The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has just released its 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report, and the findings are very interesting.
What first jumped out at us is the continuing downward trend in overall job satisfaction, a slide that began in 2009 when the survey showed a peak of 86% of employees overall were satisfied with their current positions. That number has slid a bit in each of the succeeding years to its current level of 81%, though it’s still a bit higher than numbers typical of the early part of the last decade, when satisfaction hovered around 77%. Still, one wonders if the improving job market might in some ways be “responsible” for the decline; perhaps when opportunities increase people begin to think that the grass might be greener elsewhere, and so their ratings of current positions drift lower. It will be interesting to watch the trend over the next few years.
More interesting to us is the list of the top five aspects of job satisfaction. In particular, numbers four and five fascinate us because of the common factor they share: the importance of the relationships among employees, co-workers, and management.
In our consulting and coaching work we have always emphasized the vital importance of mutual relationships between individuals, teams, functions, and departments—the give-and-take necessary to actually get things done. Daniel Goleman, the father of Emotional Intelligence, reminds us that “…business people often don’t get the importance of establishing human relationships.” Nowhere is that sentiment more clear than in these survey results.
The survey also addresses the key drivers of employee engagement, an important correlation to job satisfaction. Here, too, relationship is found to be a vital element, talking slots two and four on the survey.
So what’s the lesson as we see it? We admit, of course, our own professional bias, but it seems to be that working more and more on our work and business relationships can only be a good thing….
How are the relationships where you work?
All tables © Society for Human Resource Management
SHRM members can access the entire report at www.shrm.org/surveys