We spend most of our adult life at work, and being happy in our jobs can have a big impact on how we feel. We investigate job satisfaction, and what companies can do to improve employees’ happiness.
A list compiled by Best Companies, an organisation that specialises in compiling yearly employee engagement surveys, has outlined the ‘best UK companies to work for’ in 2015. They are separated into not for profit companies, small companies, medium companies, big companies and housing associations.
Topping each respective category are the South Liverpool Homes group, clinical software company TPP, insurance company Simply Business and restaurant chain TGI Fridays. The survey uses 8 factors to measure employee engagement, including relationship with manager, room for personal growth and well-being.
In our competitive economy, especially following the recent period of recession, skilled employees are often a company’s most valuable asset, and losing them can be expensive. Therefore it is worth thinking about employee retention, the importance of job satisfaction, and the amount of resources companies dedicate to happiness for their workers.
What makes people stay with a company, and how do organisations keep their employees happy?
Tom Marsden, CEO of Saberr, said: ‘Job satisfaction is essential for any company hoping to achieve sustainable success.’
‘People are typically 70% of the costs of business in mature economies and the main source of a competitive advantage. A company’s overall performance rests on its employee’s individual performance.’
Mr Marsden added: ‘There are huge positive impacts that come from giving an individual the opportunity for autonomy, mastery and purpose as being critical to success.’
Job satisfaction and productivity
Do happy employees make for productive employees? Over the years there have been many studies into job satisfaction and increased productivity. Most companies now accept that there is some sort of link between the two.
John Lees, career strategist and author of How to Get a Job You Love said: ‘There are fairly weak links between levels of motivation and levels of productivity and work efficiency.’
‘Job satisfaction depends on a very individual and fluctuating mix of motivators, so it's hard for employers to provide a long-term fix.’
Mr Lees added: ‘What they tend to do is to try short term solutions such as throwing money at the problem, which tends to have a very weak effect on productivity.’
More and more organisations are paying attention to the possible links between employee morale and increased productivity.
Topping the Best Companies ‘best big companies’ list this year was TGI Fridays.
The reasons outlined include a strong link with leadership – the Managing Director delivers key messages to the UK team by creating a video message which will then be sent directly to employee’s mobile phones, high levels of wellbeing – there is an employee assistance programme and an occupational health service for all staff, and strong sense of community- with many team building events run across the year.
Small perks and personalised touches like these lead to greater overall morale in employees, leading to a positive company culture and workers feeling a part of something bigger than themselves.
John Lees said: ‘If people feel under-paid or undervalued morale drops quickly, but it's hard to maintain a long-term upswing.’
Mr Lees added: ‘Tried and tested methods include good communication, frequent leadership attention, and encouraging employees to feel as if they are part of an enterprise and making a significant and valued contribution to it.’
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