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A Research Repor t by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement


How Employees Are Dealing With Uncertainty

Media Contacts
Kate Kennedy kate.kennedy@shrm.org + 1-703-535-6260 Julie Malveaux julie.malveaux@shrm.org + 1-703-535-6273

USA
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China
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India
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2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement


A Research Report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Table of Contents
About This Research Report 1 Executive Summary: Employees Are Focused on Meeting Goals and Using Their Skills at Work2 Survey Results: Employee Job Satisfaction8 Career Development9 Opportunities to Use Skills and Abilities9 Career Advancement Opportunities Within Organization10 Organizations Commitment to Professional Development11 Job-specific Training12 Career Development Opportunities12 Paid Training and Tuition Reimbursement Programs13 Networking13 Employee Relationship with Management 15 Communication Between Employees and Senior Management 15 Relationship with Immediate Supervisor 16 Managements Recognition of Employee Job Performance 16 Autonomy and Independence 17 Compensation and Benefits24 Compensation/pay 24 Benefits 26 Flexibility to Balance Life and Work Issues 28 Work Environment32 Job Security 32 Organizations Financial Stability 33 The Work Itself 33 Feeling Safe in the Work Environment 33 Overall Corporate Culture 34 Relationships with Co-workers 34 Meaningfulness of Job35 Contribution of Work to Organizations Business Goals 36 Variety of Work 36 Organizations Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility37 Organizations Commitment to a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace 38 Organizations Commitment to a Green Workplace 39 Survey Results: Employee Engagement 40 Engagement Opinions 41

Engagement Behaviors42 Conditions for Engagement43 Conclusions48 About the Research 51 Methodology 51 Notations 51 About the Respondents53 Appendix56 Endnotes 75 Additional SHRM Resources 76

About This Research Report

The following report presents the results of the 2012 SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey of U.S. employees. The objective of this annual survey is to identify and understand the factors important to overall employee job satisfaction and engagement. This knowledge helps organizations better understand and appreciate employee preferences when developing programs and policies designated to influence job satisfaction and engagement. The survey examined 35 aspects of employee job satisfaction and 34 aspects of employee engagement. The job satisfaction and employee engagement aspects are divided into seven topic areascareer development, relationship with management, compensation and benefits, work environment, engagement opinions, engagement behaviors, and conditions for engagement. The overall results, illustrated in figures, are included throughout the report along with corresponding text. More in-depth analyses are shown in tables found in the Appendix; these include the following: A comparison of the level of importance of certain aspects to job satisfaction, including statistically significant differences. A comparison of the level of employee satisfaction with certain aspects of job satisfaction. An analysis of the top five job satisfaction aspects by demographic variables, including organization size, employee job tenure, age, race, education and gender. An analysis of the top five engagement aspects by demographic variables, including employee age and gender. Additional analyses by demographic variables, including employee job tenure, gender, race and age. Overall results for every year the survey was conducted to determine if there have been significant changes in the span of a decade.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 1

Executive Summary

Employees Are Focused on Meeting Goals and Using Their Skills at Work

Several internal and external factors can influence employee job satisfaction and engagement, and these factors may change over time. In the 10 years that the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been conducting its job satisfaction survey, there has been a noticeable fluctuation in employees overall satisfaction with their jobs. This fluctuation could be attributed to changes within the workplace as well as economic, demographic and social trends. According to this study, in 2012 81% of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job, with 38% of employees indicating they were very satisfied and 43% somewhat satisfied. Employees overall satisfaction with their jobs is down five percentage points from its peak of 86% in 2009 and four percentage points above its low in 2002 (77%). Figure 1 illustrates the data on overall employee job satisfaction from 2002 to 2012. When it comes to employee engagement at work in 2012, on average, employees were only moderately engaged (3.6, on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is highly disengaged, 3 is moderately engaged and 5 is highly engaged). Employee engagement levels have not changed in the two years that SHRM has been collecting this metric.
Figure 1 | Overall Employee Job Satisfaction Over the Years

In 2012, 81% of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job, with 38% of employees indicating they were very satisfied and 43% somewhat satisfied.

86% 84% 82% 80% 77% 77% 77% 79% 83% 81%

2002 (n = 604)

2004 (n = 604)

2005 (n = 600)

2006 (n = 604)

2007 (n = 604)

2008 (n = 601)

2009 (n = 602)

2010 (n = 605)

2011 (n = 596)

2012 (n = 600)

Note: Figure represents those employees who answered somewhat satisfied or very satisfied. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 3

Top Aspects Contributing to Employee Engagement in 2012


Employee engagement, which may or may not be aligned with employee job satisfaction, is about the employees connection and commitment to the organization. The top five aspects contributing to employee engagement in 2012 were very similar to the 2011 results; the main difference among the lists was that the aspect employees frequently feel that they are putting all their effort into their work made the top five list in 2012. 83% of employees reported that they are determined to accomplish their work goals and confident they can meet their goals. 79% of employees reported satisfaction with their relationship with their co-workers. 75% of employees were satisfied with opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work. 72% of employees were satisfied with how their work contributed to their organizations business goals. 71% of employees reported that they frequently felt that they were putting all their effort into their work and that they were satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor.

83% of employees reported that they are determined to accomplish their work goals and confident they can meet their goals.

Table 1 | Top Five Employee Engagement Aspects


2011 (n = 600)
I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them Relationship with co-workers Opportunities to use skills/abilities Contribution of work to organization's business goals Relationship with immediate supervisor I frequently feel that Im putting all my effort into my work Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM 83% (1) 76% (2) 74% (3) 71% (5) 73% (4) 70%

2012 (n = 600)
83% (1) 79% (2) 75% (3) 72% (4) 71% (5) 71% (5)

The top five aspects contributing to employee engagement were also analyzed by employee gender and age. Respondents from the Veterans generation and older were the only group that placed relationship with their immediate supervisor as the top factor contributing to their engagement. These data are shown in the Appendix.

Top Five Contributors to Employee Job Satisfaction in 2012


Although many factors contribute to employee job satisfaction, only two have remained among the top five aspects since 2002. In a recovering economy, none of the aspects employees selected as the top five contributors to their job satisfaction was a surprise.1 Opportunities to use skills and abilities (63%) displaced job security (61%) for the number one spot of aspects most important to job satisfaction, placing job security second in the list. Other aspects that rounded off employees top five very important factors contributing to job satisfaction were:

4 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Compensation/pay (60%). Communication between employees and senior management (57%). Relationship with immediate supervisor (54%). For the ranking of other aspects most important to employee job satisfaction, refer to Figure 2 on page 7 and Table 6 in the Appendix.
Table 2 | Top Five Aspects of Job Satisfaction Most Important to Employees: 2002 to 2012
2002 (n = 604)
Opportunities to use skills/abilities Job security Compensation/pay Communication between employees and senior management Relationship with immediate supervisor 65% (1) 59% (4) 62% (3) 49%

2004 (n = 604)
47% 60% (4) 63% (2) 54% 49%

2005 (n = 601)
44% 59% (4) 61% (2) 50% 46%

2006 (n = 605)
51% (5) 59% (3) 67% (1) 48% 47%

2007 (n = 604)
44% 53% (2) 59% (1) 51% (4) 48%

2008 (n = 601)
50% (4) 59% (1) 53% (3) 50% (4) 47% (5)

2009 (n = 601)
55% (4) 63% (1) 57% (3) 51% 52%

2010 (n = 600)
56% (3) 63% (1) 53% (5) 47% 48%

2011 (n = 600)
62% (2) 63% (1) 54% (4) 53% (5) 55% (3)

2012 (n = 600)
63% (1) 61% (2) 60% (3) 57% (4) 54% (5)

Note: A dash () indicates that this question was not asked that year. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

The top five aspects of employee job satisfaction were also analyzed by several employee demographics. Opportunities to use skills and abilities were the top concern among employees, and in most cases, this aspect ranked among the top two very important aspects of job satisfaction, regardless of employees tenure, age, gender or organization staff size. Opportunities to use skills and abilities were the third most important contributor to job satisfaction for respondents employed at organizations with 500 to 2,499 employees and for employees with three to five years and 11 or more years of tenure. For nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement employees, opportunities to use skills and abilities were ranked as the fifth most important aspect of job satisfaction. These data are shown in the Appendix.

What Do These Findings Mean for Organizations?


Develop Existing Employees: Recent research has revealed that organizations are having difficulty recruiting employees with the right skills for their open positions. The SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) show that HR professionals in manufacturing and service sectors have reported a trend toward increased difficulty recruiting key candidates in 2012. One of the top contributors to job satisfaction and engagement among employees is having the opportunity to use their skills and abilities at work. Employees frequently have skills and abilities beyond the position for which they were hired. HR professionals can help their organizations train and promote their employees to fill positions that require higher-level skills. This will then open up positions that require lower skill levels, which, in turn, may be easier to fill. Communicate About the Total Rewards Package: Employees rate compensation/pay as the third most important aspect of their job satisfaction. This aspect received a low rating when it came to employees actual level of satisfaction: Only 22% of employees were very satisfied with compensation/ pay. There are several ways HR professionals can address compensation: share information about the organizations compensation philosophy, help employees

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 5

understand how their compensation/pay is determined and frequently communicate to employees what their total rewards package includes. Build a Bridge Between Employees and Senior Management: Employee engagement and job satisfaction should not be something that HR professionals and their organizations measure once a year. They need to be built into an organizations day-to-day activities. Employee engagement and job satisfaction should be the shared responsibility of both employees and the organization. How can this be achieved? Two of the top five contributors to employee job satisfaction were relationship with immediate supervisor and communication between employees and senior management. These two aspects were also high on employees list of engagement aspects. Clearly, employees value their relationship with management, and they are looking for ways to make this relationship more effective, which, in turn, will likely increase employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity. Employers can build a bridge between employees and senior management by training their line managers regularly and involving them in strategy meetings and activities. Doing so will enable line managers to better understand the organizations vision and share it with their direct reports. These managers can complete the information-sharing loop by sharing with senior management feedback from the employees. Line managers who are encouraged to be open to what their employees say and then push this feedback up are key in ameliorating the communication gap.

Employers can build a bridge between employees and senior management by training their line managers regularly and involving them in strategy meetings and activities.

6 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Figure 2 | Very Important Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction


Opportunities to use skills and abilities (1) 63%

Job security (2)

61%

Compensation/pay (3)

60%

Communication between employees and senior management (4)

57%

Relationship with immediate supervisor (5)

54%

Benefits (6)

53%

Organizations financial stability (7)

52%

The work itself (7)

52%

Managements recognition of employee job performance (8)

50%

Autonomy and independence (9)

48%

Feeling safe in the work environment (10)

47%

Overall corporate culture (10)

47%

Flexibility to balance life and work issues (11)

46%

Career advancement opportunities (12)

42%

Relationships with co-workers (13)

40%

Meaningfulness of job (14)

39%

Organizations commitment to professional development (15)

36%

Job-specific training (15)

36%

Contribution of work to organizations business goals (16)

34%

Career development opportunities (16)

34%

Variety of work (17)

33%

Organizations commitment to corporate social responsibility (18)

28%

Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs (18)

28%

Networking (19)

27%

Organizations commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace (19)

27%

Organizations commitment to a green workplace (20)

17%

Note: n = 600. Figure represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 7

Survey Results: Employee Job Satisfaction

Career Development

Career development is an opportunity for employees to continually take part in more advanced or diverse activities (e.g., training, networking) that result in improving skills, gaining new skills, taking greater responsibility at work, improving their status and earning higher income. Employees rated only one of the factors in the career development categoryopportunities to use skills and abilities at workin the top five very important contributors to job satisfaction; in 2012, it was rated as the top aspect for the first time since 2004.

Opportunities to Use Skills and Abilities


Sixty-three percent of employees rated opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work as the most important contributor to their job satisfaction, displacing job security for the number one spot (see Table 1). This is the highest that this category has been since 2004, when it was first added to the list of aspects important to employee job satisfaction. Seventy-five percent of employees were satisfied (responded somewhat satisfied or very satisfied) with this aspect. This level of satisfaction placed opportunities to use skills and abilities at work third on the list of factors contributing to employee engagement. According to the September 2012 results of SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE),2 there has been an ongoing trend of steady job growth in both the manufacturing and service sectors. While the economy continues to recover, albeit slowly, employees may be feeling more secure about their jobs. This sense of job security may be leading them to look for opportunities within their organizations to demonstrate their skills and abilities to prepare themselves for career advancement within their organization or elsewhere. When employees feel that they are using their skills and contributing fully to the success of their organization, they are more satisfied with their jobs and more engaged. This element of job satisfaction appeared to be especially important to employees with college and post-graduate degrees compared with employees with a high school diploma (Table 9). This aspect was also a higher priority for employees in middle management than for nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement employees.

63% of employees rated opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work as the most important contributor to their job satisfaction, displacing job security for the number one spot.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 9

Figure 3 | Importance of Opportunities to Uses Skills and Abilities

63%

Career advancement was a higher priority for employees in middle management than for those in nonmanagement positions.

32%

2%

3%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Career Advancement Opportunities Within Organization


As illustrated in Figure 4, 42% of employees reported that this factor was very important to job satisfaction. Career advancement opportunities within the organization have continued a gradual trend upward since 2007, when this aspect was at a low of 27%. The increased importance of career advancement opportunities could be attributed to employees feeling that theyve mastered the responsibilities of their current positions and therefore are looking for more challenging positions within their organizations. The increase in the importance of this aspect may also be related to employees uncertainty about the economy, making it more likely for them to desire advancement within their organization rather than taking the risk of moving to a new employer. Career advancement was a higher priority for employees in middle management than for those in nonmanagement positions. Employees with some college education found this aspect to be more important than did employees with a high school diploma. This aspect was also more important to younger employees (age 47 and younger) than for employees 48-67 years of age. These data are shown in Table 9. As this aspect continues to trend up in importance, organizations need to pay attention to employees satisfaction level with career advancement opportunities. Employees are not particularly satisfied; only 46% of employees said they were satisfied (18% were very satisfied and 28% were somewhat satisfied) with this aspect. Career advancement opportunities could become a critical aspect of employee engagement in the workplace. Employees who are using their skills and abilities in their work and contributing fully in their organization could become disillusioned if opportunities to advance in their career are not available within the organization. These employees will be more likely to look for opportunities outside of their organization as the economy improves. According to this study, 44% of employees indicated that they are likely to look for work outside their organization in the next 12 months, whereas in 2011, this percentage was 36%. HR professionals are in a position to help their organizations develop coaching or mentoring programs to promote knowledge sharing and internal networks between experienced and more junior employees. HR professionals also can identify positions for which succession planning is practical. These often include key positions, positions with direct impact on strategic practices and those with lengthy learning curves. HR can also be creative with the organizations compensation and rewards programs to motivate and retain top performers.

10 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Figure 4 | Importance of Career Advancement Opportunities

40%

42%

15% 4%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Organizations Commitment to Professional Development


Professional development opportunities (e.g., attending training or conferences, obtaining certifications) are meant to develop or enhance employees skills and knowledge so that they can use this information in their current position, meet their professional and personal goals and build their rsum for future jobs. Figure 5 depicts the relationship between the organizations commitment to professional development and employee job satisfaction. While only 36% of employees rated this aspect as very important to job satisfaction, 54% of employees reported being satisfied with their organizations commitment to professional development. This aspect of job satisfaction was valued more by employees in middle-management positions than by nonmanagement hourly employees. During the current recession, professional development was among programs affected by budget cuts. Though budgets are still lean, investing in the development of their employees will help organizations fill their mission-critical positions. With the ongoing economic recovery, organizations are reporting difficulty finding qualified candidates for their open positions, according to the September 2012 SHRM LINE.3 In addition, a December 2011 SHRM survey showed that 23% of organizations believe that they are facing global competition for talent.4 One way organizations can continue to make sure their employees grow and develop is to take advantage of web-based training, which is more cost-effective than face-to-face training such as seminars or conferences. Employees can be trained at their desks without incurring the travel-related cost of professional development.
Figure 5 | Importance of Organizations Commitment to Professional Development

50% 36%

4%

10%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 11

Job-specific Training
Employers may offer job-specific training to provide employees with the relevant skills to enable them to perform their duties efficiently. Job-specific training is also necessary to fill a newly hired employees skills gap. The immediate application of skills acquired through such training may boost employee confidence and productivity. Similar to the organizations commitment to professional development, 36% of employees viewed job-specific training as very important to their job satisfaction (see Figure 6) and 57% were satisfied with it. There were no significant differences among employee demographic variables.
Figure 6 | Importance of Job-specific Training

Employees with some college education viewed career development opportunities as more important than did employees with a high school diploma.

50% 36%

12% 3%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Career Development Opportunities


Through on-the-job learning experiences, cross-training opportunities, stretch goals and other mechanisms to use skills beyond what is required by their position, employees can enhance their skills and competencies. These prospects help employees determine the next step in their career, either within or outside the organization. One-third (34%) of employees indicated that career development was very important (see Figure 7), and 48% were satisfied with this aspect. In 2012, employees viewed career development as a less important contributor to job satisfaction compared with 2002. It was a higher priority for employees in large organizations (25,000 or more employees) compared with employees in smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees). Employees with shorter job tenure (less than two years) were more concerned with career development than were employees employed at their organizations for 16 or more years. Employees with some college education viewed career development opportunities as more important than did employees with a high school diploma (Table 9).
Figure 7 | Importance of Career Development Opportunities

47% 34% 15% 4%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

12 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Paid Training and Tuition Reimbursement Programs


Only 28% of employees believed paid training and tuition reimbursement programs were very important to employee job satisfaction (Figure 8), and 47% said they were satisfied with this aspect. Through paid training and tuition reimbursement programs, employers support employees who want to reach their career goals by continuing their education. In a 2012 SHRM study, many HR professionals reported that their organizations offered educational assistance to their employees: 61% offered undergraduate educational assistance and 58% offered graduate educational assistance.5 Female employees deemed this aspect to be more important than did their male counterparts. Employees with some college education also placed more importance on this factor than did employees with post-graduate or high school education. In addition, this aspect was more important to employees in larger organizations (500 to 2,499 employees) compared with employees in smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees), and black employees viewed this aspect as more important than white employees did (Table 9).
Figure 8 | Importance of Paid Training and Tuition Reimbursement Programs

43% 28%

21% 8%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Networking
Employees viewed networking as one of the least important contributors to their job satisfaction, as shown in Figure 9. Only 27% of employees said networking was very important to job satisfaction. However, networking was viewed as more important in 2012 than in 2004, when it was first added to the list of job satisfaction aspects. The upward trend of networking could be a result of improved technology and the use of social networking in the workplace through sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and SHRM Connect. HR professionals in a SHRM study indicated that only 31% of organizations track employee use of social networking services on company-owned computers or company-owned handheld devices.6 Networking may not be particularly important to employee satisfaction, but building alliances can be valuable when looking for job leads or clients. Through networking, employees can obtain career-related guidance and benefit from the experiences and perspectives of others. Fifty-three percent of employees reported their satisfaction with networking as a contributor to job satisfaction. Employees with some college education placed more importance on this aspect than did employees with a high school diploma, as did employees in middle-management position compared with professional and nonexempt nonmanagement employees (Table 9).

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 13

Figure 9 | Importance of Networking

46% 27%

21% 6%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

14 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Employee Relationship with Management

The relationship an employee has with his or her supervisor is a central element to the employees affiliation to the organization, and it has been argued that many employee behaviors are largely a function of the way they are managed by their supervisors. One of the components of a good relationship is effective communication. When there are open lines of communication (e.g., encouraging an open-door policy), supervisors can respond more effectively to the needs and problems of their employees. Effective communication from senior management can provide the workforce with direction. In addition, managements recognition of employees performance through praise (private or public), awards and incentives is a cost-effective way of increasing employee morale, productivity and competitiveness.

As organizations emerge from the recession, it is important for the senior management team to communicate effectively about the organizations business goals, policies and vision.

Communication Between Employees and Senior Management


As shown in Figure 10, 57% of employees reported that communication between employees and senior management was very important to employee job satisfaction. This aspect has been in the list of top five contributors to employee job satisfaction five times since 2002. Among employees with tenure of 11 to 15 years, this aspect was rated first out of all aspects (Table 11).
Figure 10 | Importance of Communication Between Employees and Senior Management

57% 38%

2%

4%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

As organizations emerge from the recession, it is important for the senior management team to communicate effectively about the organizations business goals, policies and vision. This will help actively engage employees, provide employees with direction and foster trust and respect. Frequently, employees are concerned about the repercussions of bringing forth suggestions and concerns to
2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 15

management. Employees need to be encouraged to do so without fear; otherwise, creativity and innovation may be stifled. Organizations use different methods to encourage feedback and communication between employees and senior managementfor example, employee surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings and suggestion boxes. Employees in middle-management positions and nonexempt nonmanagement employees perceived this aspect to be more important than did professional nonmanagement employees (Table 9). Fifty-nine percent of employees indicated that they are satisfied with communication between employees and senior management, suggesting that this may be an area for improvement in organizations.

The relationship employees have with their supervisors is directly connected to their success and growth at work.

Relationship with Immediate Supervisor


Employees rated their relationship with their immediate supervisor as more important to their job satisfaction than benefits. This is the third time employees rated this aspect among the top five contributors to job satisfaction (Tables 2 and 6).
Figure 11 | Importance of Relationship with Immediate Supervisor

54% 40%

2%

4%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

The relationship employees have with their supervisors is directly connected to their success and growth at work. Supervisors who develop a positive relationship with employees may be more likely to learn their employees strengths and weaknesses, making it easier for supervisors to use their employees talents for the good of the organization. Employees who have a favorable relationship with their supervisorsa relationship in which they feel safe and supportedmay be more likely to go above and beyond what is required of them. They also may share with their supervisor job-related problems or even personal problems, which can be barriers to employee productivity. It is important that supervisors set clear expectations and provide feedback about work performance so as to avoid any potential frustrations. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of employees were satisfied with this aspect of job satisfaction. The relationship with ones immediate supervisor was cited as important more frequently by middle-management employees than by professional and nonexempt nonmanagement employees (Table 9).

Managements Recognition of Employee Job Performance


Managements recognition of employee job performance is one of the ways that organizations use to keep employees satisfied and engaged. According to a 2012 SHRM/Globoforce poll, 76% of employers report that they have an employee rec-

16 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

ognition program.7 However, when employees were asked about the importance of managements recognition of employee job performance, only 50% indicated that this aspect was very important to their job satisfaction (see Figure 12). What about employees satisfaction with this aspect? Employees may feel more committed to their organization if they believe that their efforts are valued. More than half (57%) of employees reported they were satisfied with managements recognition of employee job performance. Acknowledging and rewarding employees job performance is important. Equally important are the behaviors that management rewards, which manifest the norms and culture across the organization. For example, is management rewarding competition instead of teamwork? Are managers that retain top performers recognized? Does the organization reward employees who adhere to organizational values and ethics over those who do not? There were some differences in the assessment of this contributor to job satisfaction among employee demographics. Employees who have been with the organization for two years or less were more likely to connect managements recognition of employee job performance to their overall job satisfaction compared with more tenured (16 or more years) employees. Middle-management and nonexempt nonmanagement employees deemed this aspect more important than did professional nonmanagement employees (Table 9).

Autonomy and Independence


Almost one-half (48%) of employees stated that autonomy and independence were very important job satisfaction factors (see Figure 13). Providing employees with increased freedom, flexibility and discretion to make decisions on the job (e.g., scheduling of work and determining how it is to be done) can give them a greater sense of responsibility for the outcomes of their work. Sixty-nine percent of employees were satisfied with their level of autonomy and independence. Employees in executive and middle-management positions valued autonomy and independence more than employees in nonexempt nonmanagement positions did (Table 9). Autonomy and independence were rated as the fourth most important job satisfaction factor by executive-level employees (Table 14).

Figure 12 | Importance of Managements Recognition of Employee Job Performance

50% 40%

2%

7%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 17

Figure 13 | Importance of Autonomy and Independence

47%

48%

More than half (57%) of employees reported they were satisfied with managements recognition of employee job performance.

1%

5%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

18 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Expert Q&A
Bruce Tulgan, founder, RainmakerThinking, and author of Managing the Generation Mix

Many workplaces today include members of four or five different

generations. What advantages and potential challenges does this scenario present for HR professionals?

There has always been generational diversity in the workplace. But nowadays, there are three things that are different about generational diversity. Number one: Due to the growing age bubble on one end and the youth bubble on the other end, all of the ordinary human capital management issues that track with life and career stage issues are exaggerated. On the oldest end of the spectrum, the key issues to grapple with are flexible retention, knowledge transfer and succession planning. The advantage is that there is a tremendous amount of skill, knowledge, wisdom, institutional memory, relationships and maybe the last vestiges of the old-fashioned work ethic that organizations can try to mine for value while the older, more experienced people are still active. The disadvantage, of course, is that all that value is going to retire at some point. On the youngest end of the spectrum, the primary issues are attraction, selection, onboarding, up-to-speed training, performance management and a different kind of retention issue, what we call the development investment paradox: An employer must develop new, young talent, but the more you invest in developing them, the more you have to worry that they will sell your investment in the free market. Overall, the key advantages in the youth bubble are the energy and perspective of the new, young talent, while the challenge is recruiting, leveraging and retaining them.

Overall, the key advantages in the youth bubble are the energy and perspective of the new, young talent, while the challenge is recruiting, leveraging and retaining them.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 19

Meanwhile, in the middle of the spectrum, hiding below the radar, is the under-management problem. So much of the supervisory burden falls on mid-level leaders, who tend to be in the middle of the generational spectrum, and for numerous reasons there is an epidemic of under-management coming from mid-level leaders down the chain of command, resulting in a cascade of problems. The key opportunity for HR leaders is to zero in on the undermanagement problem and help mid-level leaders get back to the basics of strong, highly engaged management. Number two: Since the logic of seniority has been on the decline in the workplace, seniority alone has not been sorting out age difference as a cause of interpersonal issues among co-workers and between employees and supervisors. It used to be that the older, more experienced people were typically senior to the younger, less experienced people, and this did a lot of the work of sorting out age difference as a source of issues. Of course, everyone wants a custom deal nowadays. Nobody wants to pay their dues and climb the ladder the old-fashioned way. The advantage is that people of all ages can now work harder, smarter, faster and better, and try to compete for the special rewards they want. The challenge is that the younger, less experienced people often lack context, are in a hurry for responsibility and reward, and are impatiently resentful of the older, more experienced people in their way. Meanwhile, the older, more experienced people often resent the young upstarts for not being willing to pay their dues and wait their turn. This can be particularly challenging when the younger, less experienced people are in positions of greater authority than some of the older, more experienced people. (The military has dealt with this challenge for a long time, with young second lieutenants who outrank older, much more experienced NCOs. For this reason, I sometimes call this the young lieutenant problem.) Number three: Because we are living through the most profound changes in our economy, society and workplace since the Industrial Revolution, all of the ordinary advantages and challenges that normally come along with any diversity issue are intensified and also confused because of the temporal nature of generational issues. Everybody is dealing with tremendous change and uncertainty. Globalization and technology are going through historic iterations multiple times in a decade. Institutions are in a state of constant flux. Information is in a constantly growing tidal wave. Immediacy is accelerating with no end in sight. And individuals are constantly rediscovering the need for self-reliance. The oldest, most experienced people feel over and over again like the rug is being pulled out from under them. The youngest, least experienced people have never known it any other way. Instead of the older folks knowing it all, everything is always new. The obsolescence curve has become so steep that the learning curve for all is constant all the time, thus removing many of the advantages of age and experience. Meanwhile, the old-fashioned basics like poise, judgment and wisdom remain the kind of knowledge on which the learning curve cannot be accelerated, and yet many younger, less experienced people simply cannot be made to appreciate. As a result, it is more important that we address some of the basic diversity issue components of generational difference: We need to help folks better understand where people of different generations are coming from and where they are headed, learn to better appreciate those differences, and learn to leverage them.

The key opportunity for HR leaders is to zero in on the under-management problem and help mid-level leaders get back to the basics of strong, highly engaged management.

20 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Job security and compensation are traditionally among the most


frequently cited factors for employees job satisfaction. What do workers from different generations value more (or less) when determining their happiness on the job?

Less experienced workers are least likely to believe any claims or offers of job security.

Among those of all generations, most workers have in common a growing sense that their employment relationships are primarily transactional in nature. The older Boomers sometimes have an uneasiness admitting that money (as opposed to mission or professional commitment) is the primary quid pro quo in the employment relationship. The younger the person, the less likely they are to manifest that uneasiness. On the flip side, the younger, less experienced workersGeneration Z and Generation Yare least likely to believe any claims or offers of job security. Boomers may be the ones who have been burned by offers or claims of longerterm security, but they still want to believe when such offers or claims are made to them. To Gen Yers and Gen Zers, job security is not a meaningful concept. What is more, security and long-term employment are not part of the same equation. For people of all ages, increasingly, a much more meaningful concept is career security, and that comes from cutting-edge technical skills, highly developed transferable skills, relationships with decision makers, and tangible results that prove an individuals ability to add value. Beyond that, it should be noted that the older the employee, our research shows, the more likely the individual is to think that financial compensation should align with seniority and experience. The younger the employee, the more likely he or she is to think that financial compensation should align with short-term measures of productivity and quality or value of goods/services in the marketplace. When it comes to rewards determining happiness, outside of compensation and security, we find that people of all generations tend to cite most often the same five nonfinancial conditions of work: schedule, relationships, task choice, learning opportunities and location (or work space). Where we see generational differences on this, in our latest research, is as follows:

First, the younger the person, the more likely he or she is to rank learning
opportunities and relationships at work higher. The older the person, the more likely the employee is to rank task choice higher.

Second, the younger the person, the more likely he or she is to want

variable arrangements in some or all of these factors. The older the person, the more likely the employee is to want fixed arrangements. control of these factors tied to performance measures. The older the person, the more likely the employee is to accept less control of these factors, but control not tied to performance measures.

Third, the younger the person, the more likely he or she is to want greater

Financial difficulties connected to the Great Recession are partly to

blame for older workers delaying their retirement and remaining in the labor force. Do you think this is a temporary trend, or do you see working longer as the new normal, and why?

Of course, economic conditions fluctuate, although the current economic downturn has been deeper and more protracted than any since the 1930s. This comes at a different life and career stage for each generation. This sort of accident of historyand at what life and career stage it hitsis precisely what

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 21

makes for generational differences. So it is significant that the Great Recession is hitting around retirement age for older workers. Indeed, many older people will work to later ages than they otherwise would for purely financial reasons. This may or may not be temporary in and of itself. If we are at the beginning of a long-term economic decline, it may be that private and public resources are simply not sufficient to support retirement at ages as young as we have come to expect. Add to this presumably increasing life spans, shifting perspective on age, as well as protracted time frames for resource amortization, and the numbers alone could make working longer a longer-term trend. Beyond the economics, there are two additional factors to consider, both of which suggest a longer-term trend. First, many organizations are expanding flexible part-time employment opportunities as a way to retain older and more experienced employees, especially those with significant skill, knowledge and experience and, most of all, long-time employees with important institutional memory and relationships. As this sort of flexible retention strategy is on the rise, it figures that an increased number of older people will take advantage of these opportunities to move up their retirement ages. Second, many Boomers in the older (1946-1955 birth years) and younger (19561964) cohorts talk explicitly or implicitly in our interviews about reinventing retirement. There is a significant majority who cite an intention to try to career downshift in their current role in their current organization but continue to work, or to leave their current employer and then begin a part-time or full-time career endeavor or pursue as a career endeavor an interest that has previously been an avocation or interest.

My advice to anyone of any age trying to break into a new career right now is...get really good at managing yourself.

On the other end of the spectrum, young adults today are not only

facing limited job opportunities, but lower compensation in many industries compared with the recent past. What advice would you give to younger workers who are trying to break into a new career?

Again, for Generation Z, it will be a generation defining accident of history to live through the Great Recession at the opening stages of their working lives. What makes it particularly challenging for the youngest, least experienced people right now is that by virtue of their life stage, by definition, they have less experience, context and wisdom. These are the elements for which one cannot accelerate the learning curve. On the other hand, they have their whole lives ahead of them. Plenty of time is what they have that their older colleagues, by definition, do not have. My advice to younger people in particular is to acknowledge and appreciate and take account of those advantages and disadvantages of youth. My advice to anyone of any age trying to break into a new career right now is, first, the first person you have to manage every day is yourself. Get really good at managing yourself. And then, second, be really good at managing complex shifting authority relationships In other words, get really good at managing your bosses. Step one: Once you really understand your role in any work context, then your number one responsibility is to play that role to the absolute best of your ability. That means contribute your very best and put in more time and effort no matter how lowly, mundane or repetitive your tasks and responsibilities might seem in relation to the overall mission of your organization. Attitude mattersa lot. Effort, too, mattersa lot. Be high quality, high integrity and adaptable. Approach every relationship by staying focused on what

22 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

you have to offer the other person. Take personal responsibility for everything you say and do, hold yourself accountable and never make excuses. Dont take yourself too seriously, but always take your commitments and responsibilities seriously. Extend personal vulnerability, but never undermine your own credibility. Listen carefully. Exhibit respect and kindness. Celebrate the success of others. Be on time, or a little bit early. Dont take long breaks. Dont leave early, and even stay a little late sometimes. Underpromise and overdeliver. Dont badmouth others and try not to speak of others unless they are present. Keep your word. Keep confidences. Dont keep other people waiting. Practice oldfashioned good manners. Get lots of work done very well, very fast, all day long! Be a problem solver, not a complainer. Once you get really good at managing yourself, then step two is to get really good at managing your bosses. That means creating highly engaged relationships with every single manager with whom you need to work for any period of time. That means you need to have an ongoing dialogue with every boss about exactly what that boss needs and expects from you. What are the concrete actions within your control on which you will be measured and rewarded? You need to know, every step of the way, exactly what you are supposed to be doing and how you are supposed to be doing it. Then you need to get regular, honest feedback every step of the way. If you get coursecorrecting feedback, double and triple check to make sure you know exactly what you are supposed to be doing and exactly how you are supposed to be doing it. Every time you get course-correcting feedback, you will need to triple check to make sure you are correcting in the right direction.

Attitude mattersa lot. Effort, too, mattersa lot.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 23

Compensation and Benefits

To attract the best employees, companies must research the market in their area as well as their industry to ensure that their total rewards packagesalaries and benefitsis in line with their talent strategy. Benefits for employees can include a wide array of perks and other offerings; however, of primary importance to many employees are health care, paid time off, retirement and family-friendly benefits.

Compensation/Pay
In 2012, six out of 10 employees indicated that compensation was very important to their overall job satisfaction, putting it only three percentage points below opportunities to use skills and abilities and only one percentage point below job security. Compensation, along with job security, has consistently remained on the list of the top five job satisfaction factors most important to employees. As the economic climate continues to warm up and hiring rates increase, attractive compensation packages will be one of the strategies organizations competing for talent will use to recruit and retain the best employees. The SHRM LINE report for September 2012 indicated that in August 2012 fewer manufacturers increased compensation for new hires compared with August 2011.8 How do organizations retain the employees who helped them weather the recession? Organizations might not be financially ready to significantly increase their salary budget, but the best organizations take the time to find creative ways to reward and engage their employees. Compensation was rated as the most important factor by employees with three to five years of tenure, 16 or more years of tenure and employees in organization with 500 to 2,499 employees (Table 9). Fifty-eight percent of employees were satisfied with compensation/pay overall. When employees were asked if they had received a pay raise (e.g., merit increase, cost of living increase) within the last 12 months, 50% reported receiving a raise (Figure 15) and 39% indicated that they received bonus. These numbers are higher than in 2011, when 45% of employees reported receiving a raise and 35% indicated that they received a bonus.

Compensation was rated the most important factor by employees with three to five years of tenure, 16 or more years of tenure and employees in organization with 500 to 2,499 employees.

24 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Figure 14 | Importance of Compensation/Pay

60%

38%

0%

2%

Very unimportant (n = 590)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Figure 15 | Compensation Change in the Last 12 Months

61% 50% 39% 50%

Yes Received pay raise (n = 513) Note: Not applicable responses were excluded from this analysis.

No Received bonus (n = 473)

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Employees were asked to rate the importance of the following four common components of compensation (see Figure 16 and Table 10). Being paid competitively with the local market: Fifty-five percent of employees rated this aspect as very important, and 57% were satisfied with it. Compared with employees in small organizations (fewer than 100 employees), employees in large organizations (2,500 to 24,999 employees) were more likely to indicate that being paid competitively with the local market was important to their job satisfaction. Base rate of pay: 52% of employees viewed base rate of pay as very important to employee job satisfaction. Employees in larger organizations (500 to 2,499 employees) were more likely to connect this factor to their overall job satisfaction compared with employees in small organization (fewer than 100 employees). Similar to being paid competitively, 57% of employees were satisfied with this aspect. Opportunities for variable pay (bonuses, commissions, other variable pay, monetary rewards for ideas or suggestions): Variable pay, or differential pay, is often not added to the employees base pay and is dependent upon performance. This allows organizations to better control their labor costs and tie performance and pay together. One-third of employees (39%) reported that this aspect was very important to job satisfaction, and 47% reported being satisfied with it.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 25

Stock options: This is another form of compensation that organizations offer to their employees. Only 15% of employees rated stock options as very important. Forty-five percent of employees whose organizations offered stock options reported being satisfied with them. Executive, middle-management and nonexempt nonmanagement employees found this aspect to be more important than professional nonmanagement employees did.
Figure 16 | Very Important Compensation Aspects

Being paid competitively with the local market

55%

Base rate of pay

52%

Opportunities for variable pay

39%

Stock options

15%

Note: Figure represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Not applicable responses were excluded. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Benefits
Fifty-three percent of employees rated benefits as a very important contributor to their job satisfaction. In previous surveys, benefits have ranked among the top two aspects of job satisfaction for employees since 2002 (Tables 2 and 6). In 2012, for the first time since 2002, benefits slipped to sixth place, placing it 10 percentage points below opportunities to use skills and abilities and four percentage points below communication between employees and senior management. Almost two-thirds (61%) of employees were satisfied with their benefits package26% said they were very satisfied and 35% were somewhat satisfied. Although benefits were rated as very important by more than half of employees, only slightly more than one-quarter of employees were very satisfied with their benefitsa difference of 27%. In a 2012 SHRM study, 73% of HR professionals reported that their organizations employee benefits offerings have been negatively affected by the recession.9 This has undoubtedly added to the trend of organizations increasingly shifting the costs of benefits to employees. The only significant difference in the assessment of the importance of benefits to overall job satisfaction was based on employee organization staff size. Benefits were more important to employees in larger organizations (500 or more employees) than to those in smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees). Employers use benefits as one of the tools to recruit and retain top talent. HR is tasked with finding the right mix of employee benefits that satisfy the personal and financial needs of the current and potential workforce, given existing business conditions and cost constraints. It is important for organizations to take into account and anticipate the needs, preferences and makeup of their workforce, in addition to the organizational strategy, when considering benefits offerings. Finding a cost-effective and affordable benefits package is particularly challenging, given the high costs of offering benefits, particularly health care.

26 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Figure 17 | Importance of Benefits

53% 41%

Although benefits were rated as very important by more than half of employees, only slightly more than one-quarter of employees were very satisfied with their benefits a difference of 27%.

1%

5%

Very unimportant (n = 565)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Benefits for employees can include a wide array of perks and other offerings; however, of primary importance to many employees are health care, paid time off, retirement and family-friendly benefits (e.g., domestic partner benefits, subsidized child care, elder care referral service, scholarships for members of family). These benefits were further examined to learn about their importance to employee job satisfaction, and these results are illustrated in Figure 18.
Figure 18 | Very Important Benefits Aspects

Health care/medical benefits

63%

Paid time off

55%

Defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k), 403(b))

40%

Defined benefit pension plans

36%

Family-friendly benefits

32%

Note: (n = 511 - 559) Figure represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Not applicable responses were excluded. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

There were differences across employee demographic categories in the importance of these benefits (see Table 10). Health care/medical benefits were valued more by middle-management employees than by executive employees and by employees in larger organizations (500 or more employees) than by employees in smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees). When it comes to retirement savings benefits (i.e., defined contribution plans and defined benefit pension plans), middle-management and nonexempt employees placed greater importance on these benefits than did professional nonmanagement employees, as did more tenured employees (16 or more years) compared with less tenured employees (2 years or less), Generation X and Baby Boomers compared with Millennials, and employees in larger organizations (2,500 or more employees) compared with employees in small organizations (fewer than 100 employees). Black employees placed greater importance on retirement benefits than did white employees.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 27

Family-friendly benefits were more important to employees with some college education than to employees with a high school diploma as well as to employees from larger organizations (2,500 to 24,999 employees) than to those from smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees). Female employees placed more importance on paid time off benefits than their male counterparts did. Paid time off benefits were also more important to employees in larger organizations (500 to 2,499 employees) than to employees in smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees). Employees overall satisfaction with aspects of benefits varied: 73% of respondents were satisfied with paid time off, 61% with health care/medical benefits, 60% with defined contribution plans, 51% with defined benefit pension plans and 50% with family-friendly benefits. For more detailed information about the types of benefits and trends in benefits offerings over the last five years, see the SHRM 2012 Employee Benefits research report .10

Female employees placed more importance on paid time off benefits than their male counterparts did.

Flexibility to Balance Life and Work Issues


How important is flexibility to balance work and life issues to employees? Nearly one-half (46%) of employees rated it as very important to their overall job satisfaction (Figure 19). The importance of this contributor, also referred to as work/ life fit, to job satisfaction increased by eight percentage points compared with 2011. More than two-thirds (67%) of employees were satisfied with their level of flexibility to balance life and work issues. Employees with some college education were more likely to indicate that flexibility to balance work and life issues was important to their job satisfaction compared with employees with a high school diploma (Table 9). The SHRM 2012 Employee Benefits research report provides numerous examples of ways in which organizations provide flexibility for their employees. These include flextime (offered by 53% of responding organizations), telecommuting (57%) and compressed workweeks (35%).11 Organizations can also find resources and research on effective and flexible workplace by visiting http://whenworkworks.org and www.movingworkforward.org.

Figure 19 | Importance of Flexibility to Balance Life and Work Issues

43%

46%

11% 1%

Very unimportant (n = 571)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

28 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Expert Q&A
Jeanne Meister, partner, Future Workplace, and co-author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrows Employees Today (Harper Collins)

Job security and compensation are traditionally among the most

frequently cited factors in determining employees job satisfaction. What else would you say is becoming equally important for workers happiness on the job, and why?

Interestingly, managers underestimated the importance of flexibility in the workplace.

Future Workplace just completed an online survey in May 2012, titled Multiple Generations @ Work. The survey probed the expectations and needs of multiple generations of 1,189 employees and 150 managers. The generations that were included in this online survey were Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976), Millennials (born between 1977 and 1997) and Generation 2020 (born after 1997). There were several findings on the range of expectations employees have for employers. One of the most interesting was this: When knowledge workers and managers were asked, What makes an attractive employer?, workplace flexibility ranked the highest and, for employees, trumped competitive compensation and career progression. For all generations of knowledge workers, 35% cited workplace flexibility as their top priority in vetting prospective employers. For Millennials, this increased to 39%. Interestingly, managers underestimated the importance of flexibility in the workplace. Also of interest, we looked at our research data from the point of view of Millennials and Generation 2020 (this included a sample of nearly 650), and we found a new set of benefits of interest to the youngest members of the workforce. These new benefits include 1) the ability to share my ideas in the workplace, 2) the

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 29

opportunity to work for an organization whose values match my own, and 3) the assistance from my employer to build my financial literacy skills and help pay off student debt. This last benefit is extremely interesting, as the amount of student debt in the United States has reached $1 trillion, surpassing credit card debt in this country. As prices soar, a college degree statistically remains a good lifetime investment, but it often comes with an unprecedented financial burden. This is a significant issue, as the recent data shows that nearly one in 10 borrowers of student loans who started repayment in 2009 defaulted within two years, and this rate is double that in 2005.

The amount of student debt in the United States has reached $1 trillion, surpassing credit card debt in this country.

Your book, The 2020 Workplace, discusses the effect that social media

has had on talent management. What are the benefitsand perhaps any drawbacksthat Twitter, Facebook and other mediums have brought to the workplace?

The book examined myriad ways companies are using social media inside the enterprise. First, it is important to note that a small percentage of business leaders are using social media today (micro-blogging, internal social networks and wikis). According to a survey of 3,500 business leaders conducted by Deloitte, only 18% believe social business is important to their organization today, but 63% say it will be important to them in the next three years. There are many ways the early adopters to social business are using social media inside the enterprise: Recruiting and outreach. The U.S. State Department, for example, has more than 295,000 followers on Twitter and is using it to not only recruit new prospective employees, but also to involve senior-level executives in a series of outreach discussions. For example, Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine recently held a Twitter Q&A to answer questions on everything from exchange programs in Pakistan to who inspires her (answer: her children). In addition, Secretary of State Senior Advisor for Innovation Alec Ross spoke to 100 European Union public diplomacy professionals in Brussels recently, where he underscored the importance of social media. One point both executives emphasized was that social media is a place for listening and discussing, not just talking. Employee learning. Procter & Gamble recently deployed a social learning platform called PULSE to its 130,000-plus employees to connect people to people, enable learning across geographies and provide a venue for knowledge sharing. P&G is just one example, and the company joins a range of others that are using a social learning platform to reimagine and reinvent learning to be more social, personalized and visual across the enterprise. Other early adopter companies across a range of industries include Deloitte, McAfee, Telus, Unisys, Cerner and Neiman Marcus. When we query participants in our Social Learning Boot Camp on the benefits and barriers of using social media inside their companies, the benefits noted by these early adopter companies include knowledge sharing, increased productivity and expertise location (i.e., being able to quickly find experts to solve immediate problems). Interestingly, the barriers noted included the culture of the organization, a lack of understanding among senior management and a lack of training on how to reasonably use social media inside the organization.

30 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

What are employers doing wrong today in terms of their efforts to


retain top talent? Employers must develop a better understanding of what motivates employees to stay with a company, in other words, what are the key levers of attraction so top talent decides to stay rather than jump ship? And this is a particularly important issue for companies recruiting and trying to retain top Millennial talent. In the book, The 2020 Workplace, by the year 2020, Millennials will represent 50% of the workforce, and they will soon outnumber Generation X predecessors, particularly in parts of the world where birth rates are low, such as Japan, Korea and parts of Western Europe. Millennials are already focused on how they can learn and develop faster in the workplace. I like to call them the learning generation, since access to training and development and career progression are top criteria for staying with an employer. I see five efforts employers can start to retain top Millennial talent: 1) Workplace flexibility and work/life balance. These are often more important than financial rewards. This generation is personally committed to learning and development, and this often is their first choice benefit from employers. So employers need to re-examine their investment in learning as well as their modes of delivery. After all, Millennials are asking for what all of us want in the workplace: the opportunity to have flexible schedules and learn when and where we want to. 2) Immediate performance feedback. The annual performance review will slowly be replaced by immediate and often web-based tools to deliver realtime feedback and peer reviews. The companies that are early adopters to this are those with large populations of Millennial workers, such as the professional services firms and technology firms, where feedback on performance happens each day. 3) Moving up the career ladder faster. Career progression is a top priority for young professionals, and in our Multiple Generations @ Work survey, Millennials and members of the Generation 2020 ranked the opportunity for career progression higher than competitive compensation. 4) Using power of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to retain talent. Millennials are attracted to employer brands they admire as consumers. A Cone Communications study of 1,800 Millennials found 88% were looking for employers with CSR values that matched their own. So if a company has an extensive CSR program, this needs to be touted in recruiting and reinforced in daily communication to employees. 5) Life skills training offered by employers. In our Multiple Generations @ Work survey, we found that life skills training was becoming increasingly important, and employees are viewing this as something employers should be offering to them. Key topics for life skills include financial literacy, health and wellness and language training.

Employers must develop a better understanding of what motivates employees to stay with a company.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 31

Work Environment

Employers understand that employees spend a large amount of their time at work, and therefore, companies take steps to ensure the work environment is conducive for employees to be productive, satisfied and engaged in the workplace. In 2012, only one aspect from the work environment category was among the top five contributors important to employee job satisfactionjob security.

Job Security
Job security, which employees rated as the top contributor to job satisfaction five times since 2002, placed second in 2012. The displacement of job security by opportunities to use skills and abilities could be an indication that employees are feeling more optimistic about their jobs. Employees were asked about the security of their current job (i.e., that they will not be laid off) in light of the U.S. economy. Similar to 2011, 40% of employees in 2012 indicated that they were not at all concerned about their job security. Two-thirds of employees also said they were satisfied with job security in their current job. According to SHRMs Jobs Outlook Survey (JOS) report for the second quarter of 2012, 35% of organizations plan to increase staff in the second quarter of 2012 and 58% plan to maintain current staff levels.12 Job security topped the list for nonexempt nonmanagement employees and workers employed in organizations with staff size of 25,000 or more (for more detailed data, see Tables 11 through 15 in the Appendix). Job security was more important to employees with two years of college education than to employees with a college degree (see Table 9).

Job security, which employees rated as the top contributor to job satisfaction five times since 2002, placed second in 2012.

Figure 20 | Importance of Job Security

61%

36%

1%

2%

Very unimportant (n = 599)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

32 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Organizations Financial Stability


More than half (52%) of employees indicated that their organizations financial stability was very important to their job satisfaction. The improvement of the economy and job market may have made this aspect slightly less important to employees this year than in the previous years. Overall, 63% of employees were satisfied with their organizations financial stability. The ranking of the organizations financial stability varied across employees demographics (see Tables 11-15). Employees aged 68 and older rated it as the second top contributor to their job satisfaction. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers valued this aspect more than Millennials did, as did middle-management employees compared with professional nonmanagement employees (Table 9).
Figure 21 | Importance of Organizations Financial Stability

Employees with postgraduate degrees were more likely than employees with a high school diploma to select the work itself as a contributor to job satisfaction.

52% 43%

2%

4%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

The Work Itself


The work itself aspect means how interesting, challenging or exciting an employees job is. It can be difficult for employees to remain motivated, satisfied and engaged with their jobs if their work is not stimulating. More than half (52%) of employees indicated that the work itself was very important to job satisfaction. These data are illustrated in Figure 22. The work itself tied with organizations financial stability for the seventh spot on the list of most important contributors to employee job satisfaction. Seven out of 10 employees were satisfied with the work itself. There were differences among employee demographic categories in their assessment of the importance of the work itself. Employees with post-graduate degrees were more likely than employees with a high school diploma to select the work itself as a contributor to job satisfaction. This aspect was also more valued by executives and middle-management employees than by hourly employees (Table 9).

Feeling Safe in the Work Environment


According to SHRM research, 27% of HR professionals reported that their current organization experienced an incident of workplace violence within the past five years; 15% indicated that incidents of violence had increased in frequency.13 In another research study by SHRM, 16% of HR professionals reported that physical assaults have occurred in their workplace.14 While at work, employees expect their organization to take measures that ensure their safety. About onehalf of employees (47%) indicated that feeling safe in the work environment was very important to their job satisfaction. Female employees considered feeling safe in the workplace an especially important job satisfaction factor compared
2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 33

with male workers, as did employees with some college education compared with employees with post-graduate degrees. Feeling safe in the workplace was more important for black employees than for white employees, and nonexempt nonmanagement employees valued this aspect more than professional nonmanagement employees did (Table 9). Employees were generally highly satisfied with their level of safety in the workplace (77%).

Figure 22 | Importance of the Work Itself

52% 44%

1%

4%

Very unimportant (n = 599)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Figure 23 | Importance of Feeling Safe in the Work Environment

43%

47%

3%

8%

Very unimportant (n = 598)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Overall Corporate Culture


The definition of corporate culture varies, but in general, culture consists of the collective attitudes and behaviors of individuals within the organization. It is the explicit and implicit expectations, norms of behavior and standards of performance, the organizations reputation, work ethics, values, and working conditions. Similar to feeling safe in the workplace, 47% of employees believed that corporate culture was very important to job satisfaction, and 64% said they were satisfied with their organizations overall corporate culture. Female employees were more likely to connect this factor to their overall job satisfaction than were male employees (see Table 9).

Relationships with Co-workers


Employees relationships with co-workers are important to their success at work. Building allies across the organization helps employees accomplish their work goals and their organizations goals. Forming positive relationships at work may make the workplace and work more enjoyable and increase job satisfaction and

34 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

engagement. According to 40% of employees, this factor was very important to employee job satisfaction, and 79% of employees expressed satisfaction with their relationships with co-workers. Relationship with co-workers was rated second on the list of engagement aspects and was a higher priority for female employees than for male employees.
Figure 24 | Importance of Overall Corporate Culture

Relationship with co-workers was rated second on the list of engagement aspects and was a higher priority for female employees than for male employees.

46%

47%

2%

5%

Very unimportant (n = 599)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Figure 25 | Importance of Relationships with Co-workers

51% 40%

2%

7%

Very unimportant (n = 599)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Meaningfulness of Job
When asked about the meaningfulness of ones job (the feeling that the job contributes to society as a whole), 39% of employees believed that this aspect was very important to overall job satisfaction (see Figure 26). When employees find their work to be meaningful and fulfilling, they are more likely to be satisfied, engaged and do their work well. Seventy percent of employees were satisfied with the meaningfulness of their jobs. This aspect was deemed more important by college-educated and post-graduate employees than by employees with a high school diploma. Organizations can make a concentrated effort to communicate the ways in which the employees work contributes to the organizations vision and society. This communication may include corporate social responsibility and sustainability activities the organization is involved in or is contemplating.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 35

Figure 26 | Importance of Meaningfulness of Job

46% 39%

5%

10%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Contribution of Work to the Organizations Business Goals


Contributing to the organizations business goals was viewed by 34% of employees as a very important aspect of employee job satisfaction. Contributing to the organizations overall business goals can give employees a clearer sense of their role (i.e., how their work fits into the bigger picture) and the significance and relevance of their work to the business. Compared with professional nonmanagement employees, executives and middle-management employees rated this facet as more important. These data are depicted in Table 9. In terms of satisfaction, 72% of employees said they were happy with the contribution of their work to their organizations business goals.
Figure 27 | Importance of Contribution of Work to Organizations Business Goals

56%

34%

2%

8%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Variety of Work
As shown in Figure 28, 33% of employees indicated that variety of work was very important to job satisfaction. Research has shown that employees will be more satisfied with their jobs and find their work more meaningful when there is variety in activities and the types of skills they use at work. Similar to the work itself aspect, this includes providing employees with opportunities to work on new kinds of assignments that call upon or develop a range of skills and abilities. More than two-thirds (69%) of employees were satisfied with the variety of their work. There were significant differences in employee demographics. Employees in management-level positions (executives and middle management) placed more value on this aspect than did professional and nonexempt nonmanagement
36 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

employees. This aspect was also more important to female employees than to male employees (see Table 9).
Figure 28 | Importance of Variety of Work

52% 33% 13% 2%

Very unimportant (n = 599)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Organizations Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility


As shown in Figure 29, 28% of employees rated the organizations commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) as very important to their job satisfaction. An organizations commitment to CSR involves balancing financial performance with contributions to the quality of life of its employees, the local community and society at large. A broad range of practices and activities fall under the umbrella of CSR, such as charitable donations, cause marketing/ branding and partnering with environmentally and diversity-friendly suppliers/ vendors. There has been an increased awareness of CSR and sustainability in the past few years, leading many organizations to rebrand their products and services. According to a research report by SHRM, BSR and Aurosoorya, 72% of organizations reported engaging in sustainable workplace or business practices.15 There were significant differences across employee demographics in their rankings of the importance of an organizations commitment to CSR. Organizations that practice corporate social responsibility have a stronger appeal for female employees than for male employees. Employees in executive positions also placed greater importance on this aspect than professional nonmanagement employees did, as did black employees compared with whites and employees with some college education compared with high school graduates (see Table 9). Overall, 51% of employees said they were satisfied with their organizations commitment to CSR.
Figure 29 | Importance of Organizations Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

50%

28% 16% 6%

Very unimportant (n = 599)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 37

Organizations Commitment to Diverse and Inclusive Workplace


Diversity and inclusion, although rated low compared with other contributors to job satisfaction, is not to be ignored by HR professionals and their organizations. The definition of diversity keeps evolving. Definitions of disabilities, and racial, gender and marital status are continually changing. State and local governments are enacting laws, such as same-sex marriage laws, that have a direct impact on diversity and inclusion. HR professionals and their organizations need to keep abreast of these changes in order to be an employer of choice. According to SHRM findings, 13% of HR professionals reported that their organization has a staff dedicated exclusively to diversity and 21% said their company has an internal group (e.g., diversity committee, diversity council, diversity advisory board) that focuses on diversity in the organization. In the same study, 14% of organizations reported that their diversity budget for 2011 had increased. The organizations commitment to diverse and inclusive workforce was viewed by 27% of employees as very important (see Figure 30), and 58% of employees were satisfied with this aspect. Organizations that show commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace were more appealing to black employees (57%) than to white employees (20%) and to female employees (27%) than to male employees (18%). Employees in middle-management and nonexempt positions valued this aspect more than professional nonmanagement employees did (see Table 9).
Figure 30 | Importance of Organizations Commitment to a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

42% 27% 20% 10%

Very unimportant (n = 600)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Top Trends from the SHRM Workplace Diversity Special Expertise Panel
1. The jobless recovery is forcing many organizations to increase their workload beyond reasonable expectations, resulting in burnout, decreased engagement and an inability to implement effective workplace flexibility; this may affect some employee demographics more than others. 2. Postponed retirements are affecting talent management (of all generational cohorts), generational demographics and psychographics. 3. Now that the disability community is both the largest and the fastest growing minority in the world, organizations will be reacting to various legislation (ADAAA in the U.S., quotas in other parts of the world) and issues related to the inclusion of employees with disabilities.

38 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

4. Advances in technology are allowing unique instances of discrimination and other misbehavior to go viral nearly overnight, requiring organizations to anticipate and manage to their brand more quickly than ever before. 5. The lack of a set career path and effective succession planning for diversity and inclusion professionals continues to malign the importance of the diversity and inclusion function within organizations. 6. Troop withdrawals in the Middle East will necessitate the inclusion of greater numbers of combat veterans into the civilian workforce than ever before, requiring organizations to obtain greater knowledge of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other combat-related disabilities, as well as military culture. 7. Continuing political and religious polarization around the world is fracturing the social fabric of historically moderate and conciliatory societies, creating confrontational and disharmonious workplace environments. 8. The increase in the number of EEOC claims is forcing organizations to spend more time and resources on complaints, investigations and prevention of instances of retaliation, rather than on proactive or strategic diversity and inclusion initiatives. 9. Old modes of racial demographics are becoming obsolete due to increasing numbers within the biracial and multiracial segments. 10. More states are and will be enacting laws supporting same-sex marriages or civil unions, adding greater complexity to workplace culture as it relates to LGBT inclusion and total rewards structures.
Note: Trends sorted in order of importance, with the first trend being the most important. Source: Future Insights: The top trends according to SHRMs HR subject matter expert panels

Organizations Commitment to a Green Workplace


Only 17% of employees believed that an organizations commitment to a green workplaceone that is environmentally sensitive and resource-efficientwas very important (see Figure 31), making it the least important contributor to job satisfaction. Although employees picked this aspect as the least important factor, 45% of respondents were satisfied with their organizations green initiatives. This aspect had a greater appeal to female employees than to their male counterparts. There are many reasons an organization might invest in a green workplace. According to Advancing Sustainability: HRs Role, a research report by SHRM, BSR and Aurosoorya, the top three most frequently reported positive outcomes of organizations sustainable initiatives are improved employee morale, more efficient business processes and stronger public image.
Figure 31 | Importance of Organizations Commitment to a Green Workplace

43% 23%

17%

17%

Very unimportant (n = 590)

Unimportant

Important

Very important

Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 39

Survey Results: Employee Engagement

Engagement Opinions, Behaviors and Conditions

In the past several years, organizations have recognized that in order to stay competitive it is not enough to focus just on the factors important to employee satisfaction at work, but it is necessary to engage employees. Many studies have linked employee engagement to employee performance, customer satisfaction, productivity, absenteeism, turnover and support of the organization. How does employee engagement differ from job satisfaction? Job satisfaction refers to how employees feel about their compensation, benefits, work environment, career development and relationship with management. Employee engagement is about employees commitment and connection to their workwhat is motivating employees to work harder, who is motivating them to work harder and what conditions are motivating them to work harder. In this research, employee engagement is divided into three areasthe feel, the look and the conditions of engagement. Employees were asked to rate the 34 aspects commonly associated with employee engagement. A five-point scale was used, where 1 represented strongly disagree or very dissatisfied, 3 represented neither agree nor disagree or neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 5 represented strongly agree or very satisfied. The average level for each engagement aspect will be used as a way to determine if statistically significant differences exist among employee demographics.

71% of employees said they were frequently putting all their effort into their work.

Engagement Opinions: The Feel of Employee Engagement


Personal engagement is defined by feelings of urgency, focus, enthusiasm and intensity. It is the energized feeling that an employee has about work. Employees with high engagement will generally agree or strongly agree with the eight statements in this section (see Table 3). The findings indicate that many employees in 2012 were feeling the urgency and intensity in their work. Eighty-three percent of employees agreed (34% strongly agreed and 49% agreed) that they were determined to accomplish their work goals and confident that they could meet those goals. Seventy-one percent of employees said they were frequently putting all their effort into their work, 67% were highly motivated by their work goals, and 66% were completely focused on their work projects. More than one-half of employees reported feeling focused and enthusiastic about their work61% said that they were wrapped up in their work and were passionate and excited about their job, 54% said they enjoyed vol-

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 41

unteering for activities beyond their job requirements, and 51% felt completely plugged in at work. There were some differences by employee demographics with respect to the feel of employee engagement. Middle-management and executive-level employees were more likely than professional nonmanagement and nonexempt nonmanagement employees to report feelings of urgency, enthusiasm, focus and intensity at work. Employees with 16 or more years of tenure were more likely than employees with five or fewer years of tenure to report that they were determined to accomplish their work goals and confident that they could meet those goals, as were employees in organizations with 2,500 to 24,999 employees compared with those employed at organizations with 500 to 2,499 employees. More tenured employees, those with 16 or more years of tenure, were more likely than employees that have been with their organizations for two years or less to report they were wrapped up in their work, as were Hispanic employees compared with whites. Employees with post-graduate education were more likely than employees with a high school diploma to indicate feeling passionate and excited about their work. Hispanic employees more often than whites felt that they were putting all their effort into their work. More female employees than male employees believed that while at work they were almost always completely focused on their work projects, as did Baby Boomers compared with Millennials. These data are shown in Table 20.
Table 3 | Engagement Opinions
Strongly Disagree
I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them I frequently feel that Im putting all my effort into my work I am highly motivated by my work goals While at work, Im almost always completely focused on my work projects I am often so wrapped up in my work that hours go by like minutes I have passion and excitement about my work I enjoy volunteering for activities beyond my job requirements I feel completely plugged in at work, like I'm always on full power Note: Sorted in descending order by overall agreement column. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM 1% 1% 2% 1% 4% 5% 6% 3%

Disagree
3% 8% 9% 11% 12% 10% 12% 17%

Neutral
13% 20% 22% 21% 24% 24% 29% 29%

Agree
45% 42% 39% 41% 35% 34% 36% 32%

Strongly Agree
38% 29% 28% 25% 26% 27% 18% 19%

Overall Agreement
83% 71% 67% 66% 61% 61% 54% 51%

Engagement Behaviors: The Look of Employee Engagement


Engagement in an organization also can be measured by employee behaviors that have a positive impact on the success of the organization. Organizations with highly engaged employees will find that employees agree or strongly agree with the statements in this section (see Table 4). Employees rated engagement opinions (which are about personal engagement) higher than engagement behaviors (which are about groups of employees in the organization). Sixty-one percent of respondents perceived that employees at their organizations are encouraged to be proactive. The results in Table 4 show that employees generally feel people in their organizations do not view unexpected responsibilities as an opportunity to succeed at something new and they generally do not volunteer for new projects.

42 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Engagement behaviors were examined by employee demographics, and these data are presented in Table 20. Overall, management-level employees were more likely than nonmanagment employees to believe that the work groups in their organizations were persistent, proactive, adaptable and expanded their roles. Professional nonmanagement employees and management-level employees perceived that in their organizations employees were encouraged to take action when they saw a problem or opportunity, whereas fewer nonexempt nonmanagement employees felt the same way. This could be because professional nonmanagement employees and management-level employees are project leaders and decision makers within organizations. Likewise, employees in organizations with 100 to 499 employees were more likely than those employed in organizations with 500 to 2,499 employees to believe that employees in their organizations were encouraged to take action when they saw a problem or opportunity. Black employees were more likely than white employees to report that people in their work group were always flexible in expanding the scope of their work, as were executive-level employees compared with nonexempt nonmanagement employees. More employees with a college degree than employees with a high school diploma were likely to say that other people in their organizations often volunteered for new projects. Millennials were more likely than Baby Boomers to report that other people in their organizations often volunteered for new projects.

More than seven out of 10 employees (76%) were satisfied with their work, opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work, and the contribution of their work to their organizations business goals.

Table 4 | Engagement Behaviors


Strongly Disagree
In my organization, employees are encouraged to take action when they see a problem or opportunity My work group never gives up My colleagues quickly adapt to challenging or crisis situations Employees in my organization deal very well with unpredictable or changing work situations In my work group, we are constantly looking out to see what challenge is coming next The people in my work group are always flexible in expanding the scope of their work Others in my organization view unexpected responsibilities as an opportunity to succeed at something new Other people in my organization often volunteer for new projects Note: Sorted in descending order by overall agreement column. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM 5% 4% 4% 4% 5% 4% 5% 5%

Disagree
10% 7% 12% 13% 11% 15% 16% 16%

Neutral
25% 34% 30% 28% 34% 33% 37% 38%

Agree
41% 39% 37% 38% 35% 32% 30% 30%

Strongly Agree
20% 16% 18% 17% 16% 15% 12% 11%

Overall Agreement
61% 55% 55% 55% 51% 47% 42% 41%

Conditions for Engagement


There are certain conditions under which employee engagement is much more likely to occur. Employees need the capacity to engage, reasons to engage and the feeling that they are free to engage. Table 5 lists conditions under which employee engagement can be maximized. According to the data in Table 5, employees positively viewed the reasons to engage at their organizations. More than seven out of 10 employees (76%) were satisfied with their work, opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work, and the contribution of their work to their organizations business goals. However, employees capacity to engage at their organization was low: only slightly more than 40% of employees were satisfied with their career development opportunities and career advancement opportunities.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 43

Similar to engagement opinions and behaviors, management-level employees were more satisfied with most of the conditions for engagement than nonmanagement-level employees (see Table 20). Employees in larger organizations (2,500 to 24,999 employees) valued career development opportunities and job specific-training more than employees in organizations with 500 to 2,499 employees did. Employees in smaller (fewer than 100 employees) organizations were more likely than those from larger organizations (500 to 2,499 employees) to feel free to engage and had reasons to engage. Employees in smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees) were also more likely to be satisfied with communication between employees and senior management, the contribution of their work to their organizations business goals, managements recognition of their job performance, autonomy and independence, and opportunities to use skills and abilities at work compared with employees from larger organizations (500 to 2499 employees). Employees with post-graduate education were more likely to express satisfaction with the work itself and autonomy and independence than did their counterparts with a high school diploma. More tenured (16 or more years) employees were more gratified with the meaningfulness of their job than were less tenured (10 years or less) employees.

Employees capacity to engage at their organization was low: only slightly more than 40% of employees were satisfied with their career development opportunities and career advancement opportunities.

Table 5 | Engagement Opinions


Very Dissatisfied
Relationship with co-workers Opportunities to use skills/abilities Contribution of work to organization's business goals Relationship with immediate supervisor The work itself Meaningfulness of job Autonomy and independence Variety of work Overall corporate culture Organization's financial stability Communication between employees and senior management Managements recognition of employee job performance Job-specific training Organization's commitment to professional development Networking Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility Career development opportunities Career advancement opportunities 3% 4% 3% 6% 4% 4% 5% 5% 7% 6% 10% 12% 6% 10% 6% 7% 9% 13%

Somewhat Dissatisfied
4% 7% 4% 8% 7% 7% 7% 6% 9% 9% 12% 12% 10% 12% 10% 9% 16% 16%

Neutral
15% 14% 21% 15% 18% 20% 19% 20% 20% 22% 18% 18% 26% 25% 31% 31% 27% 26%

Somewhat Satisfied
36% 39% 38% 32% 33% 37% 35% 39% 34% 34% 37% 31% 34% 32% 30% 30% 29% 28%

Very Satisfied
43% 36% 34% 39% 37% 33% 34% 30% 30% 29% 22% 26% 23% 22% 23% 21% 19% 18%

Overall Satisfaction
79% 75% 72% 71% 70% 70% 69% 69% 64% 63% 59% 57% 57% 54% 53% 51% 48% 46%

Note: Data are sorted by the overall satisfaction column and excludes not applicable responses. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

44 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Expert Q&A
Ken Matos, senior director of employment research and practice, Families and Work Institute

Job security and compensation are traditionally among the most

frequently cited factors in determining employees job satisfaction. Do you think flexible work options are becoming as important as these factors, and why?

Thats a bit of a chicken and egg question, and it assumes that job security, compensation and flexible work options are completely separate things. When a job is inflexible, employees are confronted with some tough choices that affect their evaluations of their job security and compensation. Lacking the flexibility to pick up a child from school can reduce net wages if the only alternative is expensive child care. Similarly, an ill or injured employee who cannot take time away from work to recover without fear of losing his or her job is likely to have low job security. For employees in these and similar situations, theres no real difference between flexibility, job security and compensation, because their inflexible work arrangements are creating unnecessary costs and threats to their continued employment. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that most employees indicate that all three of these things are important when considering a new job. The results of the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, conducted by the Families and Work Institute (FWI), show that 87% of employees feel that having the flexibility I need to manage my work and personal or family life is extremely or very important in choosing to take a new job. Job security (91%) and being paid well (89%) were only a little more frequently cited. Furthermore, our data also show

87% of employees feel that having the flexibility I need to manage my work and personal or family life is extremely or very important in choosing to take a new job.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 45

that these factors all are part of an effective workplace, so we should think of them together. For employers, flexibility represents a great opportunity to help employees cut these unnecessary costs and feel secure in their jobs without increasing wages. The upcoming book by SHRM and FWI, Workflex: The Essential Guide to Effective and Flexible Workplaces [to be released in the fall of 2012], is filled with an amazing array of examples, how-to information and tools to help employers set up and maintain flexible work arrangements that help meet their needs and the needs of their employees.

The point at which an employee feels burdened rather than challenged by new demands varies across employees at different points in their lives and careers.

Recent research has shown more men want telecommuting, flexible

schedules and other options to obtain a better fit between work and home responsibilities. Do mens and womens expectations of flexible work differ at all, and how so?

There are some general differences in the experience of flexibility for the average man or woman. For example, data from FWIs Elder Care Study: Everyday Realities and Wishes for Change has shown that while men and women provide elder care in roughly equal numbers, women are more likely than men to provide care on a regular than an intermittent basis and spend more time overall providing care. Yet our data also show that men experience more work-family conflict than women, which is related to the pressures they feel to be breadwinners and involved in family life. Though these and other differences between men and women exist, they are still generalities that may have little to no bearing on any specific employee experience that an HR professional is likely to face. Any employee, man or woman, can be a primary caregiver, be faced with elder care responsibilities or desire more time to pursue an advanced education. In addition, employees have complex lives that may require different types of flexibility at different times in their lives and careers. Elder care issues are an excellent example of this phenomenon, as an employee may be more or less engaged in elder care responsibilities as the elders need for support waxes and wanes. HR professionals are better served by considering the kinds of work-life challenges all their employees might face and how the organization can contribute to an effective solution for both the employee and employer rather than focusing on the gender of the employees. For example, employers should ask themselves how the organization can support any employee with regular and intermittent care responsibilities over long and short periods of time. When the focus is on the nature of the challenge rather than the demographics of the person having the challenge, the organization can develop more holistic strategies that work for both men and women.

The labor market remains in a slow-growth mode, but many companies

are doing well financially and have squeezed more work out of existing staff. At what point does this prove harmful for an employer, and what are ways to avoid damaging employee morale?

Theres no concrete point at which squeezing employees becomes harmful for the employer because theres so much variation in employers and employees and what each is ready, willing and able to give in tough times. Similarly, the point at which an employee feels burdened rather than challenged by new demands varies across employees at different points in their lives and careers. The only way to determine when high expectations become overwhelming expectations is to maintain open communication between employers and

46 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

employees, where everyone is able to discuss personal and organizational needs in tandem without fear of seeming uncommitted. How employers go about motivating employees to put in the extra effort can seriously affect long-term outcomes for both employees and employers. In order to minimize the negative effects on morale, employee health and future turnover, its important to be open with employees, explain the context of any difficult decisions and offer them a chance to speak constructively about the issue and to work toward mutually beneficial solutions. When employees are asked to collaborate with their employers on how to work through tough times, theres a much greater potential for both to reap real benefits. Employees will appreciate having the situation and the process by which management is coming to decisions explained to them, especially if they have the chance to have input into that process. When employers are both open and flexible, its possible to establish systems that help employers and employees make the most of tough situations. For example, employees may prefer job sharing to layoffs if its presented as an opportunity to help themselves, their co-workers and the organization succeed. When employees have to work extra hours, flexibility around start, stop and break times, as well as remote work, can help those employees keep their new demands at work in alignment with their personal/family lives. Finally, its important to consider the experience of line managers. They, too, will be experiencing pressure to help the organization succeed and will have the difficult task of bridging the interests of employees, management, clients and customers. Providing them with support and flexibility to address their own work-life needs will be equally important so that they remain empathetic and respectful of the employees with whom they work. Even if tough decisions are needed to keep an organization successful, approaching those decisions openly with respect for the whole life of each employee (including managers) will keep morale high and discourage turnover once the economy improves.

When employees are asked to collaborate with their employers on how to work through tough times, theres a much greater potential for both to reap real benefits.

Do workers who belong to effective and flexible workplaces have a


certain advantage over other employees? Effective and flexible workplaces are composed of six factors that benefit both the employee and the organization: 1) job challenge and learning, 2) supervisor task support, 3) job autonomy, 4) climate of respect and trust, 5) economic security, and 6) work-life fit. Employees with more effective and flexible workplaces have greater job engagement, job satisfaction, probability of retention and estimates of overall health than employees in workplaces with less effective and flexible workplaces. On the other hand, employees in effective workplaces also report lower general stress levels and lower frequencies of minor health problems, signs of depression and sleep problems than employees in less effective workplaces. When employees are healthier and more inclined to remain with their employer, the employer is likely to have lower health care and turnover costs. We believe that effective workplaces contribute to employee outcomes by allowing employees to collaborate with co-workers and supervisors to develop more efficient ways to get work done that is less taxing on the resources and health of both the employee and the organization. For example, when employees can safely and comfortably approach supervisors to discuss a change to workflow, the organization has the opportunity to evolve into a more efficient system. The new system is better attuned to the needs of both the employees and the employer and is, therefore, less stressful and more satisfying.
All studies mentioned in this interview can be downloaded at http://familiesandwork.org/site/ research/reports/main.html. Workflex: The Essential Guide to Effective and Flexible Workplaces is scheduled to be released in the fall 2012.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 47

Conclusions

Keeping Employees Happy and Engaged

Low engagement and job satisfaction can contribute to multiple organizational problems and have been associated with increased levels of turnover and absenteeism, adding potential costs to the organization in terms of low performance and decreased productivity. It is important for HR professionals to be aware of the needs and makeup of their workforce, as well as the impact of environmental factors, when developing their programs and policies. As the job market expands, it will be particularly important for HR professionals to pay close attention to aspects that are engaging their workforce and important to employee job satisfactionincluding specific differences by employee demographics such as age, gender or tenure. The results of this survey indicate that employees are seeking opportunities to maximize their skills and abilities, ensure their job security, get better compensation and build relationships with management. Compensation, as an aspect of job satisfaction, has held the top two positions for employees four times between 2002 and 2012 (see Table 6), signifying that for employees, tangible components are still of primary importance. Although benefits and compensation are often perceived as the most valuable incentive for employees to stay with their jobs, they are also among the most difficult to provide. One of the challenges with compensation is that employees often do not understand how the pay structure works within their organizations. HR professionals can take steps to better communicate information about the pay structure, make sure that they adjust to changes in the market and adhere to their policies in an equitable way. Organizations can highlight the worth of the total compensation package, including the full suite of benefits available to employees. This also speaks to the relationship between senior management and employees. Senior management can reduce possible issues by keeping employees well-informed and by frequently communicating information throughout the organization. Organizations can find creative and cost-effective ways of making employees happy and connected to their organization through work-life fit practices. These can be in the form of flextime, telecommuting and compressed workweeks, for example. These are low-cost options, and they have been shown to increase productivity, job satisfaction and employee engagement. To keep employees happy and engaged, and to hold on to top performers, employers should make a concentrated effort to solicit feedback on a regular basis from employees and encourage open lines of communication. In a SHRM study, 50% of HR professionals indicated that employee survey was one of the ways their organizations use to gather employee feedback.17 The good news is that SHRM offers several ways for organizations to evaluate employee engage-

Employees are seeking opportunities to maximize their skills and abilities, ensure their job security, get better compensation and build relationships with management.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 49

ment and job satisfaction. SHRM offers employee benchmarks by industry and organization size through its Customized Benchmarking Service and the SHRM People InSight Survey Service.

50 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

About the Research

Methodology
The sample of employees used in this research was randomly selected from an outside survey research organizations web-enabled employee panel, which is based on the American Community Study. In total, 600 individuals completed the online 2012 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, yielding a response rate of 83%. The survey was in the field for a period of seven days. All respondents were employed, either full time or part time. Comparing the sample of 600 employees in 2012 to the 2011 sample showed that the 2012 sample had more Generation X employees and fewer Baby Boomers.

Notations
Analysis: Throughout this report, conventional statistical methods are used to determine if observed differences are statistically significant (i.e., there is only a small likelihood that the differences occurred by chance). When presenting data from the overall survey results, findings are discussed, in some cases, even if they are not statistically significant. In some cases, the data are not depicted in corresponding tables or figures even though the results are statistically significant. Tables: Unless otherwise noted in a specific table, please note that the following are applicable to data depicted in tables throughout this report. Data are sorted in descending order by overall column in a table. Percentages for a question or a response option may not total 100% due to rounding. Tables include only response options for which there were significant differences, unless otherwise noted. Figures: Unless otherwise noted in a specific figure, the following are applicable to data depicted in figures throughout this report. Percentages for a question may not total 100% due to rounding. Generalization of results: As with any research, readers should exercise caution when generalizing results and take individual circumstances and experiences into consideration when making decisions based on these data. Number of respondents: The number of respondents (indicated by n in figures and tables) varies from table to table and figure to figure because some respon2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 51

dents did not answer all of the questions. Individuals may not have responded to a question on the survey because the question or some of its parts were not applicable or because the requested data were unavailable. This also accounts for the varying number of responses within each table or figure. Confidence level and margin of error: A confidence level and margin of error give readers some measure of how much they can rely on survey responses to represent all U.S. employees. Given the level of response to the survey, SHRM Research is 95% confident that responses given by responding employees can be applied to all U.S. employees, in general, with a margin of error of approximately 4%. For example, 54% of the responding employees reported that the relationship with immediate supervisor was very important for employees job satisfaction. With a 4% margin of error, the reader can be 95% certain that between 50% and 58% of employees believe that the relationship with immediate supervisor is very important to employee job satisfaction. It is important to know that as the sample size decreases, the margin of error increases.

52 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

About the Respondents

Organization Staff Size


1-99 employees 100-499 employees 500-2,499 employees 2,500-24,999 employees 25,000 or more employees (n = 597) 37% 14% 15% 20% 15%

Job Tenure
2 years or less 3 to 5 years 6 to 10 years 11 to 15 years 16 or more years (n = 600) 26% 23% 23% 9% 19%

Generation/Age
Millennials (born after 1980) Generation X (born 1965-1980) Baby Boomers (1945-1964) Veterans (born before 1945) (n = 598) 21% 32% 43% 3%

Gender
Female Male (n = 600) 52% 48%

Education Level Job Level


Nonmanagement (e.g., assistant, coordinator, specialist) Professional nonmanagement (e.g., analyst, nurse, engineer) Middle management (e.g., manager, supervisor, director) Executive level (e.g., CEO, CFO) (n = 599) 42% 27% 22% 8% No high school High school graduate Some college 2-year degree 4-year degree Post-graduate degree (n = 600) 1% 24% 23% 8% 27% 18%

Race
White Black Hispanic Asian Native American Mixed Other Middle Eastern (n = 600) 75% 9% 8% 2% 1% 2% 3% 0%

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 53

Organization Industry
Professional, scientific and technical services (legal services; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services; architectural, engineering and related services; specialized design services; computer systems design and related services; management, scientific and technical consulting services; scientific research and development services; advertising, public relations and related services; other professional, scientific and technical services) Educational services (elementary and secondary schools; junior colleges; colleges, universities and professional schools; business schools and computer and management training; technical and trade schools; other schools and instruction; educational support services) Health care and social assistance (ambulatory health care services; hospitals; nursing and residential care facilities; social assistance) Retail trade (motor vehicle and parts dealers; furniture and home furnishings stores; electronics and appliance stores; building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers; food and beverage stores; health and personal care stores; gasoline stations; clothing and clothing accessories stores; sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores; general merchandise stores; miscellaneous store retailers; nonstore retailers) Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services (office administrative services; facilities support services; employment services; business support services; travel arrangement and reservation services; investigation and security services; services to buildings and dwellings; other support services; waste management and remediation services) Manufacturing (food manufacturing; beverage and tobacco product manufacturing; textile mills; textile product mills; apparel manufacturing; leather and allied product manufacturing; wood product manufacturing; paper manufacturing; printing and related support activities; petroleum and coal products manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; plastics and rubber products manufacturing; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing; primary metal manufacturing; fabricated metal product manufacturing; machinery manufacturing; computer and electronic product manufacturing; electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing; transportation equipment manufacturing; furniture and related product manufacturing; miscellaneous manufacturing) Information (publishing industries, excluding Internet; motion picture and sound recording industries; broadcasting, excluding internet; telecommunications; data processing, hosting and related services; other information services) Accommodation and food services (accommodation; food services and drinking places) Construction (construction of buildings; heavy and civil engineering construction; specialty trade contractors) Finance and insurance (monetary authorities--central bank; credit intermediation and related activities; securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments and related activities; insurance carriers and related activities; funds, trusts and other financial vehicles) Public administration (executive, legislative and other general government support; justice, public order and safety activities; administration of human resource programs; administration of environmental quality programs; administration of housing programs, urban planning and community development; administration of economic programs; space research and technology; national security and international affairs) Transportation and warehousing (air transportation; rail transportation; water transportation; truck transportation; transit and ground passenger transportation; pipeline transportation; scenic and sightseeing transportation; support activities for transportation; postal service; couriers and messengers; warehousing and storage) Wholesale trade (merchant wholesalers, durable goods; merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods; wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers) Arts, entertainment and recreation (performing arts, spectator sports and related industries; museums, historical sites and similar institutions; amusement, gambling and recreation industries) Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations (religious organizations; grantmaking and giving services; social advocacy organizations; civic and social organizations; business, professional, labor, political and similar organizations) Repair and maintenance (automotive repair and maintenance; electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance; commercial and industrial machinery and equipment, excluding automotive and electronic, repair and maintenance; personal and household goods repair and maintenance) Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (crop production; animal production; forestry and logging; fishing, hunting and trapping; support activities for agriculture and forestry) Personal and laundry services (personal care services; death care services; dry cleaning and laundry services; other personal services) Real estate and rental and leasing (real estate; rental and leasing services; lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets, excluding copyrighted works) Utilities (electric power generation, transmission and distribution; natural gas distribution; water, sewage and other systems) Management of companies and enterprises (offices of bank holding companies; offices of other holding companies; corporate, subsidiary and regional managing offices) Mining (oil and gas extraction; mining, excluding oil and gas; support activities for mining) (n = 597)

15%

13%

13%

13%

12%

10%

9% 8% 7% 6%

6%

6%

5% 4%

4%

3%

2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1%

54 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Appendix

Table 6 | Comparison of Very Important Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
2002 (n = 604)
Opportunities to use skills/abilities Job security Compensation/pay Communication between employees and senior management* Relationship with immediate supervisor Benefits Organization's financial stability The work itself Managements recognition of employee job performance Autonomy and independence Feeling safe in the work environment Overall corporate culture Flexibility to balance life and work issues Career advancement opportunities Relationship with co-workers Meaningfulness of job Organization's commitment to professional development Job-specific training Contribution of work to organization's business goals Career development opportunities Variety of work Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs Networking** Organization's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace Organization's commitment to a green workplace 65% (1) 59% (4) 62% (3) 49% 64% (2) 50% 49% 46% 36% 40% 62% (3) 52% (5) 23% 29% 34% 51%

2004 (n = 604)
47% 60% (4) 63% (2) 54% 49% 68% (1) 46% 47% 42% 62% (3) 43% 57% (5) 37% 33% 38% 34% 34% 35% 40% 37% 17%

2005 (n = 601)
44% 59% (4) 61% (2) 50% 46% 63% (1) 35% 45% 41% 55% (5) 39% 60% (3) 28% 34% 37% 31% 28% 33% 34% 45% 19%

2006 (n = 605)
51% (5) 59% (3) 67% (1) 48% 47% 65% (2) 46% 47% 44% 54% (4) 40% 59% (3) 36% 35% 42% 35% 36% 37% 42% 40% 21%

2007 (n = 604)
44% 53% (2) 59% (1) 51% (4) 48% 59% (1) 41% 49% 44% 50% (5) 36% 52% (3) 28% 34% 37% 31% 27% 32% 35% 34% 31% 18%

2008 (n = 601)
50% (4) 59% (1) 53% (3) 50% (4) 47% (5) 57% (2) 47% (5) 44% 41% 53% (3) 40% 44% 29% 39% 45% 33% 27% 34% 30% 35% 33% 32% 21% 23%

2009 (n = 601)
55% (4) 63% (1) 57% (3) 51% 52% 60% (2) 50% 52% 47% 54% (5) 45% 46% 32% 42% 45% 30% 35% 39% 29% 34% 31% 29% 22% 17%

2010 (n = 600)
56% (3) 63% (1) 53% (5) 47% 48% 60% (2) 54% (4) 54% (4) 48% 46% 51% 41% 46% 34% 38% 38% 33% 34% 36% 31% 35% 28% 26% 22% 17%

2011 (n = 600)
62% (2) 63% (1) 54% (4) 53% (5) 55% (3) 53% (5) 55% (3) 53% (5) 49% 52% 48% 46% 38% 36% 38% 35% 36% 33% 33% 33% 32% 28% 24% 26% 22% 17%

2012 (n = 600)
63% (1) 61% (2) 60% (3) 57% (4) 54% (5) 53% 52% 52% 50% 48% 47% 47% 46% 42% 40% 39% 36% 36% 34% 34% 33% 28% 28% 27% 27% 17%

* Starting in 2004, communication between employees and management was changed to communication between employees and senior management. **Starting in 2008, networking with others who have similar backgrounds and interests was changed to opportunities to network with others (within or outside the organization) to help in advancing your career. Note: Table represents those who answered very important. 2009, 2010 and 2011 percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents by year; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by year who answered the question using the provided response options. A dash () indicates that this question was not asked. Numbers in parentheses indicate position of aspect in respective column year. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 57

Table 7 | Employees Level of Satisfaction with Aspects They Find Most Important to Job Satisfaction
Very Satisfied
Compensation/pay (3) Communication between employees and senior management (4) Job security (2) Opportunities to use skills/abilities (1) Benefits Managements recognition of employee job performance Career advancement opportunities Organization's financial stability Autonomy and independence Overall corporate culture Relationship with immediate supervisor (5) The work itself Career development opportunities Organization's commitment to professional development Job-specific training Flexibility to balance life and work issues Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility Meaningfulness of job Feeling safe in the work environment Networking Relationship with co-workers Variety of work Organization's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace Organization's commitment to a green workplace Contribution of work to organization's business goals 22% 22% 30% 36% 26% 26% 18% 29% 31% 30% 39% 37% 19% 22% 23% 36% 20% 21% 33% 42% 23% 43% 30% 29% 19% 34%

Very Important
60% 57% 61% 63% 53% 50% 42% 52% 48% 47% 54% 52% 34% 36% 36% 46% 28% 28% 39% 47% 27% 40% 33% 27% 17% 34%

Difference (Gaps)
38% 35% 31% 27% 27% 24% 24% 23% 17% 17% 15% 15% 15% 14% 13% 10% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 3% 2% 2% 0%

Note: Data are sorted by the differences column. Importance percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Satisfaction percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very dissatisfied and 5 = very satisfied and exclude not applicable responses. Numbers in parentheses indicate position of aspect in 2012. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

58 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 8 | Employees Level of Satisfaction with Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction


Very Dissatisfied
Relationship with co-workers Feeling safe in the work environment Relationship with immediate supervisor The work itself Opportunities to use skills/abilities Flexibility to balance life and work issues Autonomy and independence Contribution of work to organization's business goals Meaningfulness of job Variety of work Job security Overall corporate culture Organization's financial stability Organization's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace Benefits Managements recognition of employee job performance Networking Job-specific training Communication between employees and senior management Organization's commitment to professional development Compensation/pay Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs Career development opportunities Organization's commitment to a green workplace Career advancement opportunities Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM 3% 3% 6% 4% 4% 4% 5% 3% 4% 5% 7% 7% 6% 3% 8% 12% 6% 6% 10% 10% 12% 7% 13% 9% 4% 13%

Somewhat Dissatisfied
4% 5% 8% 7% 7% 8% 7% 4% 7% 6% 10% 9% 9% 7% 11% 12% 10% 10% 12% 12% 13% 9% 13% 16% 9% 16%

Neutral
15% 16% 15% 18% 14% 21% 19% 21% 20% 20% 17% 20% 22% 32% 19% 18% 31% 26% 18% 25% 18% 31% 27% 27% 44% 26%

Somewhat Satisfied
36% 35% 32% 33% 39% 31% 35% 38% 37% 39% 36% 34% 34% 29% 35% 31% 30% 34% 37% 32% 36% 30% 27% 29% 25% 28%

Very Satisfied
43% 42% 39% 37% 36% 36% 34% 34% 33% 30% 30% 30% 29% 29% 26% 26% 23% 23% 22% 22% 22% 21% 20% 19% 19% 18%

Note: n = 481-586. Data are sorted by the very satisfied column and exclude not applicable responses.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 59

Table 9 | Comparison of Select Very Important Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job level
Middle management (74%) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (55%)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

Opportunities to use skills and abilities (1)

63%

College (71%), post-graduate (71%) > high school (49%)

Job security (2) Compensation/ pay (3)

61%

2-year college (79%) > college (54%)

60%

Middle management (67%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (59%) > professional nonmanagement (45%) Middle management (66%) > professional nonmanagement (47%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (48%)

Communication between employees and senior management (4)

57%

Relationship with immediate supervisor (5)

54%

Benefits (6)

53%

500 to 2,499 employees (64%), 2,500 to 24,999 employees (59%), 25,000 or more employees (63%) > 1 to 99 employees (41%)

The work itself (7)

52%

Executive (71%), middle management (58%) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (43%) Middle management (65%) > professional nonmanagement (41%) Middle management (55%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (55%) > professional nonmanagement (40%) Executive (62%), middle management (59%) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (38%)

Post-graduate (64%) > high school (41%)

Organization's financial stability (7)

52%

Generation X (55%), Baby Boomers (56%) > Millennials (39%)

Managements recognition of employee job performance (8)

50%

0 to 2 years (56%) > 16 or more years (39%)

Autonomy and independence (9)

48%

Overall corporate culture (10) Continued on next page

47%

Female (52%) > male (40%)

60 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 9 | Comparison of Select Very Important Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction (continued)
Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job level
Nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (52%) > professional nonmanagement (37%) Middle management (56%) > professional nonmanagement (36%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (38%)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

Feeling safe in the work environment (10)

47%

Female (58%) > male (35%)

Some college (56%) > postgraduate (36%)

Black (68%) > white (42%)

Flexibility to balance life and work issues (11)

46%

Some college (54%) > high school (36%)

Career advancement opportunities (12)

42%

Millennials (50%), Generation X (51%) > Baby Boomers (33%)

Some college (46%), 2-year college (48%), college (52%) > high school (24%)

Relationships with co-workers (13) Meaningfulness of job (14)

40%

Female (44%) > male (35%)

College (46%), post-graduate (46%) > high school (26%)

39%

Organization's commitment to professional development (15)

36%

Middle management (46%) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (32%)

Career development opportunities (16)

34%

0 to 2 years (44%) > 16 or more years (26%)

Some college (43%) > high school (26%)

25,000 or more employees (46%) > 1 to 99 employees (28%)

Contribution of work to organization's business goals (16)

34%

Executive (46%), middle management (41%) > professional nonmanagement (21%) Executive (45%), middle management (45%) > professional nonmanagement (24%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (30%)

Variety of work (17)

33%

Female (37%) > male (29%)

Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs (18) Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility (18)

28%

Female (33%) > male (23%)

Some college (35%) > high school (17%), postgraduate (22%) Some college (35%) > high school (18%)

Black (51%) > white (25%)

500 to 2,499 employees (38%) > 1 to 99 employees (22%)

28%

Female (34%) > male (22%)

Executive (42%) > professional nonmanagement (19%) Middle management (32%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (31%) > professional nonmanagement (18%)

Black (47%) > white (25%)

Organization's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace (19)

27%

Female (33%) > male (21%)

Black (51%) > white (23%)

Continued on next page

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 61

Table 9 | Comparison of Select Very Important Aspects of Employee Job Satisfaction (continued)
Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job level
Middle management (39%) > professional nonmanagement (22%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (23%)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

Networking (19)

27%

Some college (35%) > high school (17%)

Organization's commitment to a green workplace (20)

17%

Female (20%) > male (14%)

Note: A dash () indicates that there were no significant differences in this category. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

62 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 10 | Comparison of Select Very Important Aspects of Compensation and Benefits


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job Level Differences Based on Education Differences Based on Organization Staff Size
500 to 2,499 employees (68%), 2,500 to 24,999 employees (72%), 25,000 or more employees (73%) > 1 to 99 employees (48%) 2,500 to 24,999 employees (41%) > 1 to 99 employees (22%) 500 to 2,499 employees (66%) > 1 to 99 employees (46%)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Race

Health care/ medical benefits

Middle management (71%) > executives (47%)

Family-friendly benefits

Some college (45%) > high school (24%)

Paid time off

Female (61%) > male (50%)

Defined contribution plans

16 or more years (52%) > 0 to 2 years (32%)

Generation X (44%), Baby Boomers (44%) > Millennials (27%)

Middle management (48%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (44%) > professional nonmanagement (30%) Middle management (43%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (40%) > professional nonmanagement (27%) Executives (49%), middle management (48%), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (41%) > professional nonmanagement (26%)

2,500 to 24,999 employees (47%), 25,000 or more employees (52%) > 1 to 99 employees (27%)

Defined benefit pension plans

16 or more years (51%) > 0 to 2 years (32%), 6 to 10 years (31%)

Generation X (38%), Baby Boomers (43%) > Millennials (22%)

Black (60%) > white (32%)

2,500 to 24,999 employees (44%), 25,000 or more employees (48%) > 1 to 99 employees (27%)

Stock options

Base rate of pay

500 to 2,499 employees (61%) > 1 to 99 employees (43%) 2,500 to 24,999 employees (65%) > 1 to 99 employees (47%)

Being paid competitively with the local market

Note: Dash () indicates that there were no significant differences in this category. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 63

Table 11 | Top Five Very Important Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employee Job Tenure
First
2 years or less Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 64% Compensation/pay 67% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 66% Communication between employees and senior management 61% Compensation/pay 62%

Second
The work itself 61% Job security, communication between employees and senior management 65% Job security 61% Job security, overall corporate culture 59% Job security, opportunities to use skills/abilities 61%

Third
Compensation/pay, job security 57% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 64% Compensation/pay 55% Compensation/pay, organization's financial stability, opportunities to use skills and abilities 57% Communication between employees and senior management 58%

Fourth
Managements recognition of employee job performance 56% Relationship with immediate supervisor 57% Relationship with immediate supervisor 54% Managements recognition of employee job performance 50% Benefits 56%

Fifth
Relationship with immediate supervisor 54% Benefits 56% Benefits 53%

3 to 5 years

6 to 10 years

11 to 15 years

Meaningfulness of job

48% Organization's financial stability, relationship with immediate supervisor 53%

16 years or more

Note: Table represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Table 12 | Top Five Very Important Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employee Age
First
Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 60% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities, job security 67% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 63% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities, the work itself 56%

Second
Compensation/pay, job security, the work itself 57% Compensation/pay 64% Job security 61% Organization's financial stability, benefits 50%

Third
Communication between employees and senior management 52% Communication between employees and senior management 61% Compensation/pay 60% Compensation/pay 47%

Fourth
Relationship with immediate supervisor 51% Relationship with immediate supervisor 57% Communication between employees and senior management 59% Relationship with immediate supervisor, job-specific training 44%

Fifth
Career advancement opportunities 50% Organization's financial stability 55% Organization's financial stability 56% Flexibility to balance life and work issues 40%

Millennials

Generation X

Baby Boomers

Veterans

Note: Table represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

64 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 13 | Top Five Very Important Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employee Gender
First
Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 62% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 65%

Second
Compensation/pay 60% Job security 64%

Third
Job security 57% Communication between employees and senior management 61%

Fourth
Communication between employees and senior management, the work itself 53% Compensation/pay 60%

Fifth
Benefits 51% Feeling safe in the work environment 58%

Male

Female

Note: Table represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Table 14 | Top Five Very Important Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employee Job Level
First
Job security

Second
Compensation/pay

Third
Communication between employees and senior management 59% The work itself 55% Communication between employees and senior management 67% Relationship with immediate supervisor 66%

Fourth
Benefits

Fifth
Opportunities to use skills/ abilities, managements recognition of employee job performance 55% Flexibility to balance life and work issues, autonomy 50% Compensation/pay 64% Compensation/pay 60%

Nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement

63% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 65% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 74% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 74%

62% Job security 57% Relationship with immediate supervisor 68% The work itself 71%

56% Compensation/pay 53% Job security, organization's financial stability 65% Communication between employees and senior management, autonomy 62%

Professional nonmanagement

Middle management

Executive management

Note: Table represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 65

Table 15 | Top Five Very Important Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employee Organization Staff Size
First
Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 62% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 67%

Second
Compensation/pay, job security 57% Communication between employees and senior management 58%

Third
The work itself 56% Job security 57% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities, communication between employees and senior management, relationship with immediate supervisor 58% Compensation/pay 61% Benefits 63%

Fourth
Communication between employees and senior management 55% Managements recognition of employee job performance 56%

Fifth
Relationship with immediate supervisor 52% Compensation/pay, the work itself 54%

1-99 employees

100-499 employees

500-2,499 employees

Compensation/pay

Job security, benefits

Organization's financial stability, feeling safe in the work environment

Autonomy

65% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 66% Job security 68%

64% Job security 63% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities, compensation/pay 66%

52% Organization's financial stability 60% Communication between employees and senior management 62%

49% Benefits 59% Managements recognition of employee job performance 60%

2,500-24,999 employees

25,000 or more employees

Note: Table represents those who answered very important. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

66 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 16 | Male Employees Level of Satisfaction with Aspects They Find Most Important to Job Satisfaction
Very Satisfied
Compensation/pay Communication between employees and senior management Job security Career advancement opportunities Opportunities to use skills/abilities Benefits Managements recognition of employee job performance Organization's financial stability Career development opportunities Job-specific training Autonomy and independence Organization's commitment to professional development The work itself Overall corporate culture Relationship with immediate supervisor Flexibility to balance life and work issues Relationship with co-workers Organization's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace Feeling safe in the work environment Networking Organization's commitment to a green workplace Meaningfulness of job Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs Variety of work Contribution of work to organization's business goals Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility 24% 22% 31% 18% 38% 29% 27% 32% 17% 21% 34% 22% 40% 29% 41% 35% 42% 27% 40% 22% 18% 33% 20% 31% 33% 22%

Very Important
60% 53% 57% 43% 62% 51% 49% 50% 34% 37% 47% 35% 53% 40% 51% 42% 35% 21% 35% 27% 14% 36% 23% 29% 33% 22%

Differences (Gaps)
36% 31% 26% 25% 24% 22% 22% 18% 17% 16% 13% 13% 13% 11% 10% 7% 7% 6% 5% 5% 4% 3% 3% 2% 0% 0%

Note: Data are sorted by the differences column. Importance percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Satisfaction percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very dissatisfied and 5 = very satisfied and exclude not applicable responses. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 67

Table 17 | Female Employees Level of Satisfaction with Aspects They Find Most Important to Job Satisfaction
Very Satisfied
Compensation/pay Communication between employees and senior management Job security Opportunities to use skills/abilities Benefits Managements recognition of employee job performance Organization's financial stability Career advancement opportunities Overall corporate culture Autonomy and independence Relationship with immediate supervisor The work itself Career development opportunities Feeling safe in the work environment Organization's commitment to professional development Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility Flexibility to balance life and work issues Paid training and tuition reimbursement programs Job-specific training Meaningfulness of job Variety of work Networking Organization's commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace Contribution of work to organization's business goals Organization's commitment to a green workplace Relationship with co-workers 21% 23% 30% 34% 24% 26% 27% 17% 30% 28% 36% 35% 20% 43% 22% 20% 37% 21% 25% 33% 30% 23% 31% 34% 20% 44%

Very Important
60% 61% 64% 65% 54% 52% 53% 40% 52% 48% 56% 51% 35% 58% 37% 34% 49% 33% 35% 42% 37% 27% 33% 34% 20% 44%

Differences (Gaps)
39% 38% 34% 31% 30% 26% 26% 23% 22% 20% 20% 16% 15% 15% 15% 14% 12% 12% 10% 9% 7% 4% 2% 0% 0% 0%

Note: Data are sorted by the differences column. Importance percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very unimportant and 4 = very important. Satisfaction percentages are based on a scale where 1 = very dissatisfied and 5 = very satisfied and exclude not applicable responses. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

68 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 18 | Top Five Aspects Contributing to Engagement by Employee Gender


First
I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them 84% I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them 83%

Second
Relationships with co-workers 77%

Third
Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 76% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities; I frequently feel like I'm putting all my effort into my work 74%

Fourth
The work itself 74% While at work, I'm almost always completely focused on my work projects 72%

Fifth
Relationship with immediate supervisor, contribution of work to organization's business goals 72% Contribution of work to organizations business goals 70%

Male

Female

Relationships with co-workers

80%

Note: Table represents those who answered strongly agree or agree and very satisfied or somewhat satisfied. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = strongly disagree or very dissatisfied and 5 = strongly agree or very satisfied. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

Table 19 | Top Five Aspects Contributing to Engagement by Employee Age


First
I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them 82% I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them 80%

Second
Relationship with co-workers 79% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 77%

Third
Opportunities to use skills/ abilities 76% Relationship with co-workers 76% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities; I frequently feel like I'm putting all my effort into my work; while at work, I'm almost always completely focused on my work projects 73% Opportunities to use skills/ abilities, the work itself 88%

Fourth
Relationship with immediate supervisor 72% I frequently feel like I'm putting all my effort into my work 75%

Fifth
Contribution of work to organization's business goals, variety of work 71% Contribution of work to organization's business goals, variety of work, the work itself 71% The work itself; relationship with immediate supervisor; I am highly motivated by my work goals 71% Autonomy and independence; while at work, I'm almost always completely focused on my work projects 78%

Millennials

Generation X

Baby Boomers

I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them

Relationship with co-workers

Contribution of work to organization's business goals, meaningfulness of job

86% Relationship with immediate supervisor 100%

81% I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them 89%

72% Relationship with co-workers, meaningfulness of job 82%

Veterans

Note: Table represents those who answered strongly agree or agree and very satisfied or somewhat satisfied. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = strongly disagree or very dissatisfied and 5 = strongly agree or very satisfied. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 69

Table 20 | Average Comparison of Engagement Aspects by Select Employee Demographics


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job Level
Executive (4.16) > middle management (3.39), professional nonmanagement (3.23), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (2.98); middle management (3.39) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (2.98) Executive (3.82) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.17)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

Career advancement opportunities

3.22

Career development opportunities

3.32

2,500 to 24,999 employees (3.52) > 500 to 2,499 employees (2.98) 2,500 to 24,999 employees (3.80) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.31)

Job-specific training

3.58

Networking

3.53

Executive (4.22), middle management (3.67) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.29); executive (4.22) > middle management (3.67), professional nonmanagement (3.54) Executive (4.75), middle management (4.13), professional nonmanagement (4.12) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.61); executive (4.75) > middle management (4.13), professional nonmanagement employees (4.12) Executive (4.20) > middlemanagement (3.58), professional nonmanagement (3.47), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.27) Executive (4.39) > middle management (3.59), professional nonmanagement (3.54), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.28)

Opportunities to use skills/abilities

3.96

1 to 99 employees (4.09) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.65)

Organization's commitment to professional development

3.47

Communication between employees and senior management

3.50

1 to 99 employees (3.72) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.17)

Continued on the next page

70 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 20 | Average Comparison of Engagement Aspects by Select Employee Demographics (continued)


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job Level
Executive (4.72), middle management (3.99), professional nonmanagement (3.90) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.44); executive (4.72) > middle management (3.99), professional nonmanagement (3.90) Executive (4.21) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.26) Executive (4.37) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.73) Executive (4.42), middle management (3.98), professional nonmanagement (4.03) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.35) Executive (4.03) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.35)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

Autonomy and independence

3.80

Post-graduate (4.07) > high school (3.56)

1 to 99 employees (4.08) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.43), 25,000 or more employees (3.61)

Managements recognition of employee job performance

3.47

1 to 99 employees (3.64) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.08)

Relationship with immediate supervisor

3.90

Meaningfulness of job

3.89

16 or more years (4.22) > 0 to 2 years (3.79), 3 to 5 years (3.79), 6 to 10 years (3.82)

Organization's commitment to corporate social responsibility

3.48

Organization's financial stability

3.70

2,500 to 24,999 employees (3.96) > 1 to 99 employees (3.53)

Overall corporate culture

3.70

Executive employees (4.51) > middle management (3.85), professional nonmanagement (3.67), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.50); middlemanagement (3.85) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.50) Executive (4.63) > professional nonmanagement (4.18), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.97) Executive (4.40), middle management (4.11) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.36)

Relationships with co-workers

4.13

Contribution of work to organization's business goals

3.95

1 to 99 employees (4.08) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.65)

Continued on the next page

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 71

Table 20 | Average Comparison of Engagement Aspects by Select Employee Demographics (continued)


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job Level
Executive (4.65), middle management (4.12), professional nonmanagement (4.13) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.54); executive (4.49) > middle management (4.65), professional nonmanagement (4.13) Executive (4.49), middle management (4.02), professional nonmanagement (4.02) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.48); executive (4.49) > middle management (4.02), professional nonmanagement (4.02) Middle management (4.39) > professional nonmanagement (4.13); executive (4.40), middle management (4.39) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (4.02) Executive (4.24), middle management (4.11) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.58); executive (4.24) > professional nonmanagement (3.81) Executive (4.22), middle management (3.92) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.47); executive (4.22) > professional nonmanagement (3.62) Executive (3.80), middle management (3.67) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.34)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

The work itself

3.92

Post-graduate (4.19) > high school (3.76)

Variety of work

3.83

I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them

4.16

16 or more years (4.39) > 0 to 2 years (4.06), 3 to 5 years (4.07)

2,500 to 24,999 employees (4.35) > 500 to 2,499 employees (4.02)

I am highly motivated by my work goals

3.82

I am often so wrapped up in my work that hours go by like minutes

3.67

16 or more years (3.92) > 0 to 2 years (3.50)

Hispanic (4.11) > white (3.59)

I feel completely plugged in at work, like I'm always on full power

3.46

Continued on the next page

72 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Table 20 | Average Comparison of Engagement Aspects by Select Employee Demographics (continued)


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job Level
Middle management (3.86) > professional nonmanagement (3.52), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.27) Executive (4.36), middle management (4.02), professional nonmanagement (3.80) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.34); executive (4.36) > professional nonmanagement (3.80) Middle management (4.10) > professional nonmanagement (3.80), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.82) Executive (4.14), nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.83) > professional nonmanagement (3.56) Executive (3.92) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.41) Executive (4.00), middle management (3.71), professional nonmanagement (3.64) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.36) Executive (4.00), middle management (3.82), professional nonmanagement (3.68) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.40) Executive (4.00), middle management (3.58), professional nonmanagement (3.60) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.20)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

I enjoy volunteering for activities beyond my job requirements

3.49

I have passion and excitement about my work

3.70

Post-graduate (3.92) > high school (3.49)

I frequently feel like I'm putting all my effort into my work

3.89

Hispanic (4.34) > white (3.84)

While at work, I'm almost always completely focused on my work projects.

3.78

Female (3.88) > male (3.67)

Baby Boomers (3.92) > Millennials (3.52)

My colleagues quickly adapt to challenging or crisis situations

3.52

My work group never gives up

3.57

In my organization, employees are encouraged to take action when they see a problem or opportunity

3.62

100 to 499 employees (3.80) > 500 to 2,499 employees (3.34)

In my work group, we are constantly looking out to see what challenge is coming next

3.46

Continued on the next page

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 73

Table 20 | Average Comparison of Engagement Aspects by Select Employee Demographics (continued)


Differences Based on Gender Differences Based on Tenure Differences Based on Job Level
Executive (3.72) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.12) Professional nonmanagement (3.40) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.08) Executive (3.86) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.21) Executive (3.90) > nonexempt (hourly) nonmanagement (3.43)

Overall

Differences Based on Age

Differences Based on Education

Differences Based on Race

Differences Based on Organization Staff Size

Others in my organization view unexpected responsibilities as an opportunity to succeed at something new

3.28

Other people in my organization often volunteer for new projects

3.26

Millennials (3.48) > Baby Boomers (3.12)

College (3.42) > high school (3.06)

The people in my work group are always flexible in expanding the scope of their work Employees in my organization deal very well with unpredictable or changing work situations

3.38

Black (3.77) > white (3.30)

3.50

Note: Averages are based on a scale where 1 = strongly disagree or very dissatisfied and 5 = strongly agree or very satisfied. A dash () indicates that there were no significant differences in this category. Source: 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: A Research Report by SHRM

74 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Endnotes
1.

When reviewing the top five list of aspects that are most important to employees job satisfaction, it is important to remember that in some cases there may be differences of only a few percentage points, affecting whether an aspect was rated first or second and so forth. Society for Human Resource Management. (2012, September). SHRM LINE employment report. Retrieved from www.shrm.org/line. Ibid. Society for Human Resource Management. (2011). SHRM poll: The ongoing impact of the recessionglobal competition and hiring strategies. Retrieved from www.shrm.org. Society for Human Resource Management. (2012). 2012 employee benefits: A survey report by SHRM. Alexandria, VA: Author. Society for Human Resource Management. (2011). SHRM survey findings: Social media in the workplace. Retrieved from www.shrm.org. Society for Human Resource Management. (2012). SHRM/Globoforce employee recognition tracker survey: Employee recognition programs. Retrieved from www.shrm.org. Society for Human Resource Management. (2012, September). SHRM LINE employment report. Retrieved from www.shrm.org/line. Society for Human Resource Management. (2012). 2012 employee benefits: A survey report by SHRM. Alexandria, VA: Author. Ibid. Ibid. Society for Human Resource Management. (2012). SHRM jobs outlook survey (April June 2012). Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/Research/ MonthlyEmploymentIndices/lmo/Pages/default.aspx Society for Human Resource Management. (2011). SHRM survey findings: Workplace violence. Retrieved from www.shrm.org. Ibid. Society for Human Resource Management, BSR & Aurosoorya. (2011). Advancing sustainability: HRs role. Alexandria, VA: SHRM. Society for Human Resource Management. (2011). SHRM survey findings: An examination of organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion. Retrieved from www.shrm.org. Society for Human Resource Management. (2010). 2010 employee job satisfaction: A survey report by SHRM. Alexandria, VA: Author.

2.

3. 4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. 11. 12.

13.

14. 15.

16.

17.

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 75

Additional SHRM Resources

Additional SHRM Resources

SHRM Resources Related to Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement


Money: Its Not All Employees Want SHRM Employee Communication Resource Page SHRM Health Care Reform Resource Page SHRM Workplace Flexibility Public Policy Statement Employee Benefits Prevalence Benchmarking Health Care Benchmarking Retirement and Welfare Benchmarking Recruiting and Attracting Talent: A Guide to Understanding and Managing the Recruitment Process Employee Engagement and Commitment: SHRM Foundations Effective Practice Guidelines To access these publications and products, please visit www.shrm.org.

SHRM Research Products


Benefits
1. 2012 Employee Benefits Research Report (June 2012) 2. Smoking Policies in the Workplace (March 2012) 3. 2012 Holiday Schedules (November 2011) 4. The State of Consumer-Directed Health Plans in the Workplace (June 2011) 5. Health Care Reform: Where Are Organizations in the Decision-Making Process? (February 2011) 6. Organizations Response to Health Care Reform (September 2010) 7. 401(k) Investment Education and Advice Organizations Are Providing to Plan Participants (September 2010)

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 77

Business Leadership
1. The Ongoing Impact of the Recession on Various Industries Series 2. SHRMs Metro Economic Outlook reports 3. SHRM-AARP Strategic Workforce Planning (April 2012) 4. An Examination of How Social Media Is Embedded in Business Strategy and Operations (January 2012) 5. The Post-Recession Workplace Competitive Strategies for Recovery and Beyond (November 2010) 6. Challenges Facing Organizations and HR in the Next 10 Years (September 2010)

Compensation
1. SHRM Compensation Data Center

Diversity
1. Employing People With Disabilities Series (May 2012) 2. Workplace Flexibility for Select Populations (April 2012) 3. An Examination of Organizational Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (October 2011) 4. Workplace Diversity Practices: How Has Diversity and Inclusion Changed Over Time? (October 2010) 5. Global Diversity & Inclusion: Perceptions Practices, & Attitudes Survey Report (June 2009) 6. Religion and Corporate Culture Survey Report (October 2008)

Employee Relations
1. SHRM People InSightAn Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Service 2. Technology and Its Impact on Employees During Nonworking Hours (July 2012) 3. Work/Life Balance Policies (July 2012) 4. Employee Recognition Programs (April 2012) 5. Workplace Bullying (February 2012) 6. Financial Education Initiatives in the Workplace (January 2012) 7. Employee Suggestion Programs (November 2010)

Ethics and Sustainability


1. Advancing Sustainability: HRs Role (April 2011) 2. Organizational Whistle-blowingReporting Unethical and Illegal Behavior in the Workplace (March 2011)

Global HR
1. The Ongoing Impact of the Recession: Global Competition and Hiring Strategies (November 2011) 2. Global Firms in 2020: The Next Decade of Change for Organizations and Workers (November 2010) 3. Creating People Advantage 2010: How Companies Can Adapt Their HR Practices for Volatile Times (October 2010)
78 | 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

4. What Senior HR Leaders Need to Know: Perspectives from the United States, Canada, India, the Middle East and North Africa: Executive Summary (March 2008)

Safety and Security


1. Workplace Bullying (February 2012) 2. Workplace Violence (February 2012) 3. Drug Testing Efficacy (September 2011) 4. Disaster Planning in Organizations, 10 Years After the Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks (August 2011) 5. Policies Related to Alcohol at Work-Related Events (November 2010)

Staffing Management
1. Military Employment (February 2012) 2. Background CheckingThe Use of Credit Background Checks in Hiring Decisions (July 2012) 3. Background CheckingThe Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions (July 2012) 4. The Hiring of 2012 University/College Undergraduates and Postgraduates (July 2012) 5. The Use of Social Networking Websites and Online Search Engines in Screening Job Candidates (August 2011) 6. Social Networking Websites for Identifying and Staffing Potential Job Candidates (June 2011) 7. Recruiting Veterans With Disabilities: Perceptions in the Workplace (January 2011) To access these products, please visit www.shrm.org/research

2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 79

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2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement | 81

Project Team
Project leader
Justina Victor, survey research analyst This report is published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). All content is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as a guaranteed outcome. The Society for Human Resource Management cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions or any liability resulting from the use or misuse of any such information. October 2012 Society for Human Resource Management. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM members can download this research report and many others free of charge at www.shrm.org/surveys. If you are not a SHRM member and would like to become one, please visit www.shrm.org/application.

Q&A contributor
Joe Coombs, specialist, Workplace Trends and Forecasting

SHRM project contributors


Mark Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, vice president, SHRM Research Evren Esen, manager, SHRM Research

External project contributors


Bruce Tulgan, founder, RainmakerThinking Jeanne Meister, partner, Future Workplace Ken Matos, senior director of employment research and practice, Families and Work Institute

Copy editing
Katya Scanlan, copy editor

Design
Terry Biddle, senior design specialist

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