Job satisfaction factors

Most adults spend the majority of their week involved in some kind of employment and, with the increasing pressure on pensions, we are all likely to have to work well into what would once have been considered retirement.

Isn’t it therefore common sense to seek work that not only provides sufficient financial reward but also offers a real sense of job satisfaction? Yet how many of us can, hand on heart, say we love our jobs and that we would continue doing what we do even if we weren’t getting paid to do it? How many of us truly know how to change careers into something mroe enjoyable and meaningful?

What then constitutes job satisfaction?

According to Jacob Morgan, futurist and best-selling author, the top 10 job satisfaction factors are:

  1. Appreciation for your work
  2. Good relationships with colleagues
  3. Good work-life balance
  4. Good relationships with superiors
  5. Company’s financial stability
  6. Learning and career development
  7. Job security
  8. Attractive fixed salary
  9. Interesting job content
  10. Company values

Let’s examine these areas in turn.

Appreciation for your Work

We all know how easy it is to become demoralised if you turn up for work day after day, same old, same old and no one in leadership positions even acknowledges you leave alone tells you what a great job you’re doing. Appreciation from your boss and co-workers can turn a mundane day into one where you feel valued and respected – whatever your job, whatever your level.

Good Relationships with Colleagues

It can be miserable working in a group of people with whom you don’t get on; if there’s no one to share a smile and a laugh with, no one to help or explain things and no one to turn to when things aren’t going well, then each working day can turn into one simply to be endured.

Good Work-Life Balance

Gone are the days when it was expected that an employee started at 8.30 and finished at 5.30 five days a week. Flexible working is now embraced by many employers and the right to part-time working and parental leave is enshrined in law. Companies with rigid working practices (although there are obviously areas such as health care where fixed shifts are a requirement in order to maintain service levels) are finding that they are not attracting top candidates who will opt instead for an employer who will consider working from home or a compressed working week.


Your career is key

Good Relationships with Superiors

The very best managers do not tell their staff what to do, rather they lead by example and cooperation. Those sort of managers will always have the most productive work force because their team will want to work for them. They treat their team as individuals, recognise strengths and weaknesses and utilise people to their best potential, meaning workforce morale and motivation will be consistently high. Conversely grievances and disciplinaries will be low as there will be continuous dialogue leaving little room for niggles to become major issues.

Company’s Financial Stability

Let’s face it, at the end of the week/month we all expect to be paid for working – very few of us are in the position of being able to work for free! Knowing that you are working for a company which is financially viable enough to meet the weekly or monthly wage bill is obviously re-assuring.

Learning and Career Development

Continuing professional development is applicable in all jobs – no one wants to be stuck in a dead end job, doing the same thing, the same way until it’s time to retire (that’s if you haven’t already dropped dead from boredom). There is no reason why even the least glamorous of jobs cannot benefit from updates to training and methodology and a clearly defined career path (for those who want it) is both aspirational and motivating.

Job Security

Interestingly, job security is something that seems to belong to yesteryear. Millennials are prone to job hopping and are less likely to be seeking a ‘forever’ job than previous generations. That being said, no one goes into a new job planning to leave it and no one wants to start a new role in an organisation which is clearly on its knees.

Attractive Fixed Salary

As stated previously – we all expect to be paid a for a day’s work and knowing what your income is going to be each week/month is far preferable to dealing with variable hours and therefore salary (zero hours contracts for example). If offered the choice between two employers (everything else being equal that is) than a candidate will most likely opt for the one who will pay the most – it’s human nature.

Interesting Job Content

If your job is mind-numbingly boring, how engaged are you likely to be as an employee? Won’t you just be watching the clock until it’s time to go home. We can’t all be research scientists, brain surgeons etc but with a little thought (perhaps rotating tasks between a group of individuals) it should be possible to offer a degree of variation in most jobs.

Company Values

If you are a vegan you are unlikely to apply for a job in a butchers or abattoir – your values are so far out of step with that prospective employer that you simply wouldn’t countenance working for them. Perhaps the issues are not always that stark and clear cut and there may not always be a choice but if your personal values closely align with that of your employer and the culture in the workplace is also a match, then you are far more likely to experience job satisfaction.

Employee engagement is increasingly seen as one way to retain staff, encouraging staff to share their views and ideas with both co-workers and senior management creating an environment of trust and mutual cooperation (provided of course that it is not something undertaken simply to put another tick in a management box!).

In Summary

Society has moved on from the ‘job for life’, retire at 65 and die a few years later which was prevalent in the post-war years.

Job satisfaction is both desirable and attainable; it may sometimes be necessary to modify your expectations, or even to consider changing jobs (this is where career counselling can be invaluable) but no one, not your boss, co-workers nor society in general can keep you trapped in a role that makes you unhappy.

Maybe we’ve all become a little more selfish in expecting at least a modicum of happiness in our working lives, especially since we’re all going to be working until we are older and none of us should be afraid or ashamed to try different roles until we find one that suits us best. Millennials can teach the older generation something in that regard.

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  1. I would add strong/good internal culture to this list. If staff are bickering or moaning it drags everyone down

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