The Secret of Happiness…at work

We all know what it’s like. That feeling of itchy feet. That realisation we’re ready for pastures new…

A survey of 2,000 people by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) released last week found that job-seeking has hit a two-year high and job satisfaction is down. Rather than being content to stay put, candidates are looking elsewhere – not because they have to, but because they want to.

What do candidates want?

According to the CIPD:

  • 24% of candidates are on the job hunt
  • 23% believe their organisation’s performance management processes are unfair
  • 27% are dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job
  • 36% say they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation

But it’s not all bad news – more employees are happy (41%) than unhappy (36%) with their current level of pay.

5 ways to improve job satisfaction

The job market is changing.  And for most at least, money isn’t the answer.  What really pays is knowing what candidates value most.

Totaljobs’ own survey of more than 200,000 people from 189 countries with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that the five most important factors for job satisfaction were:

  1. Appreciation for your work
    Make sure good work is recognised by line managers and that senior members of staff are aware of such work.  Simple gestures like sending an email and copying in the team to highlight a great piece of work that has been done by a colleague can be a sure-fire way of achieving this.
  2. Strong relationships with colleagues
    It’s important that there is a sense of cohesion within the team and regular staff socials can help facilitate this.  Quashing office politics and encouraging a supportive office environment and strong team ethic are also helpful in this regard.
  3. Good work-life balance
    Striking a good work-life balance is vital for keeping your team happy.  Many employers are becoming aware of the benefits of flexible working and basing the working day around their employees’ other commitments.  This means offering reasonable flexibility with start and finish times.  Of course, this is not always possible and those unable to offer flexitime should try and discourage staying at work unnecessarily late.
  4. Good relationships with superiors
    It’s important that employees feel comfortable sharing any concerns they may have with their superiors.  Regular 1-1 catch-ups can be a great way of ensuring that employees are happy with things like workload or career development opportunities and that they are not feeling overly pressured.
  5. Company financial stability
    Employees want to feel confident in the financial stability of their employer.  You can help by celebrating good news and being transparent with your employees about big wins.  Equally important is being transparent.  If things aren’t going as well, it’s important to share this.  Not only can it be a motivator, it helps to build trust.

Foster these key ingredients and you stand the best chance of keeping candidates happy and staff turnover low.

For a full list of ‘happiness factors’ at work, see below.

Happiness on the Job: Most and Least Important Factors

  1. Appreciation for your work
  2. Good relationships with colleagues
  3. Good work-life balance
  4. Good relationships with your superiors
  5. Company financial stability
  6. Learning and career development
  7. Job security
  8. Attractive fixed salary
  9. Interesting job content
  10. Company values
  11. Opportunities for travel
  12. Flexible work models
  13. Additional benefits
  14. Family support Programs
  15. Company car

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