What Makes You a Satisfied Employee?

Job satisfaction can be hard to measure, and it can fluctuate depending on what’s going on in your work and/or personal life at the time. However, if you’re feeling unsatisfied at work over an extended period, that’s not a good sign!

Companies theoretically worry about this kind of thing. Unsatisfied employees tend to be less productive, have a negative attitude more of the time, jump ship as soon as they can find a “better” opportunity, and so on. However, not all employers take employee job satisfaction as seriously as they should–and as you might like them to.

Employee Development and Employee Satisfaction

One gauge of an employer’s commitment to having satisfied employees is the quality and availability of employee development programs. For example, does your employer offer on-the-job training–that is, actual time-scheduled workshops or other resources during the work-day? Does the company provide reimbursement for off-site/after-hours educational programs that could advance your professional capabilities and value?

In today’s tough economic climate and challenging business conditions, these questions aren’t just rhetorical. A lot of companies have pulled away from offering such programs at all, and even some of the better companies have scaled back their offerings. That might be understandable, but it’s also probably short-sighted in terms of employee retention concerns.

According to an article by Ashlie Turley titled “Employee Development is More Important Than Ever,” a survey by CareerBuilder in January indicated that “32% of businesses lost top talent in 2012 and 39% believe they’ll lose top performers in 2013. The survey also found that 25% of workers expect to change jobs in 2013 or 2014.”

This isn’t news to you if you’re one of those in that 25%. You’re probably already looking for greener pastures or are planning to start in the near future if you don’t have much hope that your current employer will come up with better offerings soon.

So What Would Make You a Satisfied Employee?

I suggest it starts with feeling appreciated/valued by your current employer and seeing potential for career growth and advancement within the company. Turley’s article states that employees, “especially the high achievers, don’t just want an employer who will compensate them for what they already know. They want an employer who will help them learn and achieve something new. Employees realize that remaining stagnant in today’s workforce is career suicide, and they are looking for companies that understand this reality and are prepared to help them grow.”

Career suicide. Hm-m-m-m-m-m. Sounds like something I “preach” to clients a lot! If you can’t grow where you are, but you stay there because you feel stuck or you’re in a rut that has become more comfortable than moving on would be, you will almost certainly end up regretting it eventually. Your marketability to potential employers can decline over time if you can’t point to a career-savvy reason for having stayed where you were for so long.

That being said, when was the last time you took a good, hard look at your satisfaction level in your current position? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just been too busy to pay attention or have been consciously or unconsciously ignoring the situation. Either way, I encourage you to give serious thought to whether or not you are a satisfied employee and, if not, what it would take to make you one–where you are now or somewhere else. Maybe it’s time to dust off your job search skills!

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