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If you ask employers about their top priorities for the future, many might be apt to say technology adoption rates, streamlining processes, customer satisfaction. Yet, employee satisfaction directly impacts business performance, including the bottom line. Here are only a few reasons why employee satisfaction should be a top priority. And while these aren't the only reasons, they are significant.

HR Daily Advisor reports that "it is clear-cut that employee satisfaction leads to organizational success," through

  • Higher Productivity - Economists from the University of Warwick report that "happiness made employees around 12% more productive, while unhappy workers showed to be 10% less productive."
  • More Creativity and Collaboration - HR Daily Advisor also reports that, research has shown that workers who are happy tend to be more collaborative in working toward common goals.
  • Lower Turnover - Turnover can be a costly proposition. According to HR Daily Advisor, replacing entry-level employee's costs between 30% to 50% of an annual salary; for a mid-level employee, up to 150%; and for a senior or highly specialized employee, up to 400%.

"In my work with organizations, employee satisfaction can be observed based on the type of relationships employees share with colleagues and customers. We know that the relationship managers established with their reports, directly impacts employee’s ability to speak up and drive performance," said Venus Rekow, the Chief Behavioral Strategist at Neural Shifts. Although traditionally, employee satisfaction has been associated only with turnover rates, Gallup conducted a meta-analysis with 7,939 business units within 36 organizations and found that there is a strong correlation between employee satisfaction ratings and overall business performance.

Top recruiting firm Robert Half further explains that, happy employees can lead to happy customers. But the opposite is also true. Unhappy employees can lead to unsatisfied customers, which can negatively impact your bottom line.

So, how do employers demonstrate to employees they are a top priority?

Related Article: Why Self-Actualized Companies Achieve Higher Employee Satisfaction

Understand What Motivates Your Employees and What Makes Them Tick

Robert Half believes one of the key things for companies and hiring managers to understand is "what makes your employees tick." Their report "It's Time We All Work Happy," shows that every employee has different needs, goals, preferences and personalities. This necessitates the need to talk to employees, one-on-one, to find out what motivates them and to personalize a plan that ensures their satisfaction at work.

There are several ways employers can demonstrate to employees that they are a top priority and their efforts are valued and appreciated.

Related Article: 7 Ways to Improve Your Company's Employee Experience

Be Deliberate About Catching Employees Doing Good Work

Unfortunately, employees often only hear when things are wrong or when they fully or partially miss the mark on a task. Employers need to make a conscious effort to notice employees doing good things at work and verbally express appreciation right away; and not only down the road during performance reviews. A simple thank you goes a long way.

"Employee's brain naturally seek recognition; sometimes, a thank you note goes a long way. The brain gives high value to novelty; so surprising employees with awards, thank you, verbal recognition in front of others can carry significant weight in the employee’s experience," said Rekow. She further explained that last year; during a project, she interviewed an employee from a high-tech organization, who was very touched after receiving a flower arrangement and a thank you card signed by hundred people as a thank you for her work.  It was the first time in ten years of service that a manager had showed gratitude. The employee had tears while describing the event, said Rekow.

Other things employers can do to demonstrate to their employees that they are a top priority, is by creating a physically and culturally healthy and safe workplace, provide growth opportunities, and be willing to listen to the ideas and suggestions of employees.

Due to the significant impact employee satisfaction can have on other employees’ morale and cooperation, customers, and the success of a business as a whole, it should be at the top of the priority list for business leaders.