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Science Matters: Employees are Satisfied but Organizations Still Look to Improve.

The results of the 2009 Lab Manager Kelly Scientific Third Annual Salary and Employee Satisfaction Survey are in and, somewhat surprising, a majority of the participants have stated that they are content with their current employment situations.

by Rich Pennock

The results of the 2009 Lab Manager Kelly Scientific Third Annual Salary and Employee Satisfaction Survey are in and, somewhat surprising, a majority of the participants have stated that they are content with their current employment situations. Most employees are generally satisfied with their present positions, their employers and their career tracks. The results of the survey, conducted during a difficult economic year, may lead managers to wonder why employees feel so positive despite an ever-changing economy. Are employees satisfied because they have viable job opportunities despite the challenging economy, or are employees sincerely happy with their current positions and roles within their organizations?

According to the survey, it seems that employees are very passionate about their positions and satisfied with their job opportunities. However, while a majority of respondents said they like the work they do, more than 50 percent of respondents said they would leave their current positions if other opportunities came their way.

The research illustrates the importance of valuing employees, not only in terms of compensation, but in terms of workplace flexibility, training and career growth as well. As employees work to fulfill their career goals, managers can provide significant work opportunities for them to utilize their talents and experiences to positively impact other people. When employees are able to display their unique talents and abilities, they may be more apt to continue working at their current organizations because they feel valued.

Science industry continues to provide satisfying positions
The findings of this year's survey are rather promising in terms of employee job satisfaction, as 96 percent of all respondents are pleased with the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of their current positions. At the same time, a majority of science professionals feel valued at their organizations, leading them to want to contribute more than what is expected to their organizations. Work satisfaction and value are two significant aspects of overall employee performance.

Limited opportunities for growth from within
While science professionals seem to enjoy their everyday responsibilities, many indicated that they are willing to leave their current organizations if opportunities become available. Only 47 percent of all respondents believe their organizations provide opportunities for advancement. In other words, within science organizations across the country, highly talented employees are simply not able to express their true potential, forcing them to pursue opportunities at other companies.

Many managers may strive to provide employees with more advancement opportunities so that they are not only satisfied with the work they do on a daily basis but also content working within their organizations. As employees' job performances improve and impact organizations, managers may be able to enjoy success amidst economic uncertainties.

Work-life balance necessary
Employees obviously desire to have a balance between their work and personal lives, especially as they begin to raise their families. According to the survey, 78 percent of respondents are currently pleased with their work-life balance. So the question becomes, why are 22 percent of respondents displeased? Are work hours increasing as the economy shifts? Managers need to realize the value of proper work-life balance and the effects (both positive and negative) such a balancing act has on their employees. While a majority (79 percent) of surveyed employees feels valued at their organizations, more employees might feel more highly valued if they were given flexible work options. Adequate work-life balance can help employees lower their stress levels, which, in turn enables them to perform to the best of their abilities.

Training and recognition programs can boost morale
According to the survey, nearly 68 percent of respondents who work in large organizations believe that current training opportunities are ample and satisfactory, while 64 percent of all survey respondents feel that they are adequately recognized for positive performances. To try and ensure efficient employee performance, ample training programs should be made available, especially as technology and science continually change and advance. By providing proficient training programs within their organizations, managers can almost guarantee that their employees are not only comfortable with their current positions, but also willing to exceed their own expectations. Overall, a majority of science professionals from around the nation feel valued within their organizations and are satisfied with the type of work they perform each day. Managers can continue to improve the morale of their employees by providing opportunities for career advancement, solutions for work-life balance, and updated training and recognition programs.

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