Improving Job Satisfaction Is Easier Than You Think

January 20, 2010

January 7th was my one year anniversary with Baudville, and, as is the tradition, I got to go to lunch with my boss to celebrate. She asked me about some of my former jobs, and I had the embarrassing task of detailing my checkered past of repeated job hopping. I’m not sure, but I swear I heard concern in her voice when she asked once again, “…and how long were you at that job?”

Truth is, she has *nothing* to worry about, but with US job satisfaction at a 22-year low, many managers do have a reason to be concerned. And while it may not be as easy now as it was 5-10 years ago to switch jobs on a whim, it is easy for employees to just mentally check out of their jobs. And that’s what a lot of people do, causing both employee productivity and workplace morale to take a huge hit. In fact, according to a Gallup Organization survey, in the United States, disengaged employees cost the economy $300 billion a year.

Faced with this statistic, you might ask yourself: what can I do to? I don’t have the budget to give anyone a raise, reduce healthcare costs, or create new opportunities within my department.

Well, for the third consecutive year, Baudville has been declared one of the “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" in West Michigan; yet our company faces many of the same economic challenges as others.

So how do we do it?

We know that if we can’t spend more money, then our only choice is to make things more interesting and engaging. And if you’ve ever seen photos of some of our events, then you might think that interesting is just one word for it. 

Princess JoeEaster CostumesSuper Hero

Considering that one of the satisfaction stats is that “fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting” this seems like a fairly good avenue to pursue.

So, a lot of what we do around here, when not diligently working, involves getting people together or involved in an activity. This regular interaction with each other helps break up our workdays and gets us talking, connecting, and relating. And because many of these activities are either low cost or no cost, a lack of budget is not a factor. For example:

Peer Recognition: Our internal “Shout Out” program allows employees to write a note of praise for a coworker and post it in a designated location for everyone to see. It is very low cost, and it inspires all staff to get involved in appreciating and recognizing one another. And it contributes to our job satisfaction because we know that our coworkers value the work that we do. In fact, it works so well for us, we decided to develop a few variations for our customers. 
 
Impromptu Activities: From “just because” casual days (free!) to recruiting a group of staff to decorate the parking lot with sidewalk chalk (cheap!) to the occasional pizza lunch (moderate; but the camaraderie it instills is priceless!), these events do a great job of breaking up the monotony. And, they often make us look forward to coming to work, so we are definitely tuned in and not checked out.

Communication: I still remember my first day when someone passed me in the hallway and said, “Welcome to Meetingville!” Sure, there is such a thing as death by meeting, but I think we do a pretty good job of balancing that (despite that comment!). Meetings mean people are involved, from the top down. These are opportunities to share feedback, express ideas and opinions, brainstorm, commiserate, and stay informed. And, they only cost a little bit of well spent time.  

During tough times, when resources and opportunities are hard to come by, it’s easy for staff to become bored, disenchanted, and detached. But, with a little bit of Baudville-prescribed creativity it’s easy to shake things up and get people re-engaged.

So, take a minute to look around your workplace. Do people seem satisfied? If not, what will you do reverse the statistic? 

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Allison is Baudville’s one (and only) Copywriter. She’s been writing for a variety of media for more than eight years, so if she tells you she has been there and done that, she probably has. Before embarking on a career in writing, Allison worked as a department manager where she used Baudville products to motivate her team. She’s what we call a true believer!

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