What Brings Job Satisfaction?

by Elise Wile

If you're a supervisor, you may enjoy listening to the Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," but you're not likely to want to hear this message coming from the people you supervise. Workers who have low job satisfaction have lower productivity, are less innovative and tend to have more health problems, according to the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Fortunately, there are many factors that can be applied to your work environment to increase employee satisfaction on the job.


You may feel the most satisfied at work when you feel empowered to get the job done, according to a 2012 report published by the Center for Effective Philanthropy. In order for workers to feel this sense of empowerment, it's important that higher-ups communicate that the company cares about them and their contributions, you clearly understand the direction you should take with your work, and receive fair and helpful performance reviews.

Internalized Motivation

Workers who have intrinsic motivation to get the job done are often highly satisfied workers. Intrinsic motivation is the kind that comes from the inside, rather than external factors such as raises and incentives. When an employee gains satisfaction simply through performing her work, it's a sure sign the job is a good fit. For example, a social worker has high satisfaction on the job because helping people feels good to him, while a salesperson enjoys the social interaction that comes with approaching customers and providing them with information about a product.

Expectations Are Met

For people to be satisfied with their jobs, they must be happy with what they have. Some employees are perpetually dissatisfied, forever thinking they should receive higher pay or more favorable working hours. Others are quite happy with their situation, since they're not working at a less desirable job. Management can facilitate work satisfaction by making employee expectations line up with the job. Workers who know that others make significantly more money for a similar job description are likely to be dissatisfied, because they don't feel they're valued as highly as the other workers.

Site-Specific Factors

If workers don't seem to be satisfied at your company, it's often a good idea to ask why. Sometimes dissatisfaction can arise from an unexpected source, such as a particularly unpleasant executive secretary or an overcrowded parking lot that results in employees searching for parking on the street. Find the source -- or sources -- of the problem by conducting an anonymous survey. You can also encourage email suggestions for an improved work environment to catch problems before they become a source of poor motivation.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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