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Job Security No Longer Top Driver of Employee Satisfaction

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In a sign that concerns about the economy may be receding, a survey recently found that job security was not the top driver of employee satisfaction for the first time since 2007. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees ranked a desire to use skills and abilities (63 percent) higher than job security (61 percent) as being important to job satisfaction.

Rounding out the top five factors were compensation/pay (60 percent), communication with senior management (57 percent) and relationship with immediate supervisor (54 percent). The results of the SHRM 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey made note that the top factors often vary from year to year, with things like flexibility and safety ranking highly in years past.

The report concluded with recommendations for employers:

  • Develop existing employees. Frequently, employees have skills and abilities beyond the position for which they were hired, the report notes. HR professionals can help their organizations identify such skills and prepare employees to fill higher-level positions, thus opening up positions that require lower skill levels, which might be easier to fill.
  • Communicate about total rewards. Research shows that compensation/pay is very important to employees, yet satisfaction levels are low. HR professionals can share information about the organization’s compensation philosophy, help employees understand how their compensation/pay is determined and communicate frequently to employees what their total rewards package includes.
  • Build a bridge between employees and senior management. Two of the top five contributors to employee job satisfaction were their relationship with immediate supervisor and communication between employees and senior management. Employers can train line managers regularly and involve them in strategy meetings and activities, so they better understand the organization’s vision and share it with their direct reports. Line managers can be encouraged to listen to and push employee feedback up to senior management.

 You can find the full survey results here.

What factors are most important for your job satisfaction? 

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(Image via Artgraphics/Shutterstock.com)

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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