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The recent Internet Labor Outlook Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) included a question about the most important aspects of employee job satisfaction. The results, in order, were:

1 - Job security (63%)
2 - Benefits (60%)
3 - Compensation/pay (57%)
4 - Opportunities to use skills and abilities (55%)
5 - Feeling safe in the environment (54%)
6 - Relationship with immediate supervisor (52%)
7 - Management recognition of employee job performance (52%)
8 - Communication between employees and senior management (51%)
9 - The work itself (50%)
10 - Autonomy and performance (47%)

At the bottom of the list came items such as being in a green workplace, networking opportunities, career development, social responsibility, and so on.

These results show that when we hit tough times, our needs move down the Maslow Hierarchy.

In today’s economy, it’s very difficult to self-actualize when you’ve just been laid off from a job. Survival, security, and belonging are what employees need right now. Their egos are in check — and trying to save the world might have to wait until another day. This is one reason why I continue to support the notion of open-book management. It’s about having an authentic and honest conversation about money (an item in great demand today). Show your employees the black and white of their futures and understand how they can shape it to the benefit of all.

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