Article: Strategies for improving job satisfaction


Strategies for improving job satisfaction

Job satisfaction can be complex, but current best practices in human resource management make it simple by viewing it as just a part of the overall employee experience.
Strategies for improving job satisfaction

Job satisfaction, as described by the American Psychological Association, refers to the attitude of an employee towards a job. It is often gauged on how the employee likes or dislikes the tasks involved in the role, the rewards and benefits that come with it, and the environment that surrounds it.

Employers used to monitor job satisfaction strictly to mitigate any possibility of attrition. While job satisfaction is still used in retention programs, employers today have started using it to improve company culture, work environment, and brand reputation, among other things.

Also, traditionally, job satisfaction usually revolves around the level of contentment in current work situations. But in modern times, experts are trying to measure satisfaction by adding the dimension of meaning to overall happiness and contentment.

And the reason is simple, an employee may be happy with his current situation, but is not necessarily content. Likewise, an employee may be content with his work, but he does not necessarily find his job meaningful. Conversely, not all people who find their jobs meaningful are happy or content with them.

Job satisfaction can be complex, but current best practices in human resource management make it simple by viewing it as just a part of the overall employee experience. In this perspective, job satisfaction is a metric that does not exist in vacuum as it finds itself entangled in other aspects of life at work.

READ: Why employee satisfaction is as important as customer satisfaction

Signs an employee is 'satisfied'

As we’ve mentioned, looking for accurate indicators of job satisfaction can be challenging, especially since we are looking at it from the perspective of overall employee experience. But there are still reliable indicators of job satisfaction that you can count on.

1. Engagement

A strong indicator of employee satisfaction is the level of engagement. You know an employee is engaged with the organization if he or she is actively participating in meetings, enthusiastic toward projects, and there is a strong interest in delivering success to the company. Most engaged employees have the desire and energy to go the extra mile when it comes to work.

2. Productivity and quality of work

Most satisfied employees are consistent when it comes to their level of productivity and quality of work. But it’s not always the case, as some workers are just good at their job. Nonetheless, high levels of productivity and quality of work are strong indicators of job satisfaction. But you still have to weigh it against other aspects of work.

3. Punctuality

In most cases, employees who are happy and satisfied with their work are often always and they rarely come to work late. While not entirely conclusive, multiple studies have observed significant correlations between job satisfaction and punctuality. But this is just one of the many boxes you need to tick when trying to get an accurate measurement of employee satisfaction.

4. Positive workplace attitude

Employees experiencing job satisfaction often exhibit a positive attitude at work. They are more likely to approach challenges with a constructive mindset, collaborate effectively with colleagues, and contribute to a harmonious workplace culture. Satisfied employees are also not shy about expressing gratitude for the opportunities they get within the organization.

5. Positive Peer Relationships

Satisfied employees tend to build positive relationships with their peers. They collaborate well, support each other's success, and contribute to a healthy team dynamic. Beyond work, they usually serve as true friends, or even family, to their colleagues in times of need. You rarely see satisfied employees cause conflict within their teams.

READ: The multifaceted journey to open dialogues

What drives employee satisfaction

Ensuring employees are satisfied is one of the most difficult – but arguably the most important – aspects of human resources work. For one, not all people have the same sources of satisfaction. Younger workers may find satisfaction in workplace relationships, while the older ones may find satisfaction in respect and recognition.

Despite this complexity, a recent study has pointed towards three things that drive job satisfaction the most. It is important to understand these main drivers in crafting strategies to enhance employee satisfaction and overall experience.

1. Positive company culture

A 2022 Glassdoor survey showed that organizational culture is the top driver of job satisfaction. In five major countries that include the United States, at least 22 percent of the employees surveyed agreed that the “cultures and values” of an organization, and how they align with them, contribute the most to their level of satisfaction.

2. Leadership and management

The same Glassdoor survey, which is based on the platform’s database of millions of employees, also showed that senior leadership is another top driver of job satisfaction with at least 21 percent share of votes across all geographies. This only shows that employees place high value on how the leaders treat, support, and manage them.

READ MORE: Why care is the missing puzzle in the new world of work

3. Career opportunities

Coming third, with at least 19 percent share of votes, is the availability of career development opportunities within the organization. It only shows the desire of employees to grow and reach their full potential. Conversely, what the numbers tell us is that employees do not like being stagnant as they want to become major contributors in an organization.

Company culture is built upon the shared values and attitudes of the people who make an organization. In the modern workplace settings, open communication, transparency, diversity and inclusion, respect, gratitude, and recognition are the fundamental values that create a positive work culture. The Glassdoor study only shows how important these are in the overall employee experience.

READ MORE: Cultivating inclusivity: Educational institutions and the DEI imperative

Building strategies to improve job satisfaction

Some may find it surprising that the Glassdoor study had compensation, work-life balance, and business outlook at the bottom of the list. But it only makes sense as these three aspects of work are just a result of good leadership and positive work culture. This brings us to the question of how one should start when creating strategies to improve the employees’ job satisfaction.

Since we now know that culture tops all the drivers of job satisfaction, it is only prudent to start by establishing a positive culture that the employees can relate with. In the modern workplace settings, open communication, transparency, diversity and inclusion, respect, gratitude, and recognition are the fundamental values that create a positive work culture.

But in cultivating a strong company culture, leaders must not forget to align this with the personal values of the broader workforce. Company culture has always been about the shared beliefs and attitude of all the people that make up the organization, so it is only right to hear what they have to say. Conducting regular surveys will help you learn about what your employees think about this.

READ MORE: What are the 6 vitals of a thriving workplace

In conducting surveys, always make sure to touch on the things that matter to the employees, such as compensation and benefits, health and well-being, workload management, and other similar concerns that usually affect day-to-day interactions in the workplace. Regularly seeking feedback and insights from your employees is also a way of showing the people that you listen to them.

However, feedback is nothing without action. Leaders must ensure that surveys are followed by concrete solutions. Employees usually gauge the kind of leadership a company has based on the response the management gives every time they air their concerns. Failure to provide concrete actions may send a message of empty promises which will only cause job satisfaction levels to drop.

On the other hand, offering personalized development plans to employees and aligning their career goals with the organization's objectives is also a good way to improve job satisfaction. This not only demonstrates a commitment to individual growth but also contributes to a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

At the heart of these efforts are the HR leaders who are entrusted with the task of developing transparent career advancement pathways within the organization. Providing employees with clear goals and opportunities for progression fosters a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their professional journey.

Another way to improve satisfaction is to invest in training and skill development programs to empower employees to enhance their capabilities. And perhaps the best and most organic way to implement this is to develop a mentorship program that cultivates relationships between leaders and employees. Moreover, mentorship contributes a sense of camaraderie within the organization.

By investing in strategies that prioritize job satisfaction, you are investing in the soul of your organization. A satisfied workforce becomes the bedrock upon which greatness is built, and the dividends are immeasurable—increased productivity, reduced turnover, heightened creativity, and an unmistakable surge in overall performance.

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Topics: Culture

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