More Than Half of U.S. Workers Report Satisfaction With Their Job
By Steve Bent
A recent survey on job satisfaction finds that 51% of U.S. employees feel overall satisfied with their job. The results also show that, over the last seven years, employee attitudes about wages and job security experienced the biggest improvements. However, workers feel quite disappointed with their job’s professional development aspects – a warning signal for any organization looking to attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market. The Conference Board’s survey gauged approximately 1,500 employed individuals, who together comprise a snapshot of the U.S. workforce. Participants weighed in on 23 components that contribute to job satisfaction. Additional findings from the survey include the following:
Job satisfaction is improving faster for lower-income households. The tightening labor market has become more visible in blue-collar and low-paid services occupations than in white-collar occupations. As a result, labor market conditions for these workers have improved, and so has their job satisfaction.
Overall job satisfaction increased for the seventh year in a row. During this period wages and job security saw the largest improvements. Satisfaction has increased each year following the Great Recession.
Greatest satisfaction: a job’s relational and social aspects. Among the 23 survey components, participants gave the highest marks to the following five: in first place, People at work, followed by Commute to work; Interest in work; Supervisor; and Physical environment.
Greatest disappointment: a job’s professional development and recognition aspects
Among the 23 survey components, participants gave the lowest marks to the following five: Workload; Educational/job training programs; Performance review process; Bonus plan; and, in last place, Promotion policy.
Minnesota is the state with the highest job satisfaction. Minnesota displaced Texas, the prior frontrunner, as the state with the highest job satisfaction (58%). Potential explanations come from the state’s strong job market, which is much tighter than the national job market.
The labor market will continue tightening; it will benefit employees and challenge employers. With many workers having more job options than they have had in some time, companies will likely have to try harder to satisfy their workers for retention and productivity. As a result, job satisfaction for employees will likely continue increasing.
“To attract and retain the most productive employees in today’s labor market, companies must make a bigger commitment to addressing the factors within their control,” said Rebecca L. Ray, Ph.D., a report author and Executive Vice President, The Conference Board. “Among other steps, that entails addressing the job components with which employees are least satisfied, including job training, the performance review process, and promotion policy. As workers continue to voluntarily leave their jobs at a record rate, the need to prioritize components relating to their professional development could not come at a more pressing time.”
“In 2019, we forecast unemployment to dip close to 3.5%, a low rate not seen since the 1960s,” said Gad Levanon, a report author and Chief Economist for North America, The Conference Board. “As a result, we can expect employers to continue reducing educational requirements in the hiring process, leading to fewer workers feeling overqualified in their jobs, which further raises their job satisfaction.”
TREATS FOR YOUR EYES
By Sheryl Kraft
You only have one pair of eyes, so keeping them healthy should be a top priority. Besides getting regular exams, feast your eyes on these six cool ways to maintain good vision.
1. Cover Up Excess UV radiation from the sun can threaten your vision – even in the winter, when it reflects off surfaces, increasing your risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, solar retinitis and more. Maui Jim is currently the only independently owned sunglass brand to earn the seal of approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation for effective UV protection.
2. Berry Good Research shows that wild blueberries contain more anthocyanins (an eye-healthy antioxidant) than any other commonly consumed berry – including regular blueberries. One way to eat more wild blueberries all winter long is with Just Fruit & Greek Yogurt Bites.
3. Block the Blue Long hours spent staring at your computer or other devices can cause blurry vision, headaches and dry, tired-feeling eyes. Take regular breaks, adjusting the contrast on your screen and blinking more often can help. To decrease the blue light on your iPhone, go to Display & Brightness in Settings and tap Night Shift. It changes the screen to a warmer color, which semi-filters out the blue light. You cab schedule it to go into effect from sunrise to sunset or whatever time you like. Also worth a try: Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses.
4. Food Smarts Besides eating right for healthy peepers (omega 3-rich fish and nuts are eye-friendly choices), you need to be careful when cooking with hot oil or grease, which can easily spray upward and injure your eyes. A splatter screen keeps the hot stuff where it belongs – in the pan.
5. Chill Your Lids Evergreen tree allergies, fireplace smoke, dry winter air or crying over holiday movies can irritate your eyes. But don’t rub! It can break the tender skin on eyelids or even weaken your cornea. Instead, soothe your lids with a cold compress. The Medivix Cooling Eye Mask contains massage beads and cooling gel to ease eyes and wake up sleep deprived ones.
6. Play it Safe Being handy around the house is not without its risks. If you’re a DYIer, eliminate the possibility of small particles, liquids or chemicals traveling into your eyes with a good pair of safety glasses. Look for a pair that is impact-resistant and fully adjustable. Most fit over your own glasses so you can shield your eyes and still see clearly.
Using Your Writing “Voice” is a Key to Success at the Office
By Dan Rose
If you’re not a professional writer, you may not be familiar with the phrase, “finding your writing voice.” Or, you may have heard of it, but don’t think it’s a thing for non-writers. “After all,” you say, “it’s not like I’m trying to write the next ‘Harry Potter’ series, so why would someone that basically writes e-mails at work need a voice?” Before I get to your answer, think about your favorite writer. It can be a novelist, columnist, playwright, blogger or any kind of author. Why is that person your favorite over another author who writes the same kind of thing? Ninety-nine percent of the reason is probably because of the “voice” he or she uses. The way that the writer constructs thoughts and gets them down speaks to you in the same way certain singers appeal to you.
Your writing voice is not your writing style, although that is part of it. Nor is it your writing tone, even though your tone is also part of it. No, your writing voice is the unique way YOU look at the world and how you present yourself through your words. And the beauty of it is, it’s mostly about you being you.
Everyone has a writing voice … even if they don’t realize it
Whatever voice suits you is all up to you because everyone comes from different experiences and backgrounds. Even people in the same family will have different writing voices because their situations are different. For instance, I’m the youngest of three siblings, so I filter my world view through those eyes (baby brother). My sister is the oldest, so she is the stick-to-the-facts leader who grew up to be a CPA. My brother is the middle child who loves drawing attention to himself, so naturally, he grew up to be a sales executive.
Despite growing up in the same house, neighborhood and schools with the same two parents for our entire lives, if you gave all three of us the same writing assignment, you’d get three totally different pieces in tone, style and … voice. It wouldn’t matter if the assignment was a creative writing piece on unicorns or a business memo on the pros and cons of a new HR initiative to strengthen employee engagement. My brother, sister and I would all bring our perspectives and our voices to the assignment.
Make your business writing stand out by developing your voice
Finding your voice in business writing is key to establishing your credibility and your ability to persuade others to your point of view. THAT is why it is important to find your voice, even if all you do is write emails and the occasional report. By establishing a voice that is professional and delivers on quality content, just seeing your name on an email gives it instant authority. However, don’t think that your business writing voice absolutely has to be dry and technical (unless that IS your voice!). For instance, my voice is a less formal, conversational style with a humorous tone (when the occasion fits). I’ll shoot off a memo to our CEO with a humorous tone because we work together on many things and I know he appreciates me treating him that way. On the other hand, if I’m writing to a manager or executive that I don’t know as well, I leave the jokes out, but still keep it somewhat casual.
At a previous job where I worked with sales offices all across the country, an office manager once told me that when they saw my name pop up on an email, it got read immediately because they enjoyed my emails so much. (Ahhhhh, my emails went to the TOP of the pile, eh???) My job requires extensive research about our industry, so part of my writing voice is the liberal use of statistics in what training techniques work. Therefore, when my co-workers see an email from me, they tend to know what to expect and how I’m coming up with my suggestions on an idea, project, report or whatever. The fact that I can make them smile with well-placed puns is part of my writing voice.
Choosing the style and tone of your document
It’s important to get the right style and tone in your documents in order to find your voice. Use the following guidelines as to what to use and when to use it.
- It mimics familiar conversational tone
- The author is as important as the material being delivered
- It’s appropriate for personal and some business writing when the audience is known to the author
- It uses traditional business English
- It uses stilted language
- It’s appropriate for professional writing when the audience is unknown to the author
Business Casual Writing
- It puts the message above the author, but the author’s personal voice still comes through
- The delivery of the message is personal without being over-familiar
- Slang is excluded, and little or no jargon is included
- This is the most-used writing style in business today
Why you rarely—if ever—write as you talk
- Informal conversational English
- It takes less time to write
- It takes less time to read
- It engages the reader more quickly
Caution: Consider the reader’s reaction to informal communication.
- Is the writing too casual, assuming a relationship that does not exist?
- Does the subject require dignified treatment?
- Is the casualness of the writing a possible indication of poor education?
Until you find your voice (and you will) go a bit more conservative in your business writing. It’s safer that way. But it’s still important to be yourself. You can’t fake it when it comes to your style, tone and voice in your writing.