Improving Employee Satisfaction

The Bellingham Herald recently published an article called “Q: How Do I Improve Employee Satisfaction in Bad Economy? A: Lighten Up.”

Writer Bob Dahms presents the question: “My business seems a little dark lately. The crummy economy and lack of growth have us all in the dumps. What can I do to get our mojo back?

The answer given is complex. It acknowledges the problem as a common one- “workplace malaise is widespread.”

First, the article suggests making the workplace less grim and more enjoyable. Employees who are happy and motivated are more committed and productive. The impact spreads beyond just the office, as well. Consumers and clients will be able to sense if there is something amiss.

“Businesses with high employee satisfaction enjoy higher productivity, less absenteeism and better customer retention,” the article explains. “They are also more creative- an important ability in the competitive business world.”

An example of a business that has managed to achieve this attitude is Southwest Airlines. They put enormous amounts of effort into corporate culture, encouraging their employees to think outside the box. They hire people based on their personalities and ability to remain comfortable and think on their feet in any situation.

Their job interviews include questions like “One time my sense of humor helped me out was…”, “My personal motto is…” and “An example of my top performance is…”

They focus less on experience and job skills, because they know they can teach the right person anything they need to know for their new job.

The article adds: “It’s appropriate for small businesses to draw some lessons from Southwest. Even though they’re huge now, they think of themselves as a ‘big, small business’.”