5 Key Factors Leading to Employee Job Satisfaction

Have you ever stopped to question if you are genuinely happy at work?  If not, how can you be happier?  Here are 5 key factors that research has found make you happier at work!

You will no doubt have heard the term “employee engagement” being used as a measurement of employee satisfaction or happiness at work by HR teams. HR teams across Asia are constantly striving to improve employee engagement in order to boost company performance by improving staff productivity and retention of staff. However, workplace happiness is dropping in Asia with Aon Hewitt’s annual That means that at least 38% of employees in Asia aren’t engaged or happy at work.

Although salary is obviously one of the most important factors driving an employee’s decision to remain in their current role versus changing jobs (our 2017 Asia Salary Snapshot shows that 99% of respondents rank salary as the top factor most likely to influence a job move), there are other key factors that contribute to an employee’s overall happiness and it is becoming increasingly common that salary is not everything for younger generations.

Aside from salary, here are the top 5 things that make people happy at work!

Regular feedback

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A number of HR Functions have recently dropped or are dropping the practice of annual reviews, opting instead for more regular reviews, whether they be once a quarter, or even once a month. The reasoning for this is that waiting such a long time to communicate feedback with an employee has been proven to sometimes do more harm than good. For example, a paper in the journal Strategy + Business concluded that annual reviews (and in particular the rating given by managers to their employees in these reviews) result in a “fight or flight” scenario, much like when a wild animal encounters an imminent threat! We have also dropped annual performance reviews here at Links, as we believe that a happy workplace involves ongoing communication and regular feedback. Why wait until the end of the year to tell someone they are doing a good job, or give constructive criticism? Ongoing feedback helps build confidence and improve motivation.  When’s the last time you caught up with your manager?

A Great Boss

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In order to have good communication between teams, it helps to have a good manager. This means someone who you feel comfortable approaching with a query or a problem. A good manager doesn’t micro-manage their employees, but rather leads by example and creates an environment in which everyone feels empowered and comfortable sharing ideas around. It is often said that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave managers. A report by Gallup shows that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement. In a further study of over 7,000 adults in the US, Gallup revealed that 50% had, at some point in their career, left their job as a result of a bad manager, in order to improve their overall happiness.

Flexibility and work-life balance

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With the increase of millennials in the workforce, there is more and more emphasis on work-life balance. Consequently, more employers in Asia are offering flexible work arrangements, such as allowing employees to work from home, or work more flexible hours. This is particularly beneficial to employees with young children, or, conversely, those with elderly parents to whom they provide care. Provided you can get the work completed by your set deadline and still contribute to the success of the company, a little bit of flexibility should be easy to negotiate.

In addition to this, taking time off can also hugely impact employee engagement and ultimately your happiness at work, as you will return to work more motivated and ready to achieve success. The number of annual leave days your company offers you can therefore be tied to how happy you are at work and therefore how productive you are. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that working more hours is tied to less productivity. For example, Germany and France – which the OECD highlights as two of the most productive countries in the world – each allocate a minimum of 30 days’ holiday, by law.  In comparison our 2017 Asia Salary Snapshot shows that the majority of respondents in Hong Kong and Macau enjoy 15-20 days’ annual leave, whilst in Singapore and China, annual leave tends to be lower, at 11-14 days.

The Three R’s: Responsibility, Recognition and Reward 

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As great as it is to receive a bonus at the end of the year, successful companies that care about their employee engagement won’t wait until the end of the year to reward deserving employees. Many HR teams in Asia will offer additional smaller incentives throughout the year, or even one big incentive that involves something other than just financial reward. (Read our post about Links’ annual incentive, which culminated in a relaxing beach holiday!) Even smaller things, such as monthly drinks gatherings, quarterly lunches, birthday cakes, and so on, can help to make you feel happier at work

A diverse and inclusive culture Top 5 things that make people happy at work-3-1.jpg

Another factor that contributes to an employee’s happiness at work is being at an inclusive workplace with strong core values that extend to everyone and a narrow culture gap between the current and ideal company culture. As shown in a recent Bersin by Deloitte report, the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is becoming more and more critical, to the point that 71% of surveyed organisations said they aspire to have an inclusive culture, whilst only 12% have actually achieved this.

Are you happy at your current job? Does your company offer the above factors to help you feel happy and engaged at work? If the answer to these questions is no, perhaps it’s time to explore other opportunities that will lead you to be happy at work. Links works with a wide range of companies in Asia, from small start-ups to large multi-national companies. If you are no longer happy at work and want to explore other opportunities that could make you happier, click the link below!