Job satisfaction is generally perceived to be an employee’s general sense of contentment in their workplace and in their role. High levels of job satisfaction reflect happy, motivated staff, whilst low levels demonstrate demotivated team members who are likely to be looking for alternative employment. Of course the poor economic climate of recent times has affected this and meant that even those with low levels of job satisfaction may stay in a role they don’t like – not good for them and not good for business.
Many factors come together to determine job satisfaction and much of this comes into the play at the very beginning, when the job search is underway. People will generally have a specific objective in mind when job-hunting, whether it’s a career path and a plan for the future, a vocation they feel passionate about, or perhaps even a straightforward job to fit around home commitments and help to pay the bills. Whatever it may be, knowing this in advance has a big impact on job satisfaction as it can help to ensure you go for and accept the right role for your circumstances. Taking the wrong one could have an immediate negative impact on levels of job satisfaction as there is sure to be some level of disappointment from the outset.
For some it may be enough to work in their favoured industry and the day to day tasks could be immaterial, for example someone with a love of fashion could derive job satisfaction in the simplest of roles as long as it is situated within a fashion house. Similarly, an individual with a strong sense of ambition may be indifferent to the industry, as long as there is a clear development plan and progression opportunities within the business. Both of these examples illustrate that job satisfaction has a great deal to do with approach rather than the duties involved in a particular job, finding the right place or direction can make all the difference.
Every individual will have particular jobs that they’d love and others that they’d hate, but this is only the beginning. Once established in a role, there are many other factors that come into play. Colleagues have a huge impact, as we ultimately spend more time with them during the week than we do with our families. Finding like-minded people in the workplace will inevitably make time spent at work more enjoyable and add an element of fun, as we all need to stop and chat occasionally to get a break away from the daily grind. Not to mention they will help to provide a support network when the going gets tough.
Feeling accepted and being part of team is key, not just to establish bonds and make friends, but also in terms of a supportive environment. Colleagues certainly contribute to this, but so too do company policies and leadership attitudes. Employers have a responsibility to their staff, indeed it’s in their interests to create a positive working environment and be aware of staff satisfaction levels. It could be as simple as bosses acknowledging when you’re having a stressful time and saying thank you when you’ve achieved something. Policy-wise, a good example is offering lieu days when people have had to work beyond standard hours, so that staff feel appreciated and don’t feel taken advantage of.
Beyond this of course, many companies now proactively offer rewards and recognition programmes, giving staff the chance to work towards a particular prize. This takes saying thank you a step further and places some of the responsibility on the employee because achieving the reward is in their hands. Staff can boost their own levels of satisfaction knowing that they have a desirable goal to proactively work towards, which makes the doing of the job even more gratifying.
It might not be possible to create your dream job, unless you’re willing to set up your own business perhaps, but it’s certainly possible to boost your levels of job satisfaction. For a start, make sure you choose the right industry, job or career path for you. Once you’re in, try to find like-minded colleagues and build relationships so that you have a confidante or support network at hand. Aim for positive working relationships with your managers too, thanking them when they’ve been good to you can even remind them to do the same for their teams. If you approach work with a positive attitude, then you’re much more likely to come away feeling positive and happy at the end of the day.