There are countless ways that companies can support employees beyond salary. They include opportunities for career growth, focused efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and initiatives to promote a culture of caring that helps employees feel seen and heard. Companies can also boost employee satisfaction by responding to their feedback, especially when it comes to a flexible work environment, as well as building strong and talented teams. Data supports this. We’ve partnered with Revelio Labs, an industry leader in workforce intelligence, to help our audience make key strategic decisions about improving their job satisfaction. Revelio looks at employee reviews on social media sites such as Glassdoor to measure metrics like fulfillment, how companies provide a sense of community and many others.
Career Growth and Lateral Learning Opportunities
More money isn’t the only tool to make employees happy. John Callahan, a recruiting manager with MathWorks, a developer of mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists, focuses on empowering employees to seek exposure to different business areas. There are lots of “lateral training” opportunities MathWorks, even manager-level training outside of employees’ core responsibilities. “I think these are huge reasons why people stick around for a long time is that continued growth even if your title hasn’t changed,” says Callahan.
Some of the top companies for work-life balance are in the financial, real estate and technology industries, according to Revelio data. Revelio’s work-life balance ranking is determined through employee sentiment ratings.
Hillary Tantillo, vice president of human resources for store operations at Wegmans, says about 25% of Wegmans employees experience a new role, whether lateral or promotional, every year. “Thousands of employees, both part time and full time, are cross-trained in multiple departments which provides variety, flexibility, and meaningful and enjoyable ways to learn new things,” Tantillo wrote in an email. It’s helpful for companies to add lateral learning opportunities because not every company has a vertical structure. Companies that have a more flat structure without many opportunities for promotion can offer lateral learning opportunities for employees seeking job growth. In the end, companies benefit from providing such opportunities if they boost job satisfaction and employee retention.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Experts at McKinsey & Company, Wegmans, Asana, Mathworks and Sailpoint all say they’re putting forth significant efforts to support and improve DEI at their companies and beyond, and this contributes to employees’ feelings of being seen and heard.
Top gender diversity scores are at retail and banking companies, according to Revelio.
Revelio data also shows that top ethnicity diversity scores are at financial companies and in the food industry.
Asana, a web and mobile platform for managing team projects and tasks, creates employee resource groups to build community and support employee development. “We make sure to create space for any conversations that need to happen in the form of our employee resource groups — Blacsana, Asanapac, AsanaWomen EMEA, Gradient, AsanaWomen, Team Rainbow,” says Sonja Gittens Ottley, head of diversity, inclusion and belonging and Asana in an email. Ottley says these groups also lift collective literacy around diversity and inclusion, support attracting talent from diverse backgrounds and help identify future leaders. The company also offers an Asana Real Talk series about identity, overcoming challenges and driving change, explains Ottley.
Culture of Caring
A culture of caring helps employees to feel seen, heard as well as supported. This is most true for companies in the medical, real estate and hospitality industries, according to Revelio data.
“People want to be seen as more than a cog in a wheel, and we as leaders need to lean into that,” says Bonnie Dowling, expert associate partner at McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. Dowling spoke with a leader of a hospital department with zero attrition during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is rare considering the immense pressure on medical teams. Long before the pandemic hit, every leader of a department would handwrite a note to each person in the department saying how much they appreciated the employee, including the specific things they felt they brought to the unit. Leaders send them out quarterly or two times a year.
Top positive mentions of fulfillment are at real estate and health care companies, according to Revelio data.
Abby Payne, chief people officer with SailPoint Technologies, a cloud platforms and resources company, shares the story of a young woman who received a breast cancer diagnosis at the company while she was in her early 30s. The company rallied around and enabled her to continue working through her full treatment over the course of about 18 months with the aim of keeping her life as normal as possible, for her own mental health and for that of her three young children.
Feeling a sense of confidence and pride in your workplace can also help foster a strong sense of job satisfaction. Callahan says MathWorks has a “rational workplace model” that aims to instill confidence in employees that whenever big company decisions are made, it follows a standard procedure involving investigating best practices for finding a resolution and adhering to specific guidelines. MathWorks employees also have a say in the volunteer opportunities the company supports, which also promotes a feeling of community.
At Wegmans, Tantillo says an employee-first philosophy means managers try to build one-to-one relationships with their employees and get to know them as individuals. “This ensures we can help people with their individual needs, especially the work-life balance they want and need so they can prioritize what is most important to them outside of work,” says Tantillo. Wegmans has HR employee advocates and “People Pages” that let employees get to know one another beyond work.
Instilling a sense of belonging is a key strategy for engaging employees at Asana and helping them feel satisfied with their jobs, Ottley says. “Belonging is also consistently identified as a high driver for employee engagement, productivity and retention. Employee health, well-being and fostering an environment that allows open communication and feedback is paramount to establishing a workplace culture where everyone feels respected, valued and heard,” says Ottley.
Listening to Employees and Flexible Work Environment
Job satisfaction can also improve when management is receptive to employee feedback, especially when it comes to flexible work environments. “Employees want to have a say. They want to have open lines of communication and they know what they want and they know what they need. And they’re willing to tell you if you’re willing to take action,” says Dowling.
While working with a client, Dowling did an analysis of meeting times and designated core collaboration hours for meetings. Outside of that, however employees got their work done was up to them. As a result, engagement and satisfaction rose greatly, and people began to transfer to the client’s department. “Things like that are things that the employer should be embracing beyond salary,” Dowling says. This gives autonomy back to the employee.
Recruiting and Retaining Strong, Talented Teams
Attracting and retaining talented employees are other things companies can do to increase job satisfaction and promote a positive, productive working environment. At SailPoint, first-line managers are given the discretion and decision-making authority to make choices that are right for their team or individuals on their team. “I don’t believe that one-size-fits-all with respect to job satisfaction. What’s important to you is not so important to someone else or to a third person, and so we really challenge our leaders to understand what’s important to each of their team members,” says Payne.
When managers are empowered with decision-making authority, this helps them retain strong teams. It also helps instill employee trust in managers and trust in the company.
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What Companies Offer Beyond Salary to Improve Job Satisfaction originally appeared on usnews.com