Employee Satisfaction Doesn’t Matter?

I was quite taken aback by the text appearing on my screen: “Employee Satisfaction Doesn’t Matter”. As a disciple of the quality movement in the 80’s my heart skipped a beat as I thought “what is this”?

It did not help that the article was written by the CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton. Oh no, not another piece of research discussing how treating people like human beings makes no difference to the bottom line, I thought. But as I clicked into read the story I found the content and conclusions in the article don’t quite match up with the “Drudge style” sensational headline. The title is quite misleading, and I hope was written by a “junior communications person” in his organization. Yes, the title does “pop”, but it does not reflect well that his organization would go the “pop culture sensational route”.

Employee Satisfaction Doesn’t Matter?

Most of us are employees somewhere. Tosay our satisfaction does not matter is quite insane. But as I read in the article, employee satisfaction somehow becomes defined as part of the “employee engagement movement”, which is about defining company culture. Huh?? He then goes on to say “if you are measuring the effectiveness of your culture by your workforce satisfaction you are doing it all wrong” – Wait a minute! The next statement is my favorite: Ask any employee, “What will satisfy you?” and the answer is easy: free lunches, more vacation time, latte machines — and don’t forget a ping pong table.

My initial reaction is this is a problem of selection and the context is quite demeaning! I would never hire someone who equates satisfaction with free lunches, more vacation time, and latte machines. Rather I hire people who want to work hard, contribute to the bottom line, and work in a win/win environment.

Later on Mr. Clifton does go on to state “Employees don’t want to be “satisfied” as much as they want to be engaged. What they want most is a great boss who cares about their development, and a company that focuses on and develops their strengths.”

Yes, I fully agree with that, but what is sad is that he fails to tell his readers the full truth. Let me explain: CEO’s know what makes them and their Sr. Execs. “satisfied.” I would suggest that if everyone in your organization received the same perks and rewards as the executive staff (stock options, car, country club membership, etc.) we would have a much more committed, engaged, and satisfied workforce.

The real question that is being asked is what low cost / no cost method of satisfaction is found to boost productivity with the working class folks.

Read the article by Clifton

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Ray Schreyer

Ray Schreyer is a 20 yr. veteran of the online recruiting industry and author of “The Employers Guide to Recruiting on the Internet”. He is Past President and co-founder of the DirectEmployers Association, a major force behind the .jobs Top Level Domain, and a senior leader in IBM Global Recruiting. Connect with Ray.


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