What Is Job Satisfaction?

While many people consider pay one of the most important factors in job satisfaction, there are a number of other pieces to this puzzle. Some have even suggested that if a person simply does what they love they will love what they do.

One study asks questions about having certain rights that weren’t available before and tries to determine if those rights are a key to job satisfaction. According to Science Daily, worldwide studies by university professor John Heywood focuses on several areas that may affect job satisfaction, including profit sharing, unionization and family-friendly work policies.

The first question to ask might be, “What is job satisfaction?” Of course, the answer might different from one person to another, but there are some basic things that seem to be necessary for job satisfaction to exist. Basically, a person’s satisfaction in a work situation is related to their state of mind and how they feel while they are performing their work. This is different from the satisfaction one feels after the completion of a project that ends successfully.

To understand job satisfaction, researchers and workers try to determine how people feel and act in work situations over a long period of time. In addition to levels of pay and such factors as family-friendly policies, job satisfaction can be influence by the relationship workers have with supervisors and business owners, as well as how much input workers have in the process.

Some studies show that job satisfaction (as measured by worker survey) does not necessarily mean job performance is going to be better. In some cases, good pay is enough to guarantee good performance for a reasonable amount of time, after which the supervisor or owner is satisfied with the results. However, studies have also shown that this situation is difficult to maintain over a long period, in a job atmosphere that is repetitive.

Cynics might also point out that if workers are required to do very little to get their pay they may be very satisfied. However, job performance and the end result wouldn’t be very good. One important distinction to be made is this: the difference between job satisfaction and motivation. A worker may be highly motivated by excellent pay and other benefits, but may not really like the work. Again, some studies have shown that workers can be motivated to perform well for a reasonable length of time, using good pay and other incentives. But it seems the minority of workers are satisfied by these factors over a lifetime.

Some of the key factors that enhance job satisfaction include management style, involving employees in planning and decision-making, job rotation (to avoid boredom etc.) and work groups that can be autonomous (completing a long-term task without interference from management).

Companies may be able to measure job satisfaction to some degree with well-planned employee surveys. However, job counselors urge management to focus both direct benefits such as pay and vacation time, as well as on the emotions and behaviors that employees display in the work situation.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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