Respect and trust top the list of most important employee job satisfaction factors


Our latest SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, released at SHRM’s 2015 Talent Management Conference & Exposition shows that last year marked the greatest increase in the percentage of employees that said they were satisfied with their current job since we began fielding the annual survey in 2002.  During the recession years, job security was the most important determinant of employee job satisfaction but today, that’s not what tops the list of what employees value most. Instead, according to the survey, “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” and “trust between employees and senior management” were the first and second most important factors determining how satisfied employees are with their jobs.

However, while 72% of employees rated respectful treatment of employees at all levels as “very important” to their job satisfaction, only 33% said they were “very satisfied” with this aspect.  Similarly, while 64% of employees rated trust between employees and senior management as very important to their job satisfaction, only 28% said they were very satisfied with this aspect.  Employees were even less satisfied with other top job satisfaction factors – only 27% said they are very satisfied with their benefits (the third most important job satisfaction factor with 63% rating this aspect as “very important”) and only 24% said they are very satisfied with their compensation/pay (the fourth most important factor with 61% rating this factor as “very important”).

Employees appeared to be the least satisfied with many aspects related to their ability to advance in their career.  Only 20% said they were very satisfied with career advancement opportunities within their organization, 21% with their career development options, 22% with the job specific training they are offered and only 23% were very satisfied with their organization’s commitment to professional development.

While organizations may have reduced investments in training and career development as a cost saving measure during the recession, the findings make it clear that to keep employees satisfied more attention will need to be given to training and career development moving forward.  The good news is that these kinds of investments can no doubt also boost employees’ perceptions of respect and trust within their organizational culture and in doing so increase satisfaction and engagement overall.

Read more about the SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey report in the Trends Watch column of HR Magazine at and at the SHRM Research page at



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