Why employers need a better understanding of what fulfils their workforce

15 March 2017

Why employers need a better understanding of what fulfils their workforce

A source reveals the results of its Work Satisfaction Survey. It shows a huge disparity between what employers thinks motivates staff and what employees really look for in terms of work satisfaction. 

Today’s professionals are not as driven by salary and the financial benefits of their jobs as their employers think they are.

This is one of the key findings that revealed in the results of a new survey.

Its Work Satisfaction Survey questioned more than 3,500 professionals and employers in the UK to find out how fulfilled Britain’s employees feel. What contributes to their fulfillment and does it match up with what employers think works?

For some employers across the country, the results may come as a surprise.

The research found that only 40% of professionals in the UK claim to feel very or completely fulfilled within their current job.

More than half (58%) said that they would be prepared to take a pay cut to feel happier in their jobs. Clearly, money is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to workplace satisfaction.

According to the findings, British professionals prize relationships with their colleagues just as highly as their salary, with 54% noting both as important factors in overall job fulfillment.

The survey also discovered that 44% of professionals think work that has a positive impact contributes to how happy they are, while 38% cited a healthy work-life balance, and 35% being challenged by the work they do as key to feeling fulfilled.

A divided workforce

However, when it comes to the UK’s employers, there is a very different story.

Almost half (49%) of employers in the UK believe that they have a very or completely fulfilled workforce. And this disparity may well be caused by employers’ ill-conceived perceptions of what causes their staff to feel fulfilled.

According to the employers surveyed, two-thirds believe salary to be a key driver of job satisfaction among their staff.

This is in direct opposition to what was heard from workers themselves. For employers, factors such as work-life balance and doing work with a positive impact on others slipped right down the list of considerations.

With more than three-quarters (77%) of UK employees ready to jump ship if a better job offer comes along, there is clearly some work to be done by employers to ensure they retain current talent and make appealing offers to jobseekers.

With so much competition out there, brands today need to work hard to be the top talent’s first choice, and this task is made much harder if there is a disconnect between what an employee wants and what their employer thinks they want.

But, by taking some simple steps, employers can ensure that they are well on their way to closing the workplace satisfaction divide.

For employers, factors such as work-life balance and doing work with a positive impact on others slipped right down the list of considerations.

Know what you stand for

More than half (52%) of the UK workforce would not consider a job with a company if they did not know or agree with its values and, for one-fifth of UK professionals, aligning with a company’s values is a key factor contributing to their fulfillment.

It is crucial, then, for businesses to communicate a firm sense of what the company stands for, and what it means to work there. This can be done most easily online – by updating a company website with insights from your leadership team, or employee case studies, for example.

Don’t rely on numbers

Although pay may be a key factor when looking for a job, the research found that 58% of UK professionals would be willing to take a pay cut to feel happier at work – and only 18% consider financial benefits such as an annual bonus and company shares important to job satisfaction.

Employers need to take time to prioritise the aspects of a role that really matter to their employees – rather than relying on money to do the talking.

Businesses should consider communicating and taking steps to strengthen the non-tangible aspects of a job, including training and development, the impact and challenging nature of the work itself and flexible working options.

Use employees to connect

Existing employees can connect employers to hundreds or even thousands of potential, like-minded new hires. This is particularly important, given the fact that UK professionals value colleague relationships extremely highly when it comes to feeling fulfilled at work.

Make sure that you, as an employer, communicate regularly with your employees to find out what makes them tick – and show you are listening by putting these findings into action.

By boosting engagement within your current workforce, employees are much more likely to be beneficial ambassadors, sharing positive and engaging reviews about the company with their networks.

Showcase your employer brand

Online channels provide an instant shop window for jobseekers hoping to get a taste of what it is like working for you.

Make sure you are using them to full advantage by giving an accurate representation of why your company is the place to be.

Doing this through pictures and videos will often paint a much clearer picture of your company culture than words, and making use of LinkedIn’s career pages, which enable companies to better show off their culture by showcasing current employees, is a great place to start.

As professionals in the UK increasingly prioritise factors such as relationships with colleagues and a healthy work-life balance – not just salary – employers need to make sure they reflect this in the message they send out to current employees and potential new hires.