Working a full time job is a huge part of any person’s life. The average Australian works between 37 and 38 hours per week. That means most people spend about one-third of their weekly waking hours working. Some people are lucky enough to be working in a job they like, then that time can be rewarding and fulfilling. However, working a job without satisfaction can be hugely damaging to an employee’s mental (and physical) health.
Ensuring your team members’ are getting adequate satisfaction from their work offers a range of benefits to both the employees and the organisation. These include:
- Better mental and physical health
- Reduction in sick days
- Reduction in employee turnover
- Increased productivity
- Better workplace morale
- Better company reputation
- Improved brand image
But, as a manager, how can you go about improving job satisfaction? Here are some great strategies for improving workplace satisfaction for your employees.
- Understand what contributes to job satisfaction
Before you can work to improve job satisfaction, you need to understand what factors contribute to workplace satisfaction. While the specific factors and their relative importance will be different for each person, these are some of the general contributors of job satisfaction:
- Getting a sense of purpose or meaning from the work
- Positive and respectful relationships
- Healthy, positive and comfortable work environment
- Role clarity and advancement opportunities
- Fair compensation
- Organisational stability and transparency
Understanding these factors and knowing how to integrate them into your team or company culture will go a long way to creating a positive work environment.
- Understand and cater to individual motivations
Understanding what motivates each individual team member will help you tailor working situations to an employee’s specific requirements. Regular, open communication is a vital part of this. Making general, organisation-wide changes is great, but if you want to get the most out of your team members it’s important to understand their specific preferences and motivations. Speak to your team members individually. Find out how they like to be managed and what the most and least rewarding parts of their work are. Understand their motivations and try to find tasks and a management style that suits how they like to work.
Some common factors that can positively affect motivation include flexibility, feedback and direction, a roadmap to advancement, upskilling opportunities, executive coaching, perks and rewards and recognition. Try to create tailored plans for catering to these individual motivations.
- Improve communication
Improving communication across an organisation can be a powerful tool for improving workplace satisfaction. However, it’s important to remember that communication is about more than just talking. Ensuring open lines of communication from workers to leaders is essential. Workers need to feel like they are being heard and that genuine action results from that communication.
Team members need to feel that they can voice their opinions, ideas, feedback and criticisms in an open and supportive environment. If employees feel like they are not being heard or that their communications are heard but never acted on, it can be incredibly discouraging.
- Role clarity, feedback and direction
Too often, the expectations surrounding a role can be vague. Employees should understand what is expected of them as well as how their work impacts the company as a whole.
Providing regular feedback can help with positive reinforcement on a job well done and guidance for how to improve output. Constructive feedback can be useful for learning to work more efficiently, work smarter and perform better. While feedback can be useful, it needs to be appropriately framed and delivered. Poorly delivered feedback without proper direction can be construed as criticism and can increase frustration.
- Adequate compensation and opportunities
While money isn’t everything, people do like to feel like they are being adequately compensated for their work. If your team members are working hard for what they consider sub-par compensation, they may feel less inclined to work hard and may even start looking elsewhere.
While providing workplace perks can be a benefit, they should not be over-emphasised or offered in place of proper remuneration. Perks can improve the workplace culture or morale, but they will have little impact on job satisfaction.
Workplace opportunities are important as well. Whether that’s opportunities for promotion, taking on additional responsibilities, learning and upskilling, mentoring and training, they can motivate employees, keep work interesting and challenging and help to create a sense of career advancement.
These are just some of the ways you can bolster job satisfaction among your team members. The most important thing to remember, however, is creating an open and comfortable environment that encourages healthy two-way communication.