A New Metric for Success: Engaged Employees

Measuring and increasing the job satisfaction of employees is no longer optional for transforming an employer’s vision into profits for all.

While senior executives are responsible for the vision, goals, and overall success of a company, there is little chance of their objectives being realized without the effort that is brought every day by everyone else.  In today’s values driven work environment, employees are onboard and will thrive when their expectations are met regarding trusted leadership and personalized success.

What does it take for employees to thrive in today’s work environment? With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day in the U.S., today’s largest generation in the workforce is now Millennials.  Millennials are between the ages of 23 and 38 and represent 56 million workers, or a third of the US workforce.  Their expectations regarding what they want from their employer is different than generations before them, and they are redefining the labor force as a result.

Over the last 25 years technology has been the number one driver of change for the American worker, allowing people to be connected from anywhere and achieve a level of efficiency not seen before.  Today’s Millennial generation has grown up with this technology and has turned it into a lifestyle that is a part of today’s work-life balance.  Older generations have also adopted this culture fairly easily.

Today working for a good company doesn’t mean working for a big company with job security and a pension plan.  Today working for a good company means working for a company where employees trust their company’s leadership and believe the company cares about their individual success.  This includes working for a company that has a caring culture where employees are encouraged to share ideas and opinions, where respect amongst employees is paramount, and employment arrangements are deemed to be clear and fair.

Employers need to take a holistic approach to the employee experience to achieve this.  Asking what makes a company a great place to come to work is a question all management teams need to challenge themselves with.  The answer begins with recognizing employees as individuals and understanding their employee population on a deeper level.  Gone are the days of the employer mass communicating to their employees exactly what they are expected to know.  Instead good employers are working to uncover their employee’s motivators, values, attitudes and goals.  This information can be used to develop training programs that help employees succeed and obtain promotions, personalize communications that address a diverse workforce, and provide forums for authentic communications and feedback at all levels throughout the organization without fear of reprisal.

All of this feeds into company culture.  Focusing on workplace culture should never be underestimated by company leaders.  Fostering cultures that promote flexibility, training, and stress reduction are key factors for a successful environment.  Flexibility can come in terms of redefining when and where work occurs in an on-line environment or ensuring workers shifts realistically fit around family schedules and commuting concerns in an on-site environment.  It can mean an employer providing summer Fridays off (especially popular in states that experience harsh winters when every summer weekend is prized), or perhaps allowing for a paid sabbatical for long term employees.  Worker training shows a commitment to employee’s success and to their future income potential and promotions.  With technology continuing to redefine how people do their jobs, making sure no-one is left behind with new technology and new requirements is extremely important for continuity.  Additionally stress, in all its shapes and sizes, has become an undeniable issue.  Whether it’s reducing on-the-job stress by setting realistic goals and procedures for people or paying attention to personal stress reduction by helping alleviate financial and healthcare concerns, lower stress employment environments allow employees to be more present at work, more productive, and helps avoid employee burn out and turnover.

Thoughtful employers constantly adapt to changes.  The workforce issues of 2020 demand new attention to employee engagement.  A regular, repeated cycle of surveys and improvements will put the smart employer, and their satisfied employees, ahead of the competition.  That’s the new formula for success in today’s economy.


Margaret Lett,
PhD Economics
Minneapolis based Entrepreneur

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