Yesterday's "Stamping News Brief" e-newsletter focused on job satisfaction. It featured a blog post by my colleague, Dan Davis, in which he wrote about the relationship between age and job satisfaction, and how employers are happy with older workers.
We asked newsletter readers to share their ages and contentment with their jobs to see if they fell in line with survey statistics Davis cited. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs research survey revealed that nine out of 10 workers over the age of 50 were "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their jobs. One respondent in this age group likes his job, but ...
John, a former tool and die maker and a present day R&D engineer wrote: "I read your blurb on job satisfaction, and I can relate to a lot of it. I have been doing a similar type of manufacturing work for about 40 years now, the last four years in southeast Wisconsin. I really enjoy the type of work, but feelings sure sway when it comes to the directs I report to. Those situations get less than professional and lack human maturity all too often. The stress, threats, and high emotions are what wear me out. That's why, at 55 years old, I am looking for a place to settle down, again, hopefully for the next 20 years, doing what I like doing--working hard and skillfully."
John reminded me of the oft-quoted theory that people don't quit jobs, they quit their bosses. I bet we all know someone who has done just that--quit a job because they no longer could tolerate their boss--or would like to quit for this reason. However, the 2013 Employee Engagement Survey released yesterday by TINYpulse said that the employee/boss relationship is not the most important factor in determining employee happiness. According to the survey, management transparency is the most important.
TINYpulse founder and CEO David Niu said, "Not only are capital markets demanding transparency, employees want the same from their leadership. The cost of improving transparency is almost zero, and we are seeing an increasing number of companies using transparency as an advantage when attracting and retaining top talent."
In addition, the research showed that an employee's relationship with their co-worker is 23.3 percent more correlated to their happiness than is their relationship with their supervisor.
Regarding the co-worker factor, Niu said, "This shows that who you work with is becoming more important than who you work for. We often think of employee happiness and satisfaction as being manager-driven, but now as the workplace becomes more cross-matrixed, collaborative, and "bottom-up," the importance of co-worker relationships continues to grow."
I doubt this relationship factor surprises many people. We spend a considerable amount of time in the workplace, and co-workers become an important part of our lives. They can make our lives and jobs better, easier, and more rewarding, or they can become negative factors that have a toxic effect on our job performance and well-being. They might even push us to the point where we utter those words no employer wants to hear from a good employee: I quit!
Bottom line, if you're an employer who wants to keep good workers--and what smart employer doesn't--be transparent, manage people fairly, and pay attention to team dynamics and relationships. These factors matter.
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