Job satisfaction - American businessJob satisfaction has to do with employees’ attitudes towards and liking for their work. Measures of job satisfaction are often used to predict how long employees will continue working for a particular company, as well as their level of ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT. Variables affecting job satisfaction typically include both organizational and personal factors. There are numerous organizational factors that affect job satisfaction. First, the structure of the company’s reward system—the means through which employees earn promotions, salary increases, or other rewards—is important in determining satisfaction. Reward structures that hinder professional development or provide little recognition for employees’ contributions to company success lead to lower levels of satisfaction. On the other hand, reward structures that provide reasonable and adequate opportunities for employees’ contributions to be recognized and rewarded are associated with more positive attitudes about the job. Both the actual and perceived quality of the supervision at work also affect job satisfaction. Competent supervisors who treat employees with respect and consider the needs and interests of the employees when they make decisions tend to foster high levels of job satisfaction on the part of the company’s employees. Company executives who are flexible and recognize when a particular situation calls for them to change their tactics tend to provide the most effective LEADERSHIP. Sometimes a leader may need to be autocratic when directing employees in order to accomplish a task or resolve a problem. However, at other times the key to success may involve a democratic approach, with employees participating in decision making and helping to shape outcomes. Unfortunately, some leaders are rigid about their preferred approach and may miss opportunities for more successful interactions with employees. Poor leadership or supervision is associated with low levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of job turnover, which may ultimately cost the company in terms of money and reputation. The specific characteristics of the job also affect satisfaction. Monotonous and hectic tasks and those assignments that do not stimulate employees are all related to lower levels of job satisfaction. Employees in these types of positions, such as people who work on ASSEMBLY LINEs in factories, report higher levels of psychological distress and tend to have a high number of absences from work. Highquality supervision is especially important in these types of jobs, as it can help increase productivity and satisfaction when workers perceive that their contributions are valued. The HAWTHORNE EXPERIMENTS demonstrated positive effects on productivity when management simply showed an interest in their factory workers. Many personal factors also affect job satisfaction—for example, higher levels of status and SENIORITY. Employees who have been with a company for longer periods of time typically tend to also have and seniority and are more satisfied than are newer employees. In addition, when the responsibilities of a particular job are well matched to the employee’s personal interests, job satisfaction tends to increase. Finally, job satisfaction is linked to employees’ personal satisfaction with life outside work. People who are happy in their personal lives tend to have more positive attitudes toward work than those who are unhappy. There are many ways a company may try to increase job satisfaction for its employees. For example, rewarding an employee with a deserved raise in a timely fashion or amending a job description so that it more closely matches the employee’s interests will likely increase satisfaction both at work and at home. Given that job satisfaction is such an important aspect of working life, leaders who carefully consider how their decisions affect both the company and its employees should promote the success of both.
See also employee motivation.