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How Managers Can Improve Employee Satisfaction

By Logan Mallory
Illustration of Carl the yeti sitting with a laptop next to a big checklist.

It pays to keep employees happy, healthy, and satisfied with their roles. But if you’ve been in management for any time at all, you know this is way less straightforward than it sounds. From resolving conflict to repairing burnout to fixing poor performance; the art of employee satisfaction is extremely complicated. And for managers and other supervisors, holistic workplace happiness may seem like just a cute fairy tale.

Or is it?

In the era of the Great Recognition, employee satisfaction is slowly becoming more accessible. In fact, it’s totally possible to improve employee satisfaction without losing your managerial marbles. Honest!

And it starts with three basic elements.

How do you manage employee performance and satisfaction?

image with text - A happy employee is 12% more productive than an unhappy one

Employee happiness and satisfaction are connected at the hip. A happy employee is 12% more productive than an unhappy one, increasing satisfaction and pride in their work. Imagine an entire company filled to the brim with satisfied customers. That could be you!

But it’ll take some work to get there first. Today, there are three major factors that affect employee happiness and satisfaction:

  • Intracompany conflicts
  • Employee burnout
  • Performance management
image with text - Intracompany conflicts, Employee burnout, performance management.

Balancing these elements makes your company stand out as one of the coolest employers around – and one of the best places for folks to punch their time cards.

But how do you balance conflict, burnout, and performance appropriately, and it is actually feasible in a 24-hour day? In a word: yes! Let’s explore each of them in greater detail.

How to resolve conflict between managers and employees

Conflict is inevitable. No matter how many donuts get left in the break room, humans have a way of falling into disagreements with one another. And if squabbles happen to come between managers and employees, the situation could get ugly fast.

More than 50% of employees have quit their jobs due to a bad manager. Boosting turnover and increasing job satisfaction, interpersonal conflicts quickly dry up any love employees have for your brand.

It’s best to stomp out potential conflicts right before they happen (or better yet, have an action plan for when it does). Experts suggest resolving conflicts in your business using a three-part method:

  1. Open door communication comes first. Let employees know they are welcome to come by and air their grievances at any time, including conflicts with managers.
  2. Know when (and when not) to involve HR. Avoid stepping into a conflict that could be resolved between two parties, and encourage both to work on a solution.
  3. Write an action plan into the handbook. This vital employee resource provides everything your team needs to know about approaching and resolving intracompany conflicts.

Although these steps aren’t guaranteed to stop conflicts from happening, they are guaranteed to keep employees happy and satisfied with your efforts.

How to manage employee burnout

Ah, burnout: an old familiar friend. Burnout affects roughly 52% of employees (wowza), and this number is projected to increase a whole lot more in the next five years.

What to do?

  • Focus on recognition! Help employees feel listened to and valuable.
  • Provide plenty of time to rest and recharge. As much as you’d love to onboard that new client this month, keep an eye on team stress and overload.
  • Get actionable feedback about why your employees feel burned out in the first place. A pulse survey or eNPS is a great place to start.

The more you show employees you care, the stronger their workplace satisfaction will be. The productivity benefits are just icing on the cake!

How to manage a poor performing employee

Everyone has periods of struggle, even with their work. Whether it’s due to burnout, conflict, or personal reasons, poor performance can quickly drag employee satisfaction through the mud.

Research suggests that 70% of employees are not committed to giving their best work performance. But addressing the elephant in the room by sending in a mouse rarely goes well. Instead, we suggest taking a mindful approach:

  • Offer tangible incentives and rewards that make employees want to give their all. Recognition matters, folks!
  • Equip your teams with manager resources that disperse motivational feedback. Employees that receive feedback are more efficient and productive!
  • Be sure you’re providing plenty of professional development. Raises, promotions, and learning opportunities are great examples of this.
image with text - Offer tangible incentives and rewards that make employees want to give their all.

And just like that, you’re done! You’re well on your way to improving employee satisfaction in ways that matter.

How managers improve employee satisfaction with feedback

So we’ve talked a lot about listening today, but not that much about how to get it done. You know the feedback process is all well and good, but paper surveys just don't cut it when it comes to monitoring employee satisfaction and happiness for the long term. At Motivosity, we get this better than anyone.

Motivosity has been working on increasing employee satisfaction for more than a decade – and we’re pretty proud of our results. Our Connect, Recognize, Lead, and Listen software perfectly integrates with any tech stack, allowing managers to deploy satisfaction surveys with ease. Gather insights, recognize hard workers, and see changes around your company in real time.

You’re welcome to book a demo with us whenever it's convenient. No credit card necessary!