As part of reducing employee turnover, employee satisfaction is key. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, the percentage of “engaged” workings in the U.S. is now 34%, tying its highest level since Gallup began reporting the national figure in 2000. 13% of employees are “actively disengaged.” The remaining 53% of workers are in the “not engaged” category. They may be generally satisfied but are not connected to their work. They will typically perform to minimum standards, but will quickly leave for a slightly better offer. Overall employee satisfaction is surprisingly low across the nation. The average number of employees reporting job satisfaction is 45%. This is concerning on multiple levels. Twenty years ago, the baby boomers were reporting 60% job satisfaction; today only 46% are. This lack of satisfaction could have a negative impact on knowledge transfer and mentoring to the younger generations.

Millennials and Generation Z are entering the workforce feeling entitled to employee satisfaction. The Boomers are leaving the workforce feeling like their employment never quite fulfilled their dreams. Gen X, well nobody ever talks about Gen X.

What can employers do about employee satisfaction? Employees have listed these five factors as most important:

· Job security,

· Benefits (especially health care) with the importance of retirement benefits rising with the age of the employee,

· Compensation

· Opportunities to use skills and abilities, and

· Feeling safe in the work environment

The next five most important factors affecting employee satisfaction are:

· The employee’s relationship with his or her immediate supervisor

· management recognition of employee job performance

· communication between employees and senior management

· the work itself, and

· autonomy and independence in their job.

Do not underestimate relationships as a method of retaining your employees. An employee that feels valued, secure, likes the work and people they work with is less likely to look for employment elsewhere. Many companies have implemented recruitment/retention bonus policies with success. These policies reward current employees for new recruits and also reward those employees for every year that recruit stays with the company.

Michelle Dreier is the Member Engagement & Government Affairs Manager at Minnesota Electrical Association