3 Things That Mean More to an Employee Than The Size of Their Paycheck

November 14, 2017
| ByMike Ryan

Most business leaders have been preconditioned to believe that money matters most to employees. But what a person makes is not as big a factor in their long-term job satisfaction. In fact, it’s not even in the top three.

People want to be paid fairly, of course. But money matters less and less when an employee adds up what they like (or don’t like) about a job. Today, people are more inclined to think of their “work” in the context of the “work environment,” who they “work for,” and how well they get along with the people they “work with.”

So what does influence how happy, engaged or fulfilled an employee feels at work?

The top drivers of employee satisfaction revolve around the strength of the company’s culture, the type of relationship a worker has with their manager, along with the feelings of connectedness they share with their colleagues.

1/ The strength of the company’s culture

The strongest cultures are known for their low turnover, their servant leadership and their abundance of positive communications.

Talent–focused enterprises make it a point to show their people that they are indeed their most valuable assets. Through regular recognition they make sure everyone knows it. But the best companies do more here. They also let recognition spread organically. By giving their people the means to show their appreciation to one another they are allowing a core component of their culture to permeate throughout the company. They proactively provide their people with the tools they need to show others that their work is valued.

Constructing the culture’s foundation around the mutual appreciation of others has been known to pay off handsomely. Cultures that are rich in recognition have happier employees—workers who are more productive by 31% and drive revenues higher by 37%.

2/ The type of relationship a worker has with their manager

The strength of your workplace culture has a powerful influence on your employees. Culture is influenced by many things, of course, not the least of which are the actions of an employee’s immediate manager. How happy and engaged an employee feels hinges largely on how their manager behaves toward them on a day-to-day basis.

Managers account for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement. That means if an employee doesn’t feel appreciated by their supervisor, they are more likely to become detached from their work.

But on the positive side of that equation is this reality: having a supportive manager benefits the employee/employer relationship. When a manager sets clear expectations, encourages employees to use their skills and provides frequent feedback by recognizing and rewarding achievements regularly, they are building a higher level of commitment and loyalty with their employees.

3/ The connections they share with colleagues

Employees are happier when they have “friends” at work. Company “friendships” are based on sharing goals, objectives and mutual pursuits. Workers feel more aligned and more connected with one another when they are pulling together toward a common cause.

Employees have an emotional need to feel connected with the people they work with. Social connections are just as important within work settings as they are in our private lives. And even though positive interactions with co-workers are one of the most important drivers of workplace happiness, they are also one that companies do the least to promote.

Social recognition changes all of that and more. The ability to recognize anyone from anywhere strengthens the company’s culture; it improves manager-employee relations and it helps to widen and improve an employee’s social fabric at work.


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