Research conducted on employee satisfaction around the world in both developed and developing countries including Rwanda shows that satisfied workers promote the productivity and profitability of the organizations in which they are employed which in turn contributes to national economic growth.
The economic growth of every nation is dependent on its natural resources, human resources, capital resources, technological development, institutional structures and stability. However, all these resources are operated and managed by a human workforce and this partly explains why economic growth in any country is dependent on its workforce. Therefore the satisfaction of working women and men in any country is a significant factor in contributing to its economic growth.
Employee satisfaction is defined as the way employees feel about their work and the environment in which they work in. Employees may like their work and the environment, in which they work or dislike it. Research shows that the drivers of employee satisfaction are similar across countries and are of two types, extrinsic and intrinsic, both of which independently influence job satisfaction.
Extrinsic factors are factors that include salary pay, hours of work and other fringe benefits like cars, housing and telephone among others. These are the factors that drive employees to change jobs.
This may seem logical and common sense to readers of this article because we all wish to work in places where we earn high salaries and enjoy fringe benefits to improve our standards of living.
However, research also indicates that intrinsic factors such as: respect for employees; how valued employees feel;, good leadership that encourages cooperation and the participation of employees; prospects for promotion; opportunities for career development; relationship with fellow employees; the nature of physical working environment; the nature of the contract of employment( permanent contracts increase employees security and stability and short term contracts increase insecurity of employees); having clear terms of reference; and work flexibility and control over work are the drivers of satisfaction that drive employees to stay longer in their places of work.
This means that while extrinsic factors are the main drivers of employee satisfaction intrinsic factors are also important. Employees are less likely to leave companies/firms where they feel valued/respected and feel part of the organization’s family even if they are not as highly remunerated as in the jobs they could move to. Thus this indicates that extrinsic factors and intrinsic work complementarily in driving employee satisfaction and this is similar around the world.
This enables employers to develop strategies to retain valued employees and build the moral of the workforce by job enrichment and organizational culture. This reduces the costs of staff turnover and contributes to the productivity and profitability of the firm.
Research also reveals that satisfied hardworking employees offer quality service, relate well with customers and take pride in their work, thus increasing customer satisfaction and employee retention. This highlights the close connection between employee and customer satisfaction.
If Rwanda is to become a service led economy by the 2020, it is necessary for the Rwandan Government to show leadership in improving customer and employee satisfaction through regular/periodical surveys in both areas. This will help improve service delivery and contribute to Rwanda realizing its vision to offer world class service by 2020.
Both the public and the private sectors should develop employment policies that are based on investing in their employees and build the capacity of their human resource departments to implement these policies. The policy frameworks should include promotional and career development, work control, flexibility, and employee consultation on working conditions, clear terms of reference, staff development and job evaluations among others.
These frameworks should promote equal opportunities if they are to enhance employee satisfaction. There is also a need for the harmonization of HR policies in Rwandan private and public sectors.
Research shows that employee satisfaction is high in countries where trade unions are part of labor regulation to protect rights of employees; there is need for the Government to empower local trade unions to work with the Government and employers to protect employee’s rights in Rwanda.
Trade Unions not only represent the interests of employees in discussions and consultation with government and employers, but also ensure that employees understand their rights so that they are not easily exploited by employers.