Workplace Satisfaction Report: 7 Things Employees are Looking For

What do workers really want? Finding out what factors employees are motivated by can help you radically improve the employee experience and even boost retention. To learn more about how workers prioritize the drivers that influence their workplace satisfaction, Aerotek recently conducted a survey of more than 1,200 workers across industries and skill sets. Here are the top seven satisfaction drivers the emerged from that study:

  1. Business practices in line with my values
  2. Opportunities for growth and advancement
  3. Your ideas are taken seriously
  4. Recognition for your work
  5. Manager(s) care about your career
  6. Transparent communication about job and company
  7. Compensation in line with expectations

How can employers use these seven factors to inform their management practices to maximize employee engagement and satisfaction? Here are some recommendations:

Business practices in line with my values. The top factor suggests that employees are increasingly interested in knowing that their employers behave as corporate citizens that embody the values of the individual employee. Employees may feel more invested in a company that aligns to their principles, such as respect, openness and cooperation.

Opportunities for growth and advancement. Survey respondents also prioritized opportunities for advancement as a satisfaction driver. Every company has its own model for advancement, and it correlates with the organization’s history, mission and culture. For employees who want to move up, we need to provide that context — why they do what they do — to help them chart their paths and determine how to take advantage of opportunities that will help them continue to evolve.

The common thread among the top two findings is that employees are serious about their careers — they want to learn more, be listened to and to progress through their career path.

Recognition for your work. Having your ideas taken seriously is a goal for everyone. Employees want to know that their knowledge and experience provides them with a unique perspective on the company and that their suggestions are validated. Further, recognizing employees who go above and beyond makes it clear to your employees that what they do matters. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen the connection between individual employee contributions and how they roll up to the company goals. Some people appreciate public acknowledgement while others prefer to be more private, but positive feedback reinforces behaviors that benefit the company.

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Manager(s) care about your career. Attention, particularly one-on-one interactions, can be a real driver of employee satisfaction. Managers should develop a consistent, ongoing cadence of communication with their direct reports and other staff and be available to them when they have questions or need advice. Ideally, building those relationships throughout the team will also serve to spur a feeling of belonging and appreciation.

There’s no reason a manager can’t be a mentor as well. Although it’s valuable to have contacts outside your regular reporting structure, an effective manager builds coaching into the relationship and takes a proactive approach to helping the employee succeed.

Transparent communication about job and company. Employees want to be informed about their job, performance and the company’s status.Whether it’s a company intranet, internal email to all employees or quarterly “town hall” meetings, keeping employees informed about the company’s status (and thus their job security) helps maintain trust and keeps the workforce focused on achieving the goals. On a department or team level, managers should communicate any relevant company news in a timely way so that employees can ask questions or seek clarification.

Compensation in line with expectations. It’s really important in our business to maintain a pulse on the market, especially in this candidate-driven hiring landscape. Employers need hard data in order to make the best decisions, including information on:

  • Local market conditions
  • Employers competing for the same talent and their pay rates
  • Economic indicators and industry trends

Most job candidates have at least a few offers, so there can be a huge opportunity cost to making an offer that’s too low. And it’s not just salary, it’s total compensation. Candidates are increasingly asking for additional benefits such as holidays,workplace flexibility and vacation time.


The common factor among the top results is that employees are very invested in contributing to company goals and knowing that their work matters. To ensure employee satisfaction and engagement, managers need to keep the lines of communication open —to have these conversations regularly in order to know what’s working and what’s not in their organization. By prioritizing relationships and cooperation, employers can go beyond what workers expect and prefer to deliver what delights them and makes them want to come and stay.

Rocco Raffo

Rocco Raffo
Rocco Raffo is the executive director of strategic sales at Aerotek, leading a team focused on strategic initiatives and business development efforts for national accounts in the life sciences industry.

Rocco Raffo

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