Nine to five, five days a week, 48 weeks of the year. The grind or your vocation? It's so easy to fall into the routine, to get up, go to work, log on, fulfill your tasks, meet your KPI's, log off, go home. Many of us plod through the day sparing little thought for our enjoyment, just focused on getting the job done, ticking off tasks and meeting our KPI's. We don't take the time to examine our levels of enjoyment or sense of achievement as an output of our job. So, how important is job satisfaction and why do we need to stop and take stock?
Job satisfaction is not just about happiness, it directly affects how good you are at your job and how well an organisation performs. Research shows that the high levels of satisfaction leads to improved productivity, reduced employee absenteeism, improved culture and work place happiness, improved staff turnover levels, reduced stress, better quality work and better relationships with colleagues.
By assessing levels of satisfaction we can reveal to ourselves our true feelings about our employment and our role to improve the areas we are less than happy in. A thorough analysis will reveal the areas we need to improve on, where we can push forward and move out of our comfort zone, grow and develop.
So how do you self-assess satisfaction?
It all starts with honesty and six simple questions:
Are you happy going to work each day?
Are you happy with the work you produce and feel like you do a good job?
Do you feel like you contribute to your teams and the businesses success?
Do you feel proud when you tell other people what you do for a job and where you work?
Do you feel like your job allows you to utilise your skills and abilities?
What is the most important thing to you about work? Does your job offer you this?
If you are satisfied in your role, at least three out of six questions will be answered with a yes. If the answers instead paint a negative picture, this doesn't mean throwing in the towel and immediately seeking a new job is the answer. What it does reveal is that you have a choice; you can choose to adjust your expectations, working style, outputs or attitude if you feel like your core values still align with the organisation and there is an opportunity to grow yourself. Or, you can seek a new role within or outside the organisation. Either way identify what can be done to change the no’s to yes's, and whose responsibility that may be.
Proactively engaging your manager in an honest discussion around these changes, especially what you can do as well as what they can do is the next step. Laying the responsibility solely on them or coming to the meeting without possible solutions is likely to be met unfavourably. However, if you can show the changes that could be made to your behaviour, your responsibilities or how you are utilised within the organisation, and you can demonstrate how these actions will directly improve happiness and satisfaction, you will likely get a warmer response.
As an employer, encouraging self-assessment through performance reviews, more frequent informal catch ups and staff surveys on culture is key to understanding your staff and their job satisfaction. An understanding of employee’s satisfaction provides insight into employee engagement and stability, happiness, likely length of tenure or continued employment, areas for development and support and also strengths. This can be invaluable information when plotting career paths, succession plans, hiring forecasts, culture and engagement planning.
On average we work almost 2,000 hours each year. It’s worthwhile ensuring that our time spent in the office is one we enjoy. How satisfied are you?