Employee satisfaction is down in corporations of all sizes. SHRM [Society for Human Resource Management] reports that while 86% of Americans were happy with their jobs in 2009, that percentage has been in slow but steady decline ever since. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace finds that only 13% of people around the world feel engaged at work.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Wiseman says that managers can reliably increase their employees’ happiness by setting up opportunities to use and improve the employees’ skills and abilities.
Instead of trying to make them happy, ask them to do something hard. Here’s why: The SHRM survey indicates that “the opportunity to use skills and abilities” has displaced “job security” as the top driver of satisfaction, and it consistently ranks among the top two, regardless of a respondents’ tenure, age, gender, or organization staff size.
The lesson for managers? Although it’s important for your employees to stop and celebrate success or just catch their breath, they might also be ready for the next challenge sooner than you think.