Beyond security: motivating employees

Given the economic factors at play from 2001 to 2011, it’s hardly surprising that employees ranked job security as the most important factor for job satisfaction. This is no longer the case, however, according to new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) research.

According to the SHRM 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey published Oct. 3, 2012, “opportunities to use skills and abilities” now holds the top spot on the list of job satisfaction drivers (63%), placing job security (61%) in second place for the first time since 2007, when compensation/pay topped the list.

Notably, the percentage of employees who consider the opportunity to use their skills and abilities very important for job satisfaction has increased steadily since SHRM began measuring the statistic in 2004.

Still, fluctuations in the factors that contribute to satisfaction, as well as overall satisfaction levels, tend to shift over time.

“In the 10 years that SHRM has been conducting its job satisfaction survey, there has been a noticeable fluctuation in employees’ overall satisfaction with their jobs,” the report notes. For example, the 2012 overall job satisfaction rate of 81% is down five percentage points from its peak of 86 percent in 2009, and four percentage points above its low of 77% in 2002.

The other three aspects of job satisfaction that made the top five include:

• Compensation/pay (60%).

• Communication between employees and senior management (57%).

• Relationship with immediate supervisor (54%).

• The extent to which employees value each of these three factors varies over time, and their position in the top five -- or even the top 10 -- list has varied as well. In other years employees ranked factors such as flexibility and safety as very important.

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

© 2012 SHRM. All rights reserved.

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