By Meghan Hickey
It says a lot about a company that is willing to place itself at the scrutiny of both its management and employees to see what it’s doing right and how it can continue to improve to provide the best environment for its employees. This year Guam Business Magazine had 22 companies — the most in its six-time history since 2004 — willing to place themselves in the limelight and do just that.
Twenty-two companies solicited the opinions of at least 10% of its employees through anonymous surveys gauging their satisfaction based on a five-point scale. From strongly disagree to strongly agree, participants rated 15 statements in the categories of Attraction and Retention, Communication, Working Environment, Leadership and Decision Making and Performance Management and Recognition as well as two open-ended questions about what they liked most about their company and where their company could better suit their needs.
At least one person from the management team of each company was also asked to contribute in a separate anonymous survey on similar topics from the company’s perspective, as well as open-ended questions about attracting and retaining talent, promoting supervisory skills and providing employees with opportunities to share ideas.
Overall, the highest and lowest scores are similar to previous years, showing a trend that companies may look at to enhance employee satisfaction. Among all the companies, the highest scoring rate of satisfaction was, “the company provides a safe work environment,” closely followed by satisfaction with space and amenities for a comfortable work day and being provided adequate and official orientation upon hire. The lowest scoring rate of satisfaction among island companies was, “I think I am paid fairly compared with people in other companies who hold similar jobs.” Not far behind was dissatisfaction with feeling kept informed of changes that will affect the employee within the company and the company noticing and recognizing good work.
These trends not only hold true over time for companies on island, but also correlate with the responses provided by employees in their free responses:
- “The best part about my company is how well we are treated. The value of a family is very well shown.”
- “Safe and comfortable working environment. Easy to work with fellow staff.
- “Need better communication, advanced info, advanced honesty.”
As expected, managers were more optimistic with their responses, yet what Guam Business found to be unique was that three out of five companies matched lowest in both employee-rated and manager-rated companies. This shows that while employees may have some concerns with what they are being offered, management is at least aware of those concerns. This is the first step when taking action to better the experience for employees. While most management rated their companies above a 4.0, or “Agree,” on the satisfaction scale, two companies rated themselves just below, showing a healthy level of self-awareness.
The highest and lowest levels of satisfaction were also similar, with managers who rated providing adequate space and amenities to make for a comfortable work day and safe work environment, suppling employees with the tools needed to perform their jobs and providing an avenue to express concerns and encouragement to do so as the highest rated in satisfaction. Management rated the lowest levels of satisfaction in the areas of performance evaluations, company support and opportunities for training and development. Management representatives responded as such in their free responses, citing examples of attracting and maintaining good employees:
- “Our average years of service is over 25 years. That’s retention. We take our work seriously, yet have fun doing it. We show our people that we appreciate them. When hiring, we have a competitive process to ensure we select the ‘best fit’ for our organization.”
- “Leaders. When employees can respect and trust the leadership team, they feel secure.”
- “We have our idea box in our cafeteria, communication meetings [daily, weekly and monthly] with each department and an open-door policy with HR and management. This gives all our team members ability to share their ideas at any time.”
Based on these survey results, both employees and management on Guam, as according to the participating companies’ responses, agree that companies are doing a good job in providing a safe and capable environment for employees to do their daily work. However, there is a lack of internal company communication among many that interrupts both employees and managements feelings of security in their roles.
All of the top five employee-rated companies offered at least four of the five best benefits offered by Guam Business’ Best Companies to Work For — a 401k or retirement plan; medical, dental and vision insurance options; paid time off starting immediately the first year and growing with tenure; and life insurance. Other benefits that trended across high ranking employers included employee product/service discounts, gas discounts/reimbursement, tuition aide, short and long-term disability insurance and profit sharing.
Sentiment from employees that matched across the top five include that their companies create a spirit of family among the employees; that they attribute much of their growth success to having great bosses or upper management; and that they feel respected by the benefits that are offered by the company, to include training and education that create opportunities for growth. All positive sentiments led to one overarching benefit: work-life balance.
- “Things that make my company great are the benefits provided; the people I work with are very friendly; our department head manages our team well; and we get to spend time with our loved ones during weekends — a balanced work and outside-work lifestyle.”
- “Great salary package and benefits; mutual support among all departments; lots of opportunities for career growth; [general manager] promotes trust and rewards employee’s efforts; [general manager] does not micromanage and empowers staff; company participates in community outreach programs and events and lets all employees and their families to be a part of it.”
- “The flexibility. [It] is not a strict 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. company. This provides me with the opportunity to have a work/life balance.”
- “Salary increases, bonuses, very clean and nice working workplace, family-oriented management, friendly work environment, free birthday luncheon, free uniforms. It’s a happy place to work.”
- [It] is a family-oriented company and is always concerned about the wellbeing of employee’s personal life to ensure that the employee is able to focus and be productive in their job duties. [The company] provides great health benefits to its employees as well as other benefits throughout the year.”
Employees also provided their comments on areas of improvement that companies can look to for better employee satisfaction and retention. Trends in suggested improvement by those rated lowest in the list include increase in pay; better training and equipment for staff; better internal communication; and respect among employees, regardless of level. As one employee wrote, “They need to see everything in all that we do as a person and take it into consideration.”