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SHRM Survey: Job engagement holds steady

SHRM researchers measured the gap between the importance of each aspect of job satisfaction and respondents’ satisfaction levels with them. 

The gap was largest for compensation/pay, at 38 percentage points, followed by communication between employees and senior management, at 35 percentage points. The importance/satisfaction gap for job security was 31 percentage points.

In addition to examining 35 aspects of employee job satisfaction, SHRM researchers explored 34 aspects of employee engagement. This distinction is an important one, the report notes, because job satisfaction focuses on how employees feel about key elements of their jobs while employee engagement looks at employees’ commitment and connection to their work and the factors that motivate them to work harder.

The report notes, however, that negative results for either measure can have a direct business impact: “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.”

The 2012 SHRM 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey reveals that 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) -- figures that have not changed since 2011, the first year SHRM started gathering these data.

As for what topped the engagement portion of the survey:

• 83% of employees were determined to accomplish their work goals and confident they could meet them.

• 79% of employees were satisfied with their relationships with 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 organization’s business goals.

• 71% of employees said they frequently felt they were putting all their effort into their work -- an addition to the top five list of engagement factors in 2012.

• Tied for fifth place: 71% of employees said they were satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor. By comparison, the relationship with the immediate supervisor was ranked fourth in importance in 2011.

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

©2012 SHRM. All rights reserved.

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