Non Pay Benefits: Employee Satisfaction

The other night on the train a couple of businessmen were talking in the Quiet Carriage. This would normally have unfortunate consequences, but fortunately for them they were talking about something that interested me.  At least for part of the journey.

One was Canadian and the other was Indian and they both clearly worked in the same division of a large Engineering company.  And they were talking shop.

But what they were actually talking about was their relationship with their employer.

They started off by discussing who would be filling a vacant management position, the Indian was convinced that the position would naturally be filled through internal promotion whereas the Canadian was sure that the position would be advertised and a new, and more expensive manager brought in from outside.  This concept was a mystery to the Indian who explained that culturally in India internal promotions were the normal way forward.

The Canadian then moved on to talking about senior management salaries, the fact that he got paid more than some senior managers because he had come into the company rather than working his way up and a story about one senior manager who could now not afford to retire (despite being above statutory age) as his pension had not worked out as hoped.  His view was that people who didn’t ask didn’t get and that the senior managers who had been with the same company their whole lives were fools and had only themselves to blame for their financial situation.

From there they moved onto talking about how it wasn’t all about the cash, how important worklife balance was and the Indian business man even went as far as mentioning bringing family into the workplace for employee events.  Very interesting stuff.  Most British employees, particularly those in HE, would run a mile from this kind of thing.

Juxtapose this with Linda Evans’s piece in this week’s Times Higher Education: Satisfaction not guaranteed where she argues that there is a difference between job fulfilment and job comfort and investigates the term job satisfaction.

Job fulfillment, she argues, is about your role, your relationship with colleagues and your manager etc.  job comfort is about the ease of finding a parking space etc.

This is interesting because in this instance ensuring job fufilment could be seen covering items that are controllable by your boss, or your boss’s boss, whereas job comfort items are things provided by the employer as amenities or dictated by personal circumstances (distance to travel to work)…

I never cease to be amazed how much car parking matters to people and how organisations ignore this fact.


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