New National Study Uncovers Notable Shift in Factors Influencing Employee Job Satisfaction, Engagement

October 4, 2016

Ultimate Software

Trust, Open Communication, Company Reputation, and Vacation Time Top List of Employee Priorities for Commitment to Work

Date: October 4, 2016 9:00 AM EDT – Ultimate Software (Nasdaq: ULTI), a leading provider of human capital management (HCM) solutions in the cloud, announced today the results of a new national survey focused on the key factors that influence employee satisfaction and engagement at work, why employees may quit, and workplace conditions that would increase their loyalty in staying with a company long term. The study, conducted in August 2016 by The Center for Generational Kinetics, surveyed over 1,000 American workers across generations and in all industries—from high-tech, to manufacturing, to healthcare, to retail—and included a combination of hourly and salaried workers in a mix of roles at all levels of the organization.

The Ultimate Software 2016 National Study on Satisfaction at Work set out to help employers better understand the mindset of the modern worker—what makes them happy at work, what makes them stay, and what makes them leave—so that employers can make more informed workplace decisions aimed at boosting productivity, commitment, and, ultimately, employee retention.

The results of the study reveal that, while factors such as pay and job security remain essential to employee satisfaction, other factors such as trust, open communication, professional development, and company reputation play an increasingly important role in influencing employee satisfaction and commitment to the workplace—and were often ranked of equal or greater importance than compensation or financial motivators. The study also confirms that employee satisfaction and engagement should be a priority to company leadership, with the majority of employees acknowledging that they are more productive at work and put forth their best effort when satisfied with their job.

One of the most interesting findings of the 2016 National Study on Satisfaction at Work is the relationship between trust and satisfaction—with 93 percent of employees saying trust in their direct manager is important to remain satisfied at work, an even higher percentage than those who said they must trust company leaders. This is noteworthy because many companies today focus their leadership training and development on higher levels of the organization—rising executives, VPs, and senior-level directors—rather than line managers and supervisors who have a greater impact on employee satisfaction and retention. This study reveals that it is equally important to invest in developing great managers and supervisors at all levels of the organization.

Other key findings from the Ultimate Software 2016 National Study on Satisfaction at Work include:

  • 92 percent of employees stated that having the technology necessary to do their job in an efficient way affects their satisfaction at work. Nearly one out of three employees said they would quit their job if the technology at work is outdated.
  • 75 percent of employees said they were more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns were heard and addressed. In fact, more respondents ranked this consideration as important than getting credit for their ideas.
  • 73 percent of employees agreed that the opportunity for professional development is necessary to feel satisfied at work.
  • 71 percent of employees said open communication with their manager contributes significantly to job fulfillment— even more than having clearly defined tasks.
  • 6 out of 10 employees said that a lack of emotional safety at work would make them quit a job immediately. More respondents cited the need for an environment free of harassment, intimidation and offensive behavior than those who said that a lack of physical safety would make them quit.
  • 85 percent of employees said they were likely to stay longer with an employer that showed a high level of social responsibility by supporting charitable causes, volunteering in the community, and/or taking a stand on social issues.

“The 2016 National Study on Satisfaction at Work underscores that how employers treat their employees in America today is more important to employee satisfaction—and employee retention—than ever before. The study emphasizes that businesses need to take their reputations as good employers very seriously, because their reputations matter in attracting and keeping talented people,” said Adam Rogers, chief technology officer of Ultimate. “The findings also confirm that organizations need to make sure they are investing in modern technology for their workforce—everything from the software they use to get their jobs done to the way that employees can check their paycheck and benefits information—to avoid losing talent to the competition. And finally, the results reveal that employee engagement and commitment to work are not just about pay and financial benefits. Employees today crave trust, openness, growth, and—above all—the desire to feel they are contributing to a common purpose, to be satisfied at work and to stay with a company long term.”

To view the full survey results, visit


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