Survey Results

As employers across the United States seek to attract employees, boost productivity, and keep engagement high, many are implementing new practices that allow for rethinking how work is done while promoting trust, accountability and flexibility in the workplace.

OpenWork and NORC at the University of Chicago conducted a major survey of American employees to better understand how work environments that encourage rethinking when, where and how work is done impacts employees’ job satisfaction.

The survey reveals that employees in workplaces that embrace the principles of trust, accountability and flexibility tend to feel more satisfied with their jobs. Employees who find themselves in more rigid workplace environments are less satisfied with their jobs.

Americans are divided equally into two camps: those whose workplaces embrace these principles of trust, accountability and flexibility, and those whose workplaces do not.

 

  • Nearly half of respondents (44 percent) say they are at an organization where there are processes in place that allow them to bring up workplace issues to management and co-workers, and that these issues are considered and taken seriously.

 

  • The other half (42 percent) report that this is not the case in their workplace.

 

  • Employees in the former group are not only more satisfied with their own jobs, they are more likely to recommend their organization to a friend who is looking for a similar position.

 

Additional Findings

 

1. Autonomy is important

Employees who have a lot of say in figuring out the best way to complete their work, compared with those who don’t have autonomy, are more likely to:

  • recommend their organization to a friend (70 percent versus 20 percent)
  • be very satisfied with their job (73 percent versus 18 percent)
  • say they would still take their job without hesitation (73 percent versus 20 percent).

 

2. Communication is key

Employees who say they can openly share ideas about problems with the way work is done at their organization, compared with those who can’t, are more likely to:

  • recommend working at their organization to a friend (70 percent versus 18 percent)
  • be satisfied with their work (71 percent versus 19 percent)
  • say they would still take their job without hesitation (72 percent versus 18 percent).

 

3. Collaboration is effective

Employees who say they, along with their supervisor and co-workers, together come up with improvements in the way work is done, compared with those who can’t, are more likely to:

  • recommend their organization to a friend (73 percent versus 15 percent)
  • be satisfied with their job (75 percent versus 14 percent)
  • say they would till take their job without hesitation (75 percent versus 16 percent).

 

4. Employees want variation in the kind of work they do 

At least 7 in 10 employees who say they do enough different things at work to keep their job interesting and satisfying, compared with those who don’t have variety, also say they would recommend their job to a friend, are very satisfied with their job, and would still take this job without hesitation.

 

The nationwide survey was conducted using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 2,186 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.9 percentage points. Public and private sector employees were included and results were released in March 2018. NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions.