Job satisfaction goes beyond salary

There was a time when salary might have been the key benchmark in deciding which job to accept. There was little else that mattered.

As workplace trends have evolved, competitive pay and good benefits still factor into the decision to take a job and stay put, but other factors have become as important – if not more important – than a paycheck.

Forbes reported that a 2018 study concerning global talent trends, conducted by Mercer, indicates the 9-to-5 desk job with a steady paycheck is no longer the criteria for a good job.

In the Mercer study, which is based on input collected from 800 business executives, 1,800 human resources leaders and more than 5,000 employees in 44 countries, three key benchmarks for a happy employee were identified.

Flexibility: A whopping 51 percent of employees want more flexible work options. That could be in the form of telecommuting, unlimited paid time off to maintain a favorable work-life balance or flexible schedules to cut stress and create productivity, Forbes reported.

Another study by FlexJobs in 2016 found salary is second to flex time for working parents. The study shows 84 percent of working parents rank flexibility as the No. 1 factor in the workplace, with a healthy work-life balance ranking second at 80 percent.

The Mercer study also demonstrated that employees want a permanent flexibility that doesn’t require them asking permission every time they want to work outside the once-normal business hours. Employees want the tools necessary to work at home and to have permanent ability to work flexible hours outside the office.

Commitment to health and well-being: The Global Talent Trends study indicated that one in every two employees wants a greater focus on well-being in the workplace. Forbes reported this includes an emphasis on psychological, financial and physical well-being.

That requires businesses implementing policies that help employees be healthier at the workplace and helping workers follow healthy habits both at home and in their professional lives.

Among the actions a company can take include having a gym available at work or hosting on-site healthy potlucks. Giving employees a choice of movement during the workday is another way to foster a healthy culture. If successful, employees will be healthier, happier and less stressed in their jobs.

Work with a purpose: Perhaps the most underrated benchmark of job satisfaction, according to Forbes, is giving employees work with a purpose. Benefits of purposeful work are more motivated employees, increase in productivity, better morale and general job satisfaction. Mercer’s research showed thriving employees are more likely to work for a firm that has a strong sense of purpose.

Forbes suggested employers make jobs more purpose-driven by:

  • Creating a company vision
  • Recognizing employee achievements
  • Expressing gratitude for work well done
  • Letting workers know how their jobs impact the company and its clients
  • Sharing customer success stories
  • Focusing on the bigger picture instead of the bottom line




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