New SHRM Survey Shows Employee Satisfaction High, But…

A survey released last week by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that 81 percent of U.S. employees are satisfied at work, with 38 percent "very satisfied" and 43 percent "somewhat satisfied."
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Oct. 10, 2012 - PRLog -- LOS ANGELES, CALIF.--A survey released last week by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that 81 percent of U.S. employees are satisfied at work, with 38 percent "very satisfied" and 43 percent "somewhat satisfied." The percentage is down from its peak of 86 percent in 2009 but off its lows of 77 percent in 2002 through 2005. This is the 10th year of the SHRM survey. While the numbers are positive, digging deeper, the survey contains areas where employers need to improve, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Make More Money By Making Your Employees Happy (Amazon, $7.99).

         "The opportunity to use their skills and abilities on the job was the number one reason workers gave for employee satisfaction, yet only 36 percent of those survey said they were very satisfied with that aspect of their job," says Nelson. "According to the survey, employees feel that their skills are underutilized." SHRM polled 600 randomly selected employees at small to large companies to come up with its findings.

         The second reason given for job satisfaction was job security. Of the workers surveyed, 30 percent felt very satisfied that their jobs were secure. Number three on the list was compensation; 22 percent were very satisfied with their pay. Communication between employees and senior management came in fourth with 22 percent of respondents saying they were very satisfied in this area. The percentage of workers who were very satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor was higher at 39 percent.  

         What do these numbers tell management? "Employers need to improve in the areas those workers say contribute most to their work satisfaction," notes Nelson. "The survey found that less than 50 percent of employees were satisfied with their career development and employees were only moderately engaged at work. As the economy picks up and unemployment numbers fall, we'll see unsatisfied, unengaged workers feeling more confident to test the job market. Losing valuable employees and incurring the costs for training their replacements will be a big burden on employers."

         To keep this from happening, Nelson gives the following suggestions.

         --Offer training classes so employees can grow in their career and apply their new knowledge to their job. Make sure your employees have the tools, training and sufficient time to accomplish their tasks. Workers who are not challenged have little motivation to do their best.

--Keep employees in the loop. Job security is important to workers. Rumors about layoffs and office closures can sap employee morale. Encourage open communication between managers and employees. Transparency is no longer an empty buzzword, it represents a real need for today’s workers. When everyone knows the current status, as well as the goals and plans for the business, employees are less likely to feel insecure.

         --Workers' pay should be kept confidential. If a company is public, however, upper management should take a moment to consider how pay increases at the top affect the morale of workers at the bottom who are often the first to be told to take on more work with little or no pay raises. Rest assured, workers in public companies know exactly what the CEO, president and VPs are getting paid. If pay is grossly unbalanced, workers will feel mistreated and will find work elsewhere at the first opportunity.

         --Management must continually acknowledge the good work of their employees. Unappreciated workers will give far less to their job than appreciated workers. Appreciation does not necessarily have to come in the form of higher pay. It can be the simple intangibles--complementing a worker on a job well done, genuinely asking for feedback or giving an afternoon off to the team after a significant accomplishment.

         Nelson believes employers are still in a much stronger position when it comes to the employer-employee relationship. "The time will come, however, when the positions will reverse. Employers must be ready," says Nelson.

         For more information including practical tips on how to value employees to the benefit of company success, go to, on Facebook at or at

For a copy of the SHRM study, go to
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