Keep employee satisfaction high with these 8 drivers

Author - Ennova

Having satisfied employees will strengthen your organization in several ways. But what exactly contributes to employee satisfaction? Explore these 8 employee satisfaction drivers that create a fulfilling work environment by boosting retention, productivity, and customer service – ensuring your employees and thereby organization thrives in the ever-evolving landscape of employment.


After reading this article you will know more about:


What is employee satisfaction?


Employee satisfaction is a term used to describe how satisfied employees are with their workplace, employee experience, the organization, the working environments, etc. Satisfaction is about to what extent the employee enjoys their job.

Job satisfaction reflects the employee’s feeling of belonging and attachment to his or her job and the organization in general. In other words, job satisfaction is the result of an individual comparison between the present conditions at work and expectations of a good working life.

Typical survey questions on satisfaction could be:

  • Overall, how satisfied are you as an employee at COMPANY?
  • Imagine a workplace that is perfect in all aspects. How far from or close to this ideal do you consider COMPANY to be?

The difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction and employee engagement may seem like two very similar terms, but they are actually quite different. To drive productivity and build a strong workforce, it is important to understand the difference between these two.

Employee satisfaction is “what can the organization do for me?” Can I have a weekly day off, leave at 2 pm or work remotely? On the contrary, employee engagement is more like a partnership between the employee and the organization, meaning “What can we do together to succeed?”

Employee satisfaction refers to the extent to which employees are content or pleased with their work and environment.

Employee satisfaction is about the extent to which the employee feels that his/her desires and needs at work are fulfilled. Key characteristics of employee satisfaction include:

  1. Contentment: Reflects the degree to which employees feel their needs and expectations are being met.
  2. Reactive: Employee satisfaction is often a response to specific factors or events at the workplace.
  3. Focus on outcomes: Satisfaction is typically influenced by factors such as compensation, work-life balance, and job security.

Employee Engagement refers to the emotional connection, involvement, and commitment employees have towards their work and the organization. It is more related to the greater mission, cooperation, and succeeding as a business. 

Key characteristics of employee engagement include:

  1. Emotional commitment: Engaged employees feel a strong sense of connection and commitment to their work and the organization.
  2. Proactive: Employee engagement is driven by intrinsic motivation and a desire to make a meaningful impact.
  3. Focus on experiences: Engagement is influenced by factors such as meaningful work, opportunities for growth, recognition, and a supportive work environment.

That means employees may be satisfied with the working conditions, but may not necessarily be engaged in their work. And that can be a problem for the organization, because satisfaction may be enough to retain the employees, but it will most likely not be enough to tap the full potential of an employee’s productivity and ultimately becomes a waste of resources and money in the organization.  

What impacts employee satisfaction?

Before you can work with employee satisfaction, you need to know what impacts it. The most important thing that impacts your employee satisfaction is the job and all that it entails. To what extent are the job tasks interesting? Are my competencies being used in the best way?

Other aspects that impact employee satisfaction are:

  1. Recognition and appreciation: 

    We know that it is very important to make sure that your employees feel valued and recognized for their effort and contributions in your organization. To practice this, you can ensure regular feedback, recognition programs or bonuses.

  2. Opportunities for growth and development: 

    Employees also want to feel that they are growing professionally and that their careers are advancing. We recommend that you provide opportunities for any kind of training and extra education.

  3. Work-life balance: 

    This one is more important than ever. Over and over again, we see how important this is when we talk to our customers. Employees want to have a flexible life, meaning that work can be done anytime and anywhere, depending on the employee's personal life. Work is an activity – not a location.  

  4. Positive work environment: 

    The work environment and the culture you have in your organization can be toxic if it is not healthy. Or it can be a huge driver for your employees' satisfaction if it is positive, open, and inclusive. Your employees want to work in an environment that is supportive, collaborative and positive. Focus on teamwork, open communication and a sense of community. You may also focus on creating a sustainable work environment.

  5. Autonomy and decision-making authority: 

    Do your employees feel they have control over their work? If not, it is important that you change that. Because your employees will be more satisfied in their work if they have the autonomy to make decisions that impact their role and responsibilities.


8 drivers that keeps employee satisfaction high

If you want to work very specifically on increasing your employees’ satisfaction, below are the eight main drivers we recommend you focus and work on with dedication.

Working with these eight drivers, you can help create a work environment that supports your employee satisfaction and fosters a positive and engaged workforce.


1. Reputation

The reputation driver is largely driven by the immediate feeling an employee has when thinking about the organization. This also means that, if an employee is personally dissatisfied with being a member of the organization, it will influence the sense of organizational pride negatively. Also, this score is typically influenced by the perception of the Senior Management of the organization. 

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • I am proud to tell other people where I work
  • Other people consider the company to be a good place to work
  • The company has a good image


2. Senior management 

Senior Management acts as the captain(s) steering the ship that is the organization. The confidence in them determines how you respond to the decisions they make. If the confidence is high, you will follow their directions, even if you don’t always agree or understand them fully. Senior Management is very dependent on managers at all levels to bring forward the voice of the employees, and in this way, there may be steps you can take in relation to your own team to improve the scores on this driver.

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • Senior management clearly communicates the company’s strategy and goals
  • I have confidence in the decisions made by senior management
  • Senior management sets a good example for others to follow

3. Immediate manager

From many years of experience, we know that the immediate manager is key for improving the results on drivers such as Cooperation, the Job, Learning & Development, and Working Conditions. This close connection also means that if your team sees your leader working actively to improve one of these related drivers, it will show in the next result for immediate manager. For leaders, the most important thing is to focus on leadership behavior and make behavioral adjustments in the way the leader works with the actions planned.

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • My immediate manager creates a work culture in my department that is characterized by trust and openness.
  • My immediate manager motivates the department to exceed expectations.
  • My immediate manager provides me with the constructive feedback I need to do my job well. 


4. Cooperation

Cooperation depends on a valid and active norm of reciprocation in the team. Team members should feel confident that an effort on their part will be reciprocated by other team members.

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • In my department, do we respect and trust each other?
  • In my department do we all pull in the same direction in order to reach our department’s goal?
  • In my department, does everyone take the initiative to get the job done?

    5. Job content

We know from our many projects, that job content is one of the primary drivers of engagement and satisfaction. Actually, it is often the driver with the biggest influence on employee satisfaction and engagement. Hence, it is very common that this driver is among the highlighted focus areas to improve or maintain. Normally this is also an area with a lot of opportunities for the manager, the team, and the individual team member to make an impact together.

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • My job is highly interesting to me
  • My job makes the best use of my skills
  • My job gives me sufficient challenges


6. Working conditions

Working conditions are the conditions surrounding the work itself and which enable the employees to perform their job. It ranges from the actual physical surroundings to the mental perceptions of the surrounding environment.

Overall, this driver concerns the prerequisites we have for doing a good job and feeling good while doing it. Working conditions are often highlighted as a focus area for the team, even if the score is not particularly low. This happens when the data shows that this driver has a significant impact on the engagement of your team and that there is potential to achieve an even better result.

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • The physical working environment at my place of work
  • I feel good about the workload in my job
  • The company has clear processes and tools enabling me to carry out my job efficiently 

    7. Remuneration

It is important to remember that the remuneration score covers more than just salary. While some organizations choose to invest mainly in monetary rewards such as the monthly base pay, pension, and bonus schemes, others will instead focus on softer benefits like flexible working arrangements, vacation days, health and life insurance, or the opportunity to do volunteer work with pay. The remuneration driver covers both areas, as well as the feeling of job security.

Salary/bonus is one of the most common ways to motivate people, even though it has a low impact on engagement. Studies carried out across industries and organizational levels show that employees who feel they are treated fairly by their organization, superiors and colleagues are more motivated and perform better than employees who perceive their work environment as unfair.

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • My salary compared to what I could get in a similar position elsewhere
  • My nonmonetary benefits compared to what I could get in a similar position elsewhere
  • My job security 

    8. Learning & development

It is not uncommon to think back to our last classroom training when we evaluated the level of learning and development in our job. But most learning happens on the job and everybody has a responsibility to be proactive about their own development. Leaders should aim to establish a good environment for learning and feedback while expanding the understanding of the many shapes and forms of learning. One way to foster a learning environment is to work with “Action Learning.”

Questions to evaluate this driver:

  • It is clear to me where I need to develop in my job
  • I actively seek out opportunities that help me develop in my job
  • I often receive constructive feedback from my colleagues 

The main benefits of satisfied employees

When you succeed in having satisfied employees in the organization, you will experience a number of benefits that will strengthen your organization. The three main benefits of satisfied employees are:

  1. Higher retention:

    Satisfied employees are less likely to leave your organization, which means you will experience a lower turnover. That is very beneficial because with a high retention, you will reduce the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees.

  2. Increased productivity:

    Satisfied employees are typically – but not always – more motivated, engaged, and productive, which will result in better performance in your organization.

    When your employees are satisfied, they are more likely to provide better customer service, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 



Guide: 8 steps to improve your employee experience in year 1

This guide "8 steps to successful Employee Experience in year 1" exclusively focuses on year 1 of your transformation. We hope that these 8 steps will make your work with employee experiences more manageable - and improved! 

Quick guide_grafik_1200x628 px 5




We empower organizations and leaders to improve the employee and customer experience through proven, concise and engaging advisory. We are constantly refining our solutions by collaborating with the world's best companies and by being at the forefront of global trends in the industry.