It Takes More Than Money

A recent Harvard Business Review article featured research conducted by Glassdoor, one of the fastest growing jobs and recruiting sites that also features employee reviews of organizations. In a sample of more than 615,000 Glassdoor users who had both reported their pay and written a review of their employer since 2014, the author and a data scientist found that across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction was not paid.
Their findings corroborated what the more than 50 senior leaders interviewed for our book told us. The most important factor is the culture and values of the organization.  What they were also too modest to tell us, but was apparent to us, is that the second most important factor is the quality of the senior leadership.
This isn’t to say that compensation doesn’t matter. Of course, it does. People need to be paid fairly for the work that they do.  However, what this and other studies have shown is that focusing only on the compensation factor will not result in highly engaged employees.
The beauty of this research is how well it is reinforced by the Baldrige Excellence Framework. It’s no coincidence that the highest scoring item among the process categories is Senior Leadership, and the first question asks, “How do senior leaders set your organization’s vision and values?” The senior leaders we interviewed were intentional about setting the culture of their organizations through connecting every employee with the vision, mission, and values.  They were role models for the Baldrige Core Value and Concept of “Valuing People.”
Another interesting bit of data comes from ASQ’s most recent annual salary survey among quality professionals. The highest percent of respondents “satisfied with salary” and lowest percent of respondents “dissatisfied with salary” were associated with employees whose “Organization uses the Baldrige criteria.” Senior leaders who use the Baldrige Excellence Framework have an advantage over those who either have no focus on quality or have a more narrow focus on how their organizations achieve it.
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