Happiness levels in UK workplaces growing, says Government.

smiley faceThe general level of satisfaction in the UK’s workplaces has increased significantly in spite of ongoing economic uncertainty according to a report from the Government published yesterday. The study of more than 21,000 employees, found that job satisfaction levels actually increased in 2012 with a fifth (20 per cent) of employees either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with all aspects of their job, compared to just 16 per cent in 2004 when the survey last appeared. The report also showed that levels of commitment to individual employers had also increased over the same period, with the proportion of employees who said they shared the values of their organisation up from 55 per cent to 65 per cent.

Although the report is called the The 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS), the research was actually carried out between the Spring of 2011 through to last Summer so its findings are more up to date than its title would suggest. More details on the study’s findings will be published in November 2013 in a new report called Employment Relations in the Shadow of Recession: Findings from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study. By which time it will be nearly 2014 but that#s governments

The study explores the current state of workplace relations covering a range of issues such as the relationship between employer and employee, work life balance, equality and diversity, training, pay and working hours. Key findings of the latest study include:

  • Increased levels of job satisfaction. Around 20% of employees in 2011 were satisfied or very satisfied with all aspects of their job measured, compared to 16% in 2004;
  • Since 2004 employees’ levels of commitment to the organisation had increased. The largest rise was in the percentage of employees who said they shared the values of their organisation, up from 55% in 2004 to 65% in 2011;
  • Managers are communicating more with employees. Managers are now more likely to hold team briefings to keep staff informed about changes at work (up from 60% to 66%) and they are more likely to provide employees with more information on workplace finances (up from 55% to 61%);
  • The proportion of employees with high levels of autonomy increased between 2004 and 2011. The most common areas of discretion are how employees do their job (52%) and the order in which they carry out tasks (51%);
  • The percentage of high training workplaces (where at least 80% of experienced employees had some off-the-job training) rose from 35% to 41%.

Announcing the report’s findings, Jo Swinson employment relations minister said:?’We are going through one of the most challenging periods in our economic history and businesses and employees have had to adapt rapidly in order to deal with the many pressures that it brings. This important study gives us a valuable insight into what is going on inside the workplace. I am very pleased to see that job satisfaction levels have increased and that more employees report that they share the values of the organisation. Engagement of employees is key to building stronger workforces which will in turn drive economic growth. The results of the study show us in a new light just how workers and businesses are affected, how they are changing and what the workplace of the future might look like. We will be using these findings to help develop future Government thinking and practice, and to stimulate future debate.’