Three Components of Employee SatisfactionBy Laura Petrolino

This last week I’ve spent some time thinking about the components of employee satisfaction. This is a really timely topic for me for a few reasons. First, on the 28th I celebrated my two year anniversary at Arment Dietrich.

(Two years!?! Can you believe it? I’m not sure how Gini Dietrich has put up with me for two years straight, but hey….I’m not going to question it.)

And most importantly, our team is growing (and an awesome team it is). I want to make sure two years down the line, the rockstars we have now can reflect on the time they’ve spent as part of our team with the same passion, excitement, and gratitude as I do now.

We spend a majority of our lives working, so low employee satisfaction levels are really sad to think about. We’ve all been in jobs that have been rough for one reason or another, and it’s no way to live. Low employee satisfaction always equals low employee motivation, and no matter how much you try—you can never bring your best work to an organization where you are not happy.

Several components affect employee satisfaction, and based on the person, each one takes a different level of priority. While reflecting on my time at Arment Dietrich, I’ve laid out the most important aspects or the organization which have kept me a happy, motivated, and passionate employee.

Growth Opportunities are Key To Employee Satisfaction

Every job I’ve ever had—from the sales floor of Nordstroms, to the head of my college aerobics department, to work with United States Senators—has taught me something. And with each lesson I’ve grown into a better and more capable professional.

My time at Arment Dietrich has definitely followed suit. When I think back on how much I’ve learned and grown as a professional in the past two years I’m incredibly grateful.

Learning is a key component to life in our organization, it’s part of what we look for when hiring, and one of our company values. I’m pretty sure I learn something every day, and if I don’t it’s on me, not because the opportunity isn’t there. That’s priceless.

As a leader, Gini encourages and facilitates these opportunities, and also serves as an amazing mentor to help guide and support. In my mind, this is one of the most important roles a leader plays for their team, but unfortunately so often overlooked.

I could never stay someplace if I didn’t feel the leader was facilitating my growth and helping me become a better professional. Just like any relationship you have in your life, you choose (or should choose) people who help you become a better version of yourself. Your job is in many ways one of your most important “relationships,” and should be treated accordingly.

Career Advancement for Employee Satisfaction and Motivation

While I know there are some people who are perfectly happy to comfortably play the same role and sit at the same level in an organization for years—I am DEFINITELY not one of them. I pour everything I have into the organization I work for, and I want to feel confident that my hard work will be rewarded through career advancement opportunities.

I’ve never “glass ceiling-ed” myself, and I certainly won’t be part of an organization (or any relationship) which does it to me.

Employee satisfaction and motivation require goals and the understanding of consequences of hitting or not hitting those goals. Those consequences take many different forms, but in the end if career advancement opportunities are not part of the equation, your top team members will look elsewhere.

The Power of Appreciation

Appreciation is a crucial part of employee satisfaction. And this goes beyond tangible forms of appreciation such as salary, promotion, bonus. While these are all an important part of the equation and are part of an overall sense of appreciation, for me simply knowing I’m valued is extremely important.

As humans, we need to know we matter. Our work is such an important part of what we do and how we affect the world, if we aren’t provided feedback that what we are doing is making a difference, it’s incredibly demotivating.

Often leaders feel like that are showing appreciation, when really they aren’t. Or they rely on the more tangible forms of gratitude vs. just taking a moment to express to a team member their importance to them and the organization.

I always try to self-check myself and make sure our team really understands what an important role they play and how much they mean to the organization (not to mention me personally). Gini is a pro at this, and I’ve learned a lot on this front from watching her.

Trust: The Ultimate Indicator of Employee Satisfaction

All of these components come together to form a sense of trust among team members in the organization and it’s leaders. To me, this is the most precious gift to have in a job and when you’ll inspire the best from your employees.

To know that you will be treated fairly, rewarded in proportion to your work, and can trust in the organization’s investment in you as a person and a worker—that’s a trifecta which creates the best results.

What components of employee satisfaction would you add to this list?

photo credit: Christmas tree star via photopin (license)

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

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