12 tips for managers to increase job satisfaction on their teams

Written by: Erika Khanna & Alison Robins | Illustrated by: Aless Mc
Published on November 12, 2020 | Reading time: 8m

As the nature of our jobs and the environment of our workplaces shift, it’s essential for managers to keep a pulse on how their team is feeling and how satisfied employees are in their day-to-day.  In this article, we’ll unpack what actually makes employees feel a sense of job satisfaction and offer budget-friendly strategies for managers to keep employee job satisfaction and motivation high on their teams. 

5 key contributors of job satisfaction: 

A sense of purpose and meaning 

Keeping your employees engaged and satisfied in their jobs means helping them feel connected to the work they do, inspired and motivated by a mission, and able to build a sense of purpose and meaning in their day-to-day. 

In a recent study, employees who felt a sense of meaning and significance from their work reported feeling 1.7 times greater job satisfaction and were 1.4 more engaged.

Respectful relationships and a sense of psychological safety

Some of the best memories we make at work come from the relationships we build with mentors and friends. While it may seem like a challenge for remote workers, there are ways to initiate strong bonds and a safe space for employees to be themselves. Employee job satisfaction and employee engagement derive from an inclusive, blame-free environment where employees can learn from one another and grow within a network of friendships and mentorship.

Healthy and productive work environment 

As many employees shift to remote, their relationship with their work environment changes. How are employees feeling about their new “homemade” offices? How are they feeling away from their workplace and colleagues? Here’s an interesting job satisfaction statistic: 

76% of employees are satisfied with their level of comfort in their physical workspace 

Moreover, 66% of employees say their work environment allows them to work distraction free. These are great questions for managers to ask their team on a continuous basis. You can do that using our simple pulse surveys. 

Role clarity and growth opportunities

Employees need to understand exactly what is expected of them to bring the most value and see their impact. Beyond understanding what they are meant to do now, work with your employees to set up career goals and milestones so they see their opportunities to grow.  

Get our free, collaborative goal-setting guide to set your employee on the right path.

Setting Meaningful Goals that Stick

Fair compensation and authentic recognition 

Today’s employees see work as so much more than a paycheck. It offers a sense of purpose, community and belonging. Although, for employees to feel satisfied and engaged in their jobs they need to feel that they are being paid and valued fairly for the work they do. We ask thousands of employees how they feel about the way they are valued in their company: 

  • 44% of employees do not believe that they are paid fairly when taking into account their efforts, skills and experience
  • 32% of employees do not believe that the way pay is determined in their workplace is fair. 

You can survey your employees using these same questions and many more to really understand how they’re feeling about these sensitive topics. These insights will help guide discussions in 1-on-1s.

 12 Strategies to increase job satisfaction

  1. Be realistic with your expectations
  2. recognize good work
  3. Focus on the long term
  4. Communicate communicate communicate
  5. Care about employee well-being
  6. Offer opportunities for learning
  7. Give frequent feedback
  8. Measure engagement frequently
  9. Don’t emphasize perks
  10. Foster relationships at work
  11. Provide a clear career path
  12. Empower employees

1. Be realistic with your expectations

Our Officevibe pulse survey find that only 26% of employees feel that they could maintain a healthy work/life balance. As a leader, your responsibility is to make sure employees aren’t feeling overworked or overwhelmed. It’s important to be mindful about how you assign tasks, despite ambitious team and workplace objectives. 

How do we do it? Check in often on how employees feel about their work-life balance by specifically tracking their Wellness and Work-life Balance levels with a tool like Officevibe. When these metrics are low, take time to dig into the issues and discuss solutions with your whole team.

2. Recognize good work

Our Recognition Hub is a great place to start brainstorming how to authentically recognize employees for the work they do. People need to feel seen and appreciated, but the physical distance of remote work sometimes works against this. Managers must remember to take time to celebrate even small wins and offer positive feedback.

Our research found that 63% of employees feel like they don’t get enough praise. This job satisfaction statistic reveals a huge opportunity for leaders to step up and make their employees proud of their work. 

How do we do it? Set up a Slack channel dedicated towards giving public team and individual praise. Be specific about what you’re celebrating (think about the task, project and the impact your employee had).

3. Focus on the long term

To drive motivation and employee job satisfaction, teams need visibility on the long term vision and strategy of the company. This will help employees connect with the goals and understand how they will contribute to achieving it in the long run.

How do we do it?  Show your team that you value their input by asking them to share feedback on the strategy for the upcoming months. Ask what they agree with, what they would do differently, and what they would add. This helps them feel part of the bigger picture. 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Constant communication is key for both building relationships and ensuring that important work information does not fall through the cracks. 

To create a culture that enables open and honest communication, lead by example. This means communicating your feelings so others feel safe to communicate theirs and providing constant visibility on the information you have. 

How do we do it? Frequently check-in with your team on both a personal and professional level. We do team “Monday morning Check ins” to learn about everyone’s weekends to stay connected and have weekly “Team Updates” to keep everyone aligned on important news and the business objectives. 

  5. Prioritise employee well-being

Showing employees that you genuinely care about their well-being is one of the most effective ways to increase employee job satisfaction. Whether that means motivating employees towards achieving a fitness milestone, or encouraging them to disconnect when they are feeling the early signs of burnout.

How do we do it? Encourage peers to check in on one another and take time in your 1-on-1s to chat on a meaningful human level before jumping into work discussions. Before you can have satisfied employees you need healthy and happy employees. 

6. Offer opportunities for learning

When employees stop learning, they eventually look elsewhere for stimulation. Managers, allow employees to hone in on their skills by attending conferences and webinars , or encourage them to teach others via Lunch and Learns. Keep a mindset of curiosity and learning high! 

How do we do it? Schedule time to speak with your employees about their development and what they want to focus on. Give them concrete information of the learning resources and job training available for them to grow their skills. 

7. Give feedback often

Employees crave feedback on how they can be more efficient, work smarter and perform better. They’ll value the time you took to share the feedback, or especially when it’s constructive. To be sure that your feedback is properly phrased and well-received, take a look at our Manager Toolbox filled with templates and frameworks for giving better feedback. 

How do we do it? Feedback is at the core of our culture and our product. Our 5 best practices can help guide you towards constructive and healthy feedback sessions.

8. Measure engagement frequently

Whether you use pulse surveys, eNPS, or another employee survey solution, the key is to host these frequently. Annual surveys won’t cut it anymore, you need to take a much more agile approach to improving your company’s culture.

How do we do it? Officevibe is the easiest way for managers to measure employee engagement frequently. It’s a completely turn-key solution that collects, analyzes, and suggests ideas for improvements. You can start right now for free

9. Don’t emphasize perks

Perks often give workers joy and convenience, but they don’t prove to retain people. Extrinsic job satisfaction will never be enough to retain employees, although one perk that can go a long way is flex time. 

How do we do it? Let employees self-organize and create working schedules that work best for them. Demonstrate that you trust them and want them to find value in life outside of work. 

10. Foster relationships at work

Having positive relationships at work is a key proponent of overall employee job satisfaction.  Encourage employees to bond about commonalities outside of work to build strong trustworthy relationships that fuel better collaboration and team trust. Business runs better when people work better together. 

How do we do it? We book time every second Thursday from 4-6 pm to unwind together over Zoom, play a team game, or simply see where the conversation takes us. The goal is to intentionally make time to connect as people!

11. Provide a clear career path

To increase employee satisfaction, help employees plan for the long term. This shows them that you’re committed to their success and you’re willing to invest in them. The more you can work with your employees to map out their career goals, the more satisfied they’ll feel.

How do we do it? Set mentorship meetings. Use our goal setting framework as a base to learn how employees want to develop and then set meaningful goals together.  

12. Empower employees with autonomy 

Employees feel satisfied when they feel a sense of autonomy to achieve work that they can be proud of. This means striking a balance between guiding employees and trusting them to make their own decisions. 

How do we do it? Give clear direction then step back. This means learning how your team can apply their strengths and letting them put them to work on their own. 

Keeping a pulse on employee job satisfaction is important, especially in remote settings and in times of high change. By applying these strategies, you’ll create a ripple effect of employee engagement, motivation and meaningful overall job satisfaction.