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The secret to employee satisfaction is 360º communication! Who has the most impact on the degree of satisfaction?

[August 30, 2017] BY Haruka Nakamoto

These days, people say that communication is so very important. On the West Coast of the United States, the closed office is out and people now work in different places in open plan offices to stimulate communication. The result is that there is more innovation and more ideas.

Related article: Primo Orpilla Interview #1: We speak to the Studio O+A co-founder about the starting points for West Coast design.

In Japan, as well, an increasing number of offices are aiming to stimulate communication by moving from a conventional island office with assigned desks to introducing flexible seating and communication spaces. For example, when Yahoo moved its head office to Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho in 2016, the company introduced flexible seating at randomly arranged desks to create more communication.

Photograph courtesy of Yahoo! JAPAN Corporate Blog

Perhaps you have heard people say that adopting this kind of layout has increased the opportunities to talk to people they haven’t spoken with before.

We at Worker’s Resort made a study of the impact of communication on employee satisfaction.

The study surveyed 400 respondents in Japan including 13.8% in the management ranks (proprietors, executives, etc.), 23.5% in the middle management ranks (department heads, section heads, managers), and 62.8% in the employee ranks. *Generally, “employees” does not include managers, but we included them for this survey.

The study focused on the following three viewpoints.

  1. To what extent do you feel that you communicate well with the relevant people in the company?
    2. Other than work, do you participate in activities outside the company?
    3. Are you satisfied with the company? (Satisfaction level was measured arbitrarily based on the average for the following ten questions)
  • At your company, do you feel that the direction and vision of the corporation, the departments, and the teams are shared?
  • At your company, do you feel that people are considerate and greet each other on a regular basis, and that you have established rapport with others?
  • At your company, do you feel that you have established mutually supportive relationships with regard to psychological burden and stress?
  • At your company, do you feel that internal rules and regulations have permeated the entire organization?
  • At your company, do you feel that people generate new ideas and make an effort on a regular basis?
  • Are you able to frankly express your own thoughts and feelings at your company?
  • Do you feel worthy of your co-workers?
  • Do you feel that your accomplishments and tasks are valued?
  • Do you feel that you have contributed to the company?
  • Do you feel that you could continue working at your current company for the long term?

The better the communication among company employees, the higher the employee satisfaction

The diagram shows the ratios for communication and employee satisfaction

The better the communication among employees overall, the higher the degree of satisfaction with the sense of contributing to the organization, feeling valued by colleagues, and feeling that one’s accomplishments and tasks are valued. Among respondents who said communication is perfectly good, 46% noted that they were extremely satisfied with work, followed by 46% who said that they were relatively satisfied. Among respondents who said that communication is relatively good, the largest group (61%) said that they were satisfied, followed by 29% who said they were not very satisfied.

On the other hand, the survey found that satisfaction was low when people felt that there were problems with communication. Among respondents who reported failures in communication, 58% were not very satisfied and 25% were relatively satisfied. Among respondents who said that there is no communication at all, the largest group (79%) was totally dissatisfied, followed by 19% who said that they were not very satisfied. The results indicate no difference in perception due to the number of employees in the organization or position in the company.

Next, we did a detailed analysis of what kinds of communication influence employee satisfaction.

Communication with own department is the key to satisfaction

Based on the survey results, it is clear that communication within one’s own department has the most impact on satisfaction rather than communication with other departments and colleagues. Among respondents who said that communication with superiors was perfectly good, 74% were satisfied while the rate of satisfaction was 79% among respondents who said that communication with subordinates was perfectly good. In contrast to these high values, there is a large gap in satisfaction with respondents who said that there was no communication at all with superiors (19% satisfaction), and those who said that there was no communication at all with subordinates (15% satisfaction). This is probably because communication within one’s own department is indispensable for work.

Where communication with other departments is concerned, the satisfaction gap is small compared to one’s own department, and there is no major impact. This is probably because a lack of communication with other departments has little direct impact on work. However, this is no reason to neglect communication with other departments and colleagues. Compared to their own departments, there is a high degree of satisfaction among respondents who said that communication with senior staff in other departments is good (78% satisfaction), and among respondents who said that communication with junior staff in other departments is good (84% satisfaction). Communication with other departments adds to the sense of satisfaction.

To start with, the most important point is to introduce measures to ensure good communication within the department. A plan that generates communication with other departments will improve satisfaction even more.

The diagram shows the impact of 360º communication on employee satisfaction. The figures radiating from the center are the communication targets. The vertical lines indicate vertical relationships, and the horizontal lines horizontal relationships. The further away from the center of the grey circle, the better the communication with partners at work. Participation in activities outside the company after work is also indicated. The height of the columns indicate degree of satisfaction.

Employee satisfaction is high among those who participate in activities outside the company

As a result of asking about participation in activities outside the company, the survey found that satisfaction was 58% among participants and 49% among non-participants. In other words, employee satisfaction was higher among those participating in activities outside the company. Rather than feeling compelled, many people listed constructive reasons for their participation such as personal growth, volunteering, or broadening perspectives.

Provide diverse environments while stimulating communication

From this survey, we learn that while communication within your own department, with other departments, and with colleagues is a given, employee satisfaction improves when activities outside the company on private time are included in 360º communication. Introducing measures for seamless communication within the company is a matter of course, but it is possible to improve employee satisfaction by supporting free activities during private time. However, depending on the type of work, the open communication environment may hinder concentration and cause stress. Therefore, companies must not forget to provide varied environments suited to each employee and each task.

 

  • Outline of employee satisfaction survey
  • Survey period: July 19-21, 2017
  • Sample size: 400 persons (315 men, 85 women)
  • Questionnaire format: Online survey
  • Respondents: Proprietors and executives/ employees of companies, institutions, NGOs (permanent employees)

Writer of this post

Haruka NakamotoWhile conducting PR activities at an office consulting firm, FRONTIER CONSULTING, she promotes working style reform as a member of the working style reform project.