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Employee satisfaction can be defined as “how happy or content people are in their jobs.” When satisfaction levels are high, employees are more productive and more likely to remain with a company for longer. Reduced turnover rates, in turn, lead to even better performance and reduced operational costs.

And while going to work is not necessarily about enjoying oneself, there needs to be a certain level of satisfaction and purpose involved. Here are eight ways you can boost it in your own company.

Work on Communication Skills

Breakdowns in communication are the most common cause of employee dissatisfaction. Whether you fail to communicate your expectations clearly, managers fail to use the right language when providing feedback, or there are no specific channels established for different purposes, failing to communicate can set your company back significantly.

In order to improve your internal (and external) communication, start by analyzing what you are currently doing. Be as objective as possible, and start with yourself. What can you do to communicate better?

A course or communication workshop can go a long way. You can also establish clear guidelines for relaying different types of information based on importance and urgency.

Establish Stress-Free Feedback Channels

Speaking of communication, establish channels for feedback that will induce the least amount of stress. Some employees will feel extremely uncomfortable when having to approach someone and tell them they have not done a good job. Allow for digital communication channels, and give your staff time to internalize information.

Take as much of the edge off of reviews and evaluations. While they are certainly necessary, they don’t need to make your employees sweat.

Provide the Right Tools

When an employee feels they do not have the right tools to do their job, they will quickly become dissatisfied. Don’t expect them to voice their need outright: a lot of people won’t know how to approach their superiors and ask for something they need.

Instead, be the one who gets the conversation going. Talk openly about your readiness to provide access to all the tools someone might need, and ask each person what they specifically need.

If someone is much more productive when using (or not using) a specific time management app, let them choose it themselves, for example. While an umbrella policy is a great starting point, you have to remember that each individual will work differently. Do your best to accommodate that.

Reward More Than Just Success

Rewarding your employees is an important tactic for keeping them satisfied. And while raises and bonuses are certainly a good way to go, you need to find a way to reward more than just success.

Think of it this way: only one person will be the best at any given time. Does that mean everyone else is less valuable? Of course not.

Think outside the box and start rewarding things like effort, a positive attitude, being helpful, being a good listener, or fixing a small issue that has been going on everyone’s nerves. Your goal is to make everyone feel appreciated. It will require you to keep an eye out for more than just performance, but it will certainly set your company apart.

Show Them How They Fit In

Dedicated, focused employees want to know how they fit into your master plan. They want to be more than just a cog in a well-oiled machine. And while you don’t need to share all the details of your master plan with them, clearly communicating your vision, mission and goals can go a very long way.

Take your time to provide all the relevant information to each team and team member. When you give out assignments, highlight how they will get all of you closer to that end goal. Invested employees will thrive in this kind of environment, and you will consequently see much better results.

Play Games Outside Office Hours

Aim to get to know your staff (and for them to get to know each other) outside the workplace. Organizing team-building events and having meals together is, of course, good – but you also need something less formal.

Try playing Words with Friends or Scrabble as an office. There are hundreds of online games that you can all play from your phones, at your own leisure, and get to know each other in the process. Bonding over a scrambled word can be a great conversation starter. And if you get stuck, you can always use an unscrambler to help you out.

Be More Flexible

Sometimes the best way to improve employee satisfaction at work is to improve their overall satisfaction with life. Whether it’s giving them an afternoon off to run errands or supporting their decision to get into better shape by paying for their gym pass, the more flexible you can be, the better.

No matter how important your company may be to you, for some people, it will forever remain just the place they work at, and the rest of their life will be more important. If you can accept that and offer support where possible, they will be much more invested in returning the favor, so to speak.

Add a Little Bit of Human Touch

On a similar note, always add that little bit of human touch, as Bruce Springsteen would put it. Be mindful of the way you speak to your staff and which emotions and information you share. Tailor your approach to different personalities.

If someone is having a bad day, don’t make that the day you also give them a bad performance review, for example. The more considerate you are, the more your staff will appreciate it and reward you for it.

Wrapping Up

Boosting employee satisfaction is about so much more than pay raises and fancy company dinners. You often don’t have to spend any money at all but rather invest some time and attention to get to know your people better and help them achieve their personal goals within your business goals.