Tag Archives: employee satisfaction

Tailoring Jobs

Tailoring In The Workplace May Lead To A Better Fit

A good fit between employer and employee ups the chances that the employee will find his or her job fulfilling and be more productive. This was confirmed by a study sponsored by WorldatWork, “Organizational Culture and Total Rewards: Person-Organization Fit (2010),” which found that employees who share similar values with their organizations tend to be more satisfied with the total rewards packages offered by those organizations. And that kind of employee satisfaction enhances employee engagement.

But wait, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Surprisingly, the same study found that employees who are more satisfied with their organization’s standard benefits package are less likely to be engaged in their work. That’s because benefits packages, which are uniformly distributed among employees of a similar classification, are perceived differently than other rewards such as bonuses, which are performance based.

“This research has several practical implications for employers,” said Ryan Johnson, vice president of research for WorldatWork. “If organizations want to have engaged employees, it makes sense for them to attract and hire people who share similar values to the organization. It’s also important for them to offer a total rewards package tailored for their employees and not just a standard benefits package.”

Employee engagement is a key ingredient among workers who are committed to the mission and goals of their organization. Employees are more committed to organizations whose values align with their own. If an organization is socially minded, it would do well to hire employees who value corporate social responsibility. If a hospital’s mission is to provide integrated health care, it will have an easier time attracting and retaining physicians who value collaboration. If a company’s goal is to revolutionize digital music, it ought to hire creative people with an appetite for some risk.

Sounds like all one has to do to ensure productivity is to hire employees with similar values to begin with, right?  Not necessarily, says Johnson.

“For innovation-driven companies, hiring like-minded employees could have a negative impact on innovation within the organization. You need to consider all the factors.”

Listen to your employees - AZ Business Magazine June 2010

Listening to Employees

In tough times, the give-and-take relationship between workers and employers needs to be nurtured

U.S. productivity is up. According to the latest reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual measure of labor productivity increased 3.8 percent from 2008 to 2009. While some may view this as a sign of an economic recovery, the fact is more than 15 million Americans are still unemployed, the national unemployment rate is hovering near 10 percent and the economy isn’t creating many jobs. Any near-term growth in business is likely going to come from getting more out of the current work force; and the best way to get more out of workers is to help them be more focused and engaged.

While the recession has brought higher productivity per employee, it also has lowered employee satisfaction. Employees are distracted and unable to focus on the job at hand. The Tell It Now poll by ComPsych, an employee assistance provider based in Chicago, found that about three in every four employees are somewhat to very worried about job stress and workload.

Based on the latest research, here are five ways employers can strengthen the exchange relationship in which the employer provides monetary and non-monetary rewards to employees in return for their time and talent.

Communicate more, even if it’s negative
Conceptually, most employers know that communication impacts employee motivation and commitment. Unfortunately, this conceptual understanding does not always translate into action. In fact, the New York-based human resources consulting firm Watson Wyatt’s (now Towers Watson) 2009/2010 Communication ROI Study of 328 employers found that many companies plan to scale down their communication to workers. A 2009 Gallup study of 1,000 employees found that 25 percent feel ignored; that is, they receive neither positive nor negative feedback from their bosses. Neglecting employees is far worse for morale than negative feedback, which at least lets people know they matter. It seems employees crave communication, even if it’s negative.

Pay particular attention to the sales force
In the early stages of economic recovery, many organizations rely heavily on their sales forces to recoup lost revenue. During this critical time, organizations need to ensure they properly motivate their sales force in order to achieve positive results. The best place to start is to simplify the sales compensation plan, such that it can be discerned and executed easily. Joseph DiMisa of Sibson Consulting, a human resources consulting firm with offices in Phoenix, is the author of “Sales Compensation Made Simple.” He says, “There’s a difference between being complex and being complicated. You do not need to have numerous measures, mechanics and linkages to ensure good performance.”

Create career development opportunities
According to the association of human resource professionals WorldatWork’s 2009-10 Salary Budget Survey updated in January, at least 50 percent of employers froze pay for some or all employees in the 2009 recession, while 13 percent cut pay. Cash-strapped organizations are turning to intangible ways to reward and motivate employees, such as career development opportunities (33 percent), non-cash rewards and recognition (28 percent), leadership training on employee motivation (21 percent), and flexibility options (20 percent). Career development opportunities can come in many forms: working on important projects, helping in another department or branch, volunteerism, or training and certification. While training and certification do entail some costs, several associations are offering scholarships to help those who are unemployed, underemployed or underfunded.

Expand programs to include hourly workers
Employers tend to exclude nonexempt workers from flexible work arrangements based on traditional limitations, such as work hours and safety requirements. A recent study by WorldatWork and the Work Design Collaborative, Flexible Work Arrangements for Nonexempt Employees, found that the three biggest industrial sectors allowing hourly employees to telework were manufacturing, education and business services. Manufacturing came as a surprise, as it is traditionally dominated by nonexempt employees working on-site. The study concludes that allowing hourly employees to take part in flexible work programs is becoming more of a business imperative. As such, employers need to have a process in place to determine eligibility. They must also utilize formal employer-employee contracts regarding alternative work arrangements.

Add value by offering voluntary benefits
With the rising cost of employee benefits, how can employers enhance the value of benefit offerings without adding to overhead costs? The answer may lie in voluntary benefits. A 2009 study by the insurance company Unum finds that employee satisfaction with benefits plans is 19 percent higher among employers that offer voluntary benefits than those that don’t. What’s more, these benefits do not cost the employer anything and help employees afford a plan because rates are based on the group rather than the individual. Examples of voluntary benefits include ID theft insurance, pre-paid legal plans, pet or vision insurance, hospital confinement indemnity plans, and other types of supplemental insurance. Finding ways to keep workers happy without impacting the bottom line is a definite advantage in today’s competitive environment.

The economy has certainly dealt a hard blow to today’s work force, but employers still have options to help their employees. If nothing else, the downturn has served as a catalyst for ways to enhance the employee-employer exchange relationship.

Arizona Business Magazine June 2010

Two men walking down stairs, out of focus, black and white

Human Resources: New Program Will Reward Companies On Their Core Values

“Successful companies work closely with their management teams and employees … ”

As the economy begins to rebound, companies are looking at how they can maintain a competitive advantage. They want to make sure they can hang onto the best and brightest employees once hiring starts ramping up again. Many successful companies will rely on their strong employment brand — their corporate culture and values system — to help keep employees engaged in good times and bad. Is your company prepared?

In January, the business consulting firm BestCompaniesAZ and Arizona Business Magazine launched a new award program called Arizona’s Most Admired Companies. Unlike other award programs that reward based on growth or revenue metrics, Most Admired Companies will showcase businesses that demonstrate core values. The program will honor Arizona-based companies across the state based on employee, customer and community opinions. Public, private, government and nonprofit organizations with 50 or more employees are eligible to participate. Winners will be announced at an awards reception this fall, with their profiles published in Arizona Business and online at www.BestCompaniesAZ.com.

In selecting Arizona’s Most Admired Companies, four critical areas will be evaluated:

Workplace culture:

Successful companies work closely with their management teams and employees to establish a clear set of corporate values and a shared vision. By doing so, they create a positive corporate culture that drives the company’s direction.

Leadership excellence:

The quality of a leadership team can make or break a company. Dynamic leaders will embrace, support and promote desired corporate values, vision and culture. They also will connect effectively with their employees to ensure that all members of the team are properly trained, motivated and empowered to carry out their jobs. Research has established the positive effect a strong leadership team has on increased productivity, higher rates of employee satisfaction and better overall financial performance.

Corporate and social responsibility:

Many companies are actively involved in the community and help give back in both time and money. Getting involved with charitable organizations is a great way to share a company’s success and introduce a company to the community as one that truly cares.

Customer service:

It all starts with how a company treats its employees, and this carries through to what customers think about an organization. The Most Admired Companies program will look at what customers are saying about a company’s employees and service levels.

Here are some ways to learn more about and become involved with Arizona’s Most Admired Companies program:
  • Self nominate your company or a company you most admire.
  • Discuss with your employees why you are participating in this state program and involve them in the application process.
  • Celebrate your success by providing employees with feedback when the results come in. Whether you land on the list or not, you will capture essential information that warrants celebrating. Just by participating in this program, you are making a statement to your employees that you care and are committed to creating a most admired company and culture.

The marketing and branding of your company is not a start-and-stop process. Granted, tough times create tighter budgets, but that’s when successful companies find unique opportunities to keep the momentum going — such as being recognized as one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies. Use this time to think and plan strategically. The best companies will weather the storm and continue to promote their employees, company and product brands, keeping them top of mind and ahead of the competition. When the economy turns around, you’ll be well positioned to attract the best and brightest customers and employees.