation of employees is also receptive to taking constructive feedback and continuously improving. They are achievement-oriented, hence a regular feedback loop with managers is highly valuable for them. Leaders and line managers play a crucial role in establishing timely and quality processes around recognition & feedback. This is a lever that creates an immediate boost in morale and productivity for employees.
Purpose & Value
The newer generations are more inclined toward finding a purpose in their work. People often ponder on what value they are adding to organizational objectives or the lives of their customers. They are no longer satisfied with being just a cog in the machine. Hence, the role of leaders becomes extremely important in guiding their team and establishing the facts around purpose and value generation.
Policies & Processes
An organization’s people policies directly influence employee morale. When the policies are designed with business objectives of frugality, while compromising on employee sentiments, it leads to organization-wide disengagement. With a remote and distributed team in the future, this becomes a really sensitive aspect for organizational leadership.
Perks & Benefits
Employees dearly value extra perks & benefits on top of salary credit. They might be lower on the priority list when deciding on a new work opportunity, however, play an important role in keeping employees satisfied in their current organizations. Traditional perks & benefits do not provide employees with flexibility in choice. These gifts are impersonal & generic, much like a financial remuneration. Employees look for more personalized & customized rewards. Several platforms can create your rewards/benefits gamified and customized.
So with this, we have discussed key drivers of engagement for the ever-evolving workforce. If you noticed, we have purposely kept monetary compensation out of the list, which unarguably is an extremely important motivator.
 How To Make Your Workplace Millennial Friendly - Forbes
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