Job Satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his or her job. The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they are said to be. Job satisfaction is not the same as motivation, although it is clearly linked.
Job design aims to enhance job satisfaction and performance methods include job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment.
Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job; an affective reaction to one’s job; and an attitude towards one’s job.
Weiss (2002) has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviours.
1. Meaning and Definitions of Employee Job Satisfaction 2. Features and Determinants of Employee Job Satisfaction 3. Aspects
4. Popular Job Enrichment Programs. 5. Methods to Measure Employee Job Satisfaction 6. Factors that Cause Dissatisfaction among Employees 7. Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Self-Esteem.
8. Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment 9. Generational Differences in Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment 10. Consequences 11. How to Boost Employee Job Satisfaction.
Employee Job Satisfaction: Meaning, Definitions, Consequences and Other Details
Employee Job Satisfaction – Meaning and Definitions
The term job satisfaction relates to the feelings of an employee about his job. Generally, if a worker feels happy to do a particular work, we can say that he is satisfied with what he is doing. It normally happens when the reward from the job performance and one’s expectations of the job are in consonance with each other.
Keith Davis “The favourableness or unfavourableness with which employees view their work”.
Pareek (1981), “The final psychological outcome of the person’s working in an organization is the satisfaction he/she derives from his/ her work and role”.
Locke (1976), “A pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience”.
Broadly speaking, job satisfaction is an individual’s overall attitude toward his/her job.
Job satisfaction has been regarded both as a general attitude as well as satisfaction with specific dimensions of the job such as pay, the work itself, promotion opportunities, supervision, co-workers and so forth. These may interact in different ways to create the feeling of satisfaction with the job.
The degree of satisfaction may vary with how well outcomes fulfil or exceed expectations. Mumford (1991) analyzed job satisfaction in two ways such as – 1. In terms of the fit between what the organization requires and what the employee is seeking, 2. In terms of the fit between what the employee is seeking and what he/she is actually receiving.
Job Satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his or her job. The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they are said to be. Job satisfaction is not the same as motivation, although it is clearly linked. Job design aims to enhance job satisfaction and performance methods include job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment.
Other influences on satisfaction include the management style and culture, employee involvement, empowerment and autonomous work groups. Job satisfaction is a very important attribute which is frequently measured by organizations. The most common way of measurement is the use of rating scales where employees report their reactions to their jobs.
Questions relate to rate of pay, work responsibilities, variety of tasks, promotional opportunities the work itself and co-workers. Some questioners ask yes or no questions while others ask to rate satisfaction on 1 -5 scale (where 1 represents “not at all satisfied” and 5 represents “extremely satisfied”).
Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job; an affective reaction to one’s job; and an attitude towards one’s job. Weiss (2002) has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviours. This definition suggests that we form attitudes towards our jobs by taking into account our feelings, our beliefs and our behaviors.
Employee Job Satisfaction – Features and Determinants
i. It is an emotional response to a job. Hence it cannot be seen. It can be inferred.
ii. Job satisfaction is determined by how well outcomes meet or exceed expectations.
iii. Job satisfaction represents an employee’s attitude towards specific dimensions of job, pay, work, promotion, supervision, and co-workers.
The determinants to jobs satisfaction are from two broad factors.
1. Organization factors
2. Individual factors
1. Organizational Factors:
The organizational factors include work, pay, promotions, supervision, work groups and work condition.
i. Work Itself:
Employees who like and love their jobs, experience utmost job satisfaction. Many research studies have unearthed a host of ingredients that cause job satisfaction like challenging work, job autonomy, operational flexibility, recognition for good work performance, etc. Jobs with ambiguity in task, lack of clarity in instruction, monotony, absence of freedom, operational inflexibility, etc., trigger job dissatisfaction.
Where the employees perceive that they are adequately compensated or fairly remunerated, they tend to experience job satisfaction. Pay offered by employers reflects the views of the contribution of employees to the organization. Research study have established that fringe benefits do not cause job satisfaction.
Employees tend to undervalue these benefits as they do not recognize their significant monetary value. Similarly, research has established that employees experience greater job satisfaction where they are given freedom to choose benefits plans under the cafeteria approach. Yet traditionally the correlation between pay and job satisfaction is taken for granted. But some studies have disproved the inter-connectivity between the two.
Promotional opportunities seem to make a difference in job satisfaction in varying degrees as there are different forms of promotions and the attendant reward. Individuals who get promoted by virtue of seniority experience less job satisfaction than those who get promoted by virtue of their merit. In contemporary organizations, seniority based promotions are in vogue only in lower levels of the organizational hierarchy. But it is practiced in Indian public sector undertakings.
Nowadays, a positive work environment, opportunity to grow intellectually and facilities to broaden skill sets have become all the more important than conventional promotion.
Supervision is another moderately important source of job satisfaction. It is not supervision per se that is directly linked with job satisfaction. The very type of supervision has a bearing on job satisfaction. Research evidence suggests that employee centered supervision which treats the employees with respect and shows genuine concern for their welfare generates a great deal of job satisfaction.
v. Work Group:
The nature of the work group or team will have a effect on job satisfaction. Friendly, cooperative and empathetic co-workers are a modest source of job satisfaction to individual members. A close knit team renders support, advice and assistance to individual members. Employees find the job enjoyable in such a team environment. On the contrary, if reverse conditions exist, people would find it difficult to get along with one another. This will have a tremendous bearing on one’s job satisfaction.
vi. Working Conditions:
Researches could not exactly pinpoint a set of factors constituting the ideal quality of working conditions. However broad consensus is that the physical conditions where work is performed has a definitive influence on job performance and. the consequent satisfaction.
Eye pleasing interior, fragrant interior, air conditioned ambience, comfortable work desk, clear cut responsibility clarity in rules, noise free working environment, supportive superiors, hygienic and clean toilets, good air quality, clear drinking water, and so on are sure to cause employees to focus their undivided attention on then jobs, which in turn may turn on their job satisfaction. Contrarily poor work environment is more likely to undermine satisfaction an individual derives from his job performance.
2. Individual Factors:
The individual determinants of job satisfaction include age, gender, marital status, education, ability and perception.
The relationship between age and job satisfaction has been proved in a number of research studies. Younger employees are more satisfied with their jobs than their elder counterparts as they have not gained much experience about the organization and about the job. In the contrary researches reported that with an advancement in the age of employees, their love for the job and loyalty to the organization come down. So it can be inferred that job satisfaction of employees comes down when they continue for prolonged period in any organization.
Evidence suggests that women who are committed to work have reported more satisfaction Malini. (2001) in her study on job commitment on women executive reported the women are more committed than their male counterparts.
iii. Marital Status:
The relationship between marital status and job satisfaction has not been proved concretely. Some studies have reported that married women are less satisfied with their job. Perhaps role conflict work-life balance might be one of the reasons for lesser job satisfaction. Some other studies have established the absence of any relationship between marital status and job satisfaction.
Employee Job Satisfaction – Different Dimensions or Aspects
Some of the different dimensions or aspects of job satisfaction are:
i. Individual elements – This means personality, education, intellect, age and marital status. These individual elements play an important role in job satisfaction.
ii. Social elements – Social elements are all things in the social environment of the work place, such as working relationship with colleagues, interaction and informal association with colleagues.
iii. Cultural elements – These are a person’s beliefs, attitude, values, and religious elements.
iv. Organizational elements – These are elements directly related to the organization like the size of the organization, structure of the organization, employee-employer relationships, management abilities, leaderships, delegation and all such things are factors affecting job satisfaction.
v. Environmental elements – These are elements of influences on the environment around working, like economic, social, technical and even governmental or political influences.
All these factors or dimensions are different for each individual and his or her perspective of job satisfaction.
In a research done on job satisfaction and self-esteem by Hall and Foster, 1977, they conducted a study on students from an “Introduction to Business” course. The students played the Henshaw and Jackson Executive Game, which required them to make sophisticated decisions regarding pricing, advertising, inventory, and personnel later they were measured on 5 criteria which included goals, effort, psychological success, self-esteem and involvement.
Results showed that when students had feelings of success in a task, they had feelings of increased self-esteem. Also, an increase in self- esteem was linked to increased involvement, and this lead to increased goal setting. It was also seen that the feeling of psychological success, as a result of performance that caused an increase in self-esteem.
In another research on self-esteem, job satisfaction and job performance the differential impact of self-esteem on the relationships between various job satisfaction scores (e.g., overall, intrinsic, extrinsic, pay) and job performance was studied. The researchers hypothesized that self-esteem moderates the relationship between job performance and satisfaction.
Results showed that self-esteem moderates the job performance-job satisfaction relationship. The data also showed that, in females, Social self-esteem was the strongest factor in the six dimensions of satisfaction. Conversely, in males, Task-Specific self-esteem was the greatest moderating power.
In a study by Kohan and O’Connor (2002) investigated job satisfaction of police officers in relation to mood, well-being and alcohol consumption. Also, Kohan and O’Connor (2002), examined job satisfaction, job stress, and thoughts of quitting in relation to positive affect (PA) which includes zest for life, excitement, pleasurable engagement and negative affect (NA) which included feeling upset, tense and nervous.
The results revealed that police officers reported more PA than NA. In other words, they had high levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, job satisfaction, and job stress. Also, there was a relatively low amount of officers intending to leave their job. The study also showed that police officers with a zest for life and excited about their job had higher self-esteem and thus, higher job satisfaction than officers who were nervous and tense.
The results of a study done by Walsh and Taylor stated that job recognition and rewards mean more to job self-esteem than job prestige or work conditions as well as lower status jobs involving stable small group settings (e.g., bartenders) will experience relatively high self-esteem among the employees.
A more recent research done in 2003 by Alavi and Askaripur in Iran on the relationship between self-esteem and job satisfaction, the results indicated that there is a significant meaningful relationship between self-esteem and job satisfaction of personnel. Also, it was found that personnel with high self-esteem have more satisfaction in their jobs than personnel with low self-esteem. Research also suggests that individuals with high self-esteem maintain optimism in the face of failure, which makes future success and thus future satisfaction more likely.
Korman’s self-consistency theory predicts that high self-esteem individuals will engage in a broad array of behaviors and cognitions that reinforce their self-concept.
Research don by timothy A. Judge et al. indicated a positive relationship between the core self- evaluation traits of self-esteem, locus of control, generalised self-efficacy and emotional stability.
Studies on self-esteem have shown a positive and reciprocal relationship between self-esteem and career success of physical therapists. Similar findings between self-esteem and job satisfaction were reported in a study done on nurses by Moore et al., 1997.
Research done on women and gender roles states that Women who work in sectors that are predominantly male or have a balanced proportion of male and female workers jobs have high job satisfaction. This job satisfaction is predicted almost exclusively by their perceptions of fewer income problems, flexibility of hours, and use of job skills.
Also Women in predominantly female sectors of the labor market are seen to have high job satisfaction scores, but these are related to a wider cluster of factors, including fewer perceived income problems, skills, and challenge factors, as well as the socio-emotional rewards of their work. Past research on the gender differences in job satisfaction has concluded that, women are in most countries more satisfied with their job than men. This gender gap in favor of women has been attributed to the lower job expectations that women have as compared to men, this conclusion is based on the study done by Clark in 1997.
Employee Job Satisfaction – 4 Popular Job Enrichment Programs
If supervisors can increase employees’ job satisfaction, they may motivate employees to be more productive.
Based on these theories, some general conclusions can be offered on motivating employees and providing job satisfaction:
1. Employees commonly compare their compensation and perceived contribution with others. To prevent job dissatisfaction, supervisors should ensure that employees are compensated for their contributions.
2. Even if employees are offered high compensation, they will not necessarily be very satisfied. They have other needs as well, such as social needs, responsibility, and self-esteem. Jobs that can fulfill these needs may provide satisfaction and therefore provide motivation.
3. Employees may be motivated if they believe that it is possible to achieve a performance level that will result in a desirable reward.
Many of the theories on motivation suggest that firms can motivate employees to perform well by ensuring job satisfaction. In general, the key characteristics that affect job satisfaction are money, security, work schedule, and involvement at work. To motivate employees, firms provide job enrichment programs, or programs designed to increase the job satisfaction of employees.
The following are some of the more popular job enrichment programs:
1. Adequate compensation program
2. Job security
3. Flexible work schedule
4. Employee involvement programs
To the extent that firms can offer these job enrichment programs to employees, they may be able to motivate employees.
Each program is discussed below:
Firms can attempt to satisfy employees by offering adequate compensation for the work involved. However, adequate compensation will not necessarily motivate employees to make their best effort. Therefore, firms may attempt to ensure that those employees with the highest performance each year receive the highest percentage raises.
A merit system allocates raises according to performance (merit). For example, a firm may decide to give its employees an average raise of 5 percent, but poorly performing employees may receive 0 percent while the highest performing employees receive 10 percent. This system provides positive reinforcement for employees who have performed well and punishment for those who have performed poorly.
A merit system is normally more effective than the alternative across-the-board system, in which all employees receive a similar raise. The across-the-board system provides no motivation because the raise is unrelated to employee performance.
Firms may attempt to reinforce excellent employee performance with other rewards as well as raises. Incentive plans provide employees with various forms of compensation if they meet specific performance goals. For example, a firm may offer a weekly or monthly bonus based on the number of components an employee produced or the dollar value of all products an employee sold to customers.
Examples of Compensation Programs:
The compensation at some firms is composed of base pay and “reward” pay that is tied to specific performance goals. The base pay is set lower than the industry norm for a given job, but the additional reward pay (tied to specific goals) can allow the total compensation to exceed the norm. Employees are more motivated to perform well because they benefit directly from high performance.
Some employees of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company are compensated according to the firm’s profits. Steelworkers at Nucor can earn annual bonuses that exceed their annual base salary. Many salespeople earn bonuses based on their own sales volume.
Kodak uses an incentive plan that allows each executive to earn a bonus based on his or her performance. The performance targets are set by the outside board members who are not employees of Kodak. The bonuses are based on performance measures such as revenue and earnings. Procter & Gamble Company provides bonuses to executives based on some nonfinancial measures, such as integrity and leadership.
The bonuses of chief executive officers (CEOs) at General Electric, IBM, and many other firms are tied to the firm’s performance. Performance measures may include revenue, earnings, production efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Firms recognize that tying compensation to performance may increase job satisfaction and motivate employees.
The following descriptions of policies from recent annual reports confirm this:
“A company lives or dies by results, and at Campbell, executive pay is linked directly to performance and 100 percent of all incentive bonuses are tied to company performance.” — Campbell’s Soup Company
“We are working hard to change the culture of the company by emphasizing and rewarding results, not activity.” —IBM
In addition to linking compensation to performance, some firms also grant stock to their employees as partial compensation for their work. The value of this type of compensation depends on the firm’s stock price. To the extent that employees can increase the firm’s stock price with hard work, they can enhance their own compensation.
Initially, firms used stock as compensation only for CEOs. In recent years, however, other top managers of firms have been granted stock as well to keep them focused on enhancing the value of the stock.
Some firms have extended this concept to all or most of their employees. For example, all employees of Avis receive some shares of Avis stock. This may motivate them to perform well because their performance may enhance the value of the stock they own.
One limitation of this approach is that some employees who own only a small amount of stock may believe that their work habits will not have much influence on the firm’s profits (and there-fore on its stock price). Thus, they will not be motivated because they do not expect that their stock’s price will increase as a result of their efforts. Stock options can also lead to conflicts of interest.
As an illustration of how a firm’s performance and value can improve when its employee compensation is linked to performance, consider the case of Paychex. In January 1998, Paychex announced its intent to tie employee compensation to its performance. Over the next nine months, the firm’s performance and its value (as measured by its stock price) increased substantially.
Developing a Proper Compensation Plan:
Most compensation plans that tie pay to performance are intended to motivate employees to achieve high performance.
The following guidelines can help in designing a compensation plan that motivates employees:
i. Align the Compensation Plan with Business Goals- Compensation formulas for employees should be set only after the goals of the business are established. This ensures that employees are rewarded in line with their ability to satisfy the business’s goals.
ii. Align Compensation with Specific Employee Goals- A compensation plan will motivate employees more successfully if it clearly specifies individual employee goals. Goals for an individual assembly-line employee should focus on specific job responsibilities that the employee can control.
Conversely, individual goals that specify high performance for the entire production plant are not under the control of a single employee, and therefore the employee will not be as motivated to perform well.
Some firms compensate employees according to the performance of a group to which they belong within the firm. The groups are small enough that employees believe they have some control over the performance measurement.
iii. Establish Achievable Goals for Employees -The compensation plan will work better if the goals specified for each employee are achievable. By offering numerous achievable bonuses, managers can increase each employee’s perception of the chance to earn a reward. Firms with limited budgets for bonuses can offer rewards that are less extravagant but still desirable.
Rewards that are desirable and achievable will motivate employees only if they are aware of the bonuses. Offering rewards at the end of the year is too late to motivate employees for that year. Levels of motivation will be higher if employees know about the potential for bonuses at the beginning of the year.
iv. Allow Employee Input on the Compensation Plan- The compensation plan should be developed only after receiving input from employees on how they should be rewarded. Although some employee requests may be unreasonable, allowing employee input can improve job satisfaction.
Employees who have job security may be more motivated to perform well. They are less likely to be distracted at work because of concern about finding a more secure job.
Although firms recognize that job security can motivate their employees, they may not be able to guarantee job security. When a weakened U.S. economy lowers the demand for the goods and services provided by U.S. firms, these firms cannot afford to retain all of their employees. Even when the economy is strong, some firms are pressured to lay off employees to reduce expenses.
Firms can provide more job security by training employees to handle various tasks so that they can be assigned other duties if their usual assignments are no longer needed. Nevertheless, the firm may not have any job openings to which employees can be reassigned.
Further, the job openings may be so different that reassignments are not possible. For example, workers on an assembly line normally would not be qualified to perform accounting or financial analysis jobs for an automobile manufacturer.
Another method of increasing job satisfaction is to implement programs that allow for a more flexible work schedule (called flextime programs). Some firms have experimented with a compressed workweek, which compresses the workload into fewer days per week.
Most commonly, a 5-day, 8-hour-per-day workweek is compressed into four 10-hour days. The main purpose of this schedule is to allow employees to have three-day weekends. When employees are on a schedule that they prefer, they are more motivated to perform well.
Another form of a flexible work schedule is job sharing, where two or more persons share a particular work schedule. For example, a firm that needs a 40-hour workweek for deliveries may hire two people to share that position. This allows employees to work part-time and fulfill other obligations such as school or family.
Flexible work schedules are becoming increasingly popular, especially with employees who have specific time commitments involving their children such as attending school or social events. Technology allows many employees to attend these events and still complete their work without being at the workplace. For example, they can access updated data and information regarding their jobs through a special business website that is accessible only to employees.
They can have their business e-mail forwarded to their home e-mail address or to some other address that they can access while they are away from the office. They may carry a cell phone for any necessary communication that cannot be handled by e-mail. Technology can also give some employees more time with their families by allowing them to avoid a trip to the office on some days.
As the theories indicate employees are more motivated when they play a bigger role in the firm, either by being more involved in decisions or by being assigned more responsibility. Firms use various methods to allow more employee involvement and responsibility.
Those methods are as following:
i. Job Enlargement:
One method of increasing employee responsibility is to use job enlargement, which is a program to expand (enlarge) the jobs assigned to employees. Job enlargement has been implemented at numerous firms such as Motorola and Xerox Corporation that experienced downsizing in the 1990s. The program was implemented not only to motivate employees but also to reduce operating expenses.
ii. Job Rotation:
Job rotation allows a set of employees to periodically rotate their job assignments. For example, an assembly-line operation may involve five different types of assignments. Each worker may focus on one assignment per week and switch assignments at the beginning of the next week. In this way, a worker performs five different assignments over each five-week period.
Job rotation not only may reduce boredom but also can prepare employees for other jobs if their primary job position is eliminated. In this way, employees can remain employed by the firm. For example, if the demand for a specific type of car declines, the manufacturer of that car may attempt to reassign the employees who worked on that car to work on other cars or trucks.
iii. Empowerment and Participative Management:
In recent years, supervisors at many firms have delegated more authority to their employees. This strategy is referred to as empowerment, as it allows employees the power to make more decisions. Empowerment is more specific than job enlargement because it focuses on increased authority, whereas job enlargement may not necessarily result in more authority.
Empowerment may motivate those employees who are more satisfied when they have more authority. Also, they may be in a better position to make decisions on the tasks they perform than supervisors who are not directly involved in those tasks.
Empowerment is related to participative management, in which employees are allowed to participate in various decisions. For example, DaimlerChrysler has a program in which individual workers are asked for suggestions on cost cutting or improving quality. Managers review these suggestions and respond to the workers within a few days.
Empowerment assigns decision-making responsibilities to employees, whereas participative management simply allows for employee input in decisions. In reality, both terms are used to reflect programs that delegate more responsibilities to employees, whether they have complete or partial influence on decisions. The higher level of involvement by employees is supported by Theory Z.
A popular form of participative management is management by objectives (MBO), in which employees work with their managers to set their goals and determine the manner in which they will complete their tasks.
The employees’ participation can be beneficial because they are closer to the production process. In addition, if their tasks can be completed in various ways, they may use their own creativity to accomplish the work.
MBO is commonly applied to salespeople by assigning a monthly sales quota (or goal) that is based on historical sales. The actual sales volume may be dependent on the state of the economy, however. Care must be taken to assign a goal that is achievable.
For production employees, a production volume goal is specified. Some employees may reduce the quality of their work to reach the goal, however, so the objective must specify adequate quality as well as quantity.
Another form of employee involvement is teamwork, in which a group of employees with varied job positions have the responsibility to achieve a specific goal. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company uses numerous project teams to achieve its goals. Car manufacturers encourage teamwork to generate new ideas. Employees at Yahoo! are encouraged to share their ideas with others to obtain feedback.
DaimlerChrysler, which was created from Chrysler’s merger with Daimler-Benz, designs cars with input from assembly-line workers. Executives establish general guidelines on a type of automobile that will satisfy consumers. The workers are then assembled in teams to work out the design details.
When Jaguar (a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company) desired to improve its customer service, its executives initially attempted to instruct employees on how to provide better service. However, motivating the employees was difficult because they were not satisfied with their jobs.
The executives decided to create worker involvement teams to develop a plan for improved customer service. The employees were more willing to deal with the problem once they were allowed to search for the best solution.
A classic example of teamwork that all students can relate to is Belmont University s use of teamwork to resolve course registration hassles experienced by students. Students experienced difficulties when attempting to add a class, drop a class, submit a financial aid form, or any other task requiring service from the university. In addition, each task had to be completed at a different location on campus.
Consequently, the university formed a team of administrators to find a solution that would make the process easier for students. The team proposed the creation of Belmont Central, a one-stop shop where students could accomplish all administrative tasks from registering for courses to applying for financial aid.
For Belmont Central to work, its employees would have to be capable of handling all these tasks Belmont University implemented the plan and trained the employees so that they were capable of handling a wide variety of tasks.
As a result, a student now goes to one place and meets with one employee to perform all administrative tasks. The students are much more satisfied with the service than they were in the past, and the university has received an award from USA Today for its excellent use of teamwork to resolve its problems.
Another form of employee involvement is open-book management, which educates employees on their contribution to the firm and enables them to periodically assess their own performance levels.
Open-book management educates employees on how they affect the key performance measures that are relevant for the firm’s owners. In this way it encourages employees to make decisions and conduct tasks as if they were the firm’s owners.
Open-book management has three distinct characteristics:
1. The firm educates all employees on the key performance measurements that affect the firm’s profits and value and ensures that these performance measurements are widely available to employees over time (like an “open book” on the firm’s performance). For example, various revenue, expense and production figures may be displayed daily or weekly in the work area.
2. As employees are given the power to make decisions, they are trained to understand how the results of their decisions will affect the firm’s overall performance. Thus, salespeople recognize how their efforts affect the firm’s total revenue, while engineers recognize how their efforts reduce the cost of producing a product.
Many job positions are not tied directly to revenue or total expenses. Therefore, it is helpful to break performance into segments that employees can relate to such as number of customer complaints, proportion of product defects, or percentage of tasks completed on time. Each of these segments influences the total demand for the firm’s product (and therefore the firm’s revenue), as well as the expenses incurred.
3. The compensation of employees is typically aligned with their contribution to the firm’s overall performance. They may earn some stock so that they are shareholders as well as employees. This reinforces their focus on making decisions that will enhance the firm’s value and therefore its st6ck price. In addition, the firm may provide annual pay raises only to employees who helped improve the firm’s performance.
Although educating employees on how their work affects the firm’s value is useful, a firm may still need to compensate employees for their performance in order to motivate them. Firms may set specific annual performance targets for employees and then continually update the employees on their performance levels throughout the year.
In a recent annual report, Dell, Inc.’s founder Michael Dell stated that it is critical for the company’s future success that it recruit, develop, and retain highly skilled people at all levels of the organization Furthermore, he said that Dell’s model of direct customer contact is only as good as the people who apply it to the company’s daily business.
He also deserves credit for the effective implementation of the customer contact model to the 16,000 Dell employees around the world. Thus, Dell is using a form of open-book management to motivate its employees.
Employee Job Satisfaction – 5 Methods to Measure Job Satisfaction: Single Global Rating, Summation Score, Interviews, Action Tendencies and Critical Incidents
1. Single global rating – Under this method, employees are directly asked to respond their level of job satisfaction on Likert’s five point scale. They are asked to respond to one question revealing their overall job satisfaction. The rating based on the above scale discloses overall job satisfaction of the employees.
2. Summation score – Under this, the employees’ job satisfaction is measured on various dimensions like promotion, supervision, work, organizational climate, interpersonal relationship, etc. The scores secured on each of these aspects are added up to arrive at overall job satisfaction of each employees.
3. Interviews – Employees are interviewed personally. The responses given by them disclose their satisfaction or dissatisfaction towards their job.
4. Action tendencies – Information is gathered about how the employees are inclined to avoid or join certain things relating to their jobs. This reflects their job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
5. Critical incidents – Employees are asked to narrate the incidents they encounter in their career in the organization. They are further probed into aspects with which they are satisfied or dissatisfied. The attitude of the employees is assessed in terms of their narration.
Employee Job Satisfaction – 5 Main Factors that Cause Dissatisfaction among Employees
There are many factors that cause dissatisfaction among employees. Managers and HR professionals must be aware of these factors as they only can raise job satisfaction or reduce employee withdrawal.
Those factors are:
Factor # 1. Personal Dispositions:
Dissatisfaction is an emotion that ultimately resides within the person. Individuals with high negative affectivity have higher levels of aversive mood states such as anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear and nervousness. Negative affectivity is a dispositional dimension that reflects pervasive individual differences in satisfaction with any and all aspects of life.
1. People who are high in negative affectivity tend to focus extensively on the negative aspects of themselves and others.
2. People with low emotional stability tend to be less satisfied with work regardless of the nature of jobs.
3. Depressed workers experience off-work problems that result in higher rates of absenteeism.
4. Negative affectivity in early adolescence leads to overall job dissatisfaction in adulthood.
5. There are people who are relatively dissatisfied regardless of the efforts taken by the organization.
6. Though the reasons for negative affectivity are not clearly known, genetic component may play an important role.
7. Similar to negative affectivity, people with low core self-evaluations tend to be highly dissatisfied.
Factor # 2. Tasks:
Many aspects of a task are linked to job dissatisfaction. The three important primary aspects of tasks that influence job satisfaction are complexity of the task, the degree of physical strain and exertion on the job and the value of employee puts on the task.
Generally, there is positive relationship between task complexity and job satisfaction. That is, the boredom of the simple, repetitive jobs that do not mentally challenge the employee leads to frustration and dissatisfaction.
The fact that technology is aiming at lessening work-related physical exertion shows that people get dissatisfied due to physical strain of the task. There are people who work enthusiastically even if the jobs are low in complexity and high in physical exertion. These people view themselves as performing a worthwhile service. They derive satisfaction because of the value they put on the job.
Factor # 3. Roles:
Every person has a role to play in the organization in addition to specific task performed. Role is what an organization expects from an employee in terms of what to do and how to do it. The expected behaviours include all the formal aspects of the job and much more.
Co-workers, supervisors and clients/customers have expectations that go beyond what is formally described as the person’s job. The three aspects of organizational role that significantly affect job satisfaction are role ambiguity, role conflict and role overload.
i. Role Ambiguity:
It refers to the level of uncertainty about what the organization expects from the employee in terms of what to do or how to do. Though ambiguity associated with work methods and scheduling are the most problematic forms of ambiguity, the most critical dimension to predict job satisfaction is ambiguity around performance criteria. Job satisfaction suffers when employees are not clear about how they are going to be evaluated on the job.
ii. Role Conflict:
It is the recognition of incompatible or contradictory demands by the person occupying the role. In many cases, a member of a cross-functional target team may have a project manager as well as a manager in his/her functional area that holds mutually exclusive expectations from the employee.
Another form of role conflict occurs when the employee may be holding more than one role at a time and the roles have incompatible expectations. Many a time conflict between work roles and family roles is common.
iii. Role Overload:
It is a situation in which too many expectations or demands are placed on the employees. Generally, role overload precedes role conflict because high overload on the job creates more opportunities for conflict.
Factor # 4. Supervisors and Co-Workers:
The two important groups of people in an organization who affect job satisfaction are- co-workers and supervisors.
Job dissatisfaction arises due to the following reasons:
1. The employee’s values, attitudes and philosophies may be different from that of his/her co-workers and supervisors.
2. There is no social support to the employees from the co-workers and supervisors. Social support means the degree to which a person is surrounded by other people who are sympathetic and caring.
3. One’s supervisors or co-workers may not help the person attain his/ her valued outcome. When a new employee is uncertain about what goals to pursue or what paths to take to achieve the goals, the supervisors or co-workers would not help him/her.
Factor # 5. Pay and Benefits:
For most people work is the primary source of income and financial security. Inadequate compensation as well as disparity in compensation may lead to dissatisfaction. Pay is seen as an indicator of status within the organization as well as in society at large. For some, pay is a reflection of self-worth. Satisfaction with regard to compensation is critical when it comes to retention.
Employee Job Satisfaction – Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Self-Esteem
The relationship between job satisfaction and self-esteem has been studied by professionals in different fields. From the capitalist point of view, the understanding of the relationship helps to improve worker productivity but from the human perspective the relationship helps us to understand whether happiness with one’s job is related to one’s self-confidence.
The objective of this research is to study the relationship between job satisfaction and self-esteem, as well as to study the gender differences that may arise between job satisfaction levels and esteem levels of employees.
The Concept of Self-Esteem:
According to Rosenberg the ‘self is made up of two elements—”identity” which represents cognitive variables, and “self-esteem” representing affective variables. The cognitive variable, or “identity,” involves perceiving and interpreting meaning. He referred to “self-esteem” as the subjective life of the individual, largely one’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Like Nathaniel Branden, he determined that self-esteem was made up of two components:
(i) Feelings of self-worth based primarily on reflected appraisals, and
(ii) Feelings of efficacy, based on observations of the effects of one’s own actions.
Thus a person’s social behavior is a product of the two jointly operating cognitive and affective variables. Also one’s self emerges from social interaction and reflects the character and structure of the society in which the interaction occurs, consisting of a highly differentiated, complex system of multiple parts role relationships, social networks, groups, organizations, institutions, communities all bearing on the nature of the self.
Though the concept of self-esteem is generally viewed as a global construct measured by a single one-dimensional variable, it is actually much more complex. It involves many different images, perceptions, identities, and cognitions that vary across situations.
Self-esteem is thus made up of reflected appraisals (looking glass self), the process of social comparison (Festinger), self-attribution (refers to the process whereby people make observations and attributions of their own behavior), and identifications (which may be based on association with a group).
Global self-esteem is related to overall psychological well-being, whereas role specific esteem relates more directly to behaviour. It is important to note that most self-esteem instruments are designed to assess global self-esteem. Thus explaining why researchers have found that global self-esteem has little or no relationship to performance.
Self-esteem is viewed as the extent to which one’s self-evaluations are favourable or unfavourable. It is also Kaplan’s (1975) view that all individuals possess the “self-esteem motive,” directing them toward minimizing negative self-attitudes and maximizing positive perceptions of the self.
1. Characteristics of High and Low Self-Esteem:
Rosenberg saw the high self-esteem person as likely to seek personal growth, development and improvement by pushing themselves to the limits to exercise their capabilities. He saw them as having self-respect, considering oneself a person of work, appreciating one’s own merits, and yet recognizing personal faults.
Rosenberg found that people with a deficient sense of the self, it had a profound impact on their psychological functioning and mental health as well as on interpersonal behaviour. He found that low self-esteem people are more likely to feel awkward, shy, conspicuous, and unable to express themselves with confidence. For low self-esteem people the self is a tender and delicate object, sensitive to the slightest touch.
They have a strong incentive to avoid people or circumstances that reflect negatively on their feelings of self-worth. They are hypersensitive and hyper alert to signs of rejection, inadequacy or rebuff
They are more likely to be depressed and unhappy; they have greater levels of anxiety; they show greater impulse to aggression, irritability, and resentment, and suffer from a lack of satisfaction with life in general. They have greater vulnerability to criticism, less self-concept stability, less faith in humanity and greater social anxiety. Successful performers are likely to attribute their successful outcomes to internal characteristics; low self-esteem individuals contribute success to external influences.
2. Gender Differences:
Boys and girls, men and women have very different values by which they judge themselves. For women, one’s family, peer support, reflected appraisals and family relationships are important determiners of self-esteem. Parental support and family connectedness are especially important for girls. Feelings of mastery, self-actualization and academic performance are more important for males. Similar differences between boys and girls are also found in other countries.
3. Self-Esteem and Work:
Studies have shown that self-esteem has an impact on the nature of work individuals choose to do. Those who are self-confident are more likely to engage in relatively complex work later on. Younger persons who start out with self-deprecating tendencies appear significantly more likely to hold jobs that are closely supervised.
Self-direction in their jobs makes individuals feel more positively about themselves, more able to do complex work and require less close supervision. Closeness of supervision tends to result in self-deprecating tendencies.
Job satisfaction can be seen as a “Positive attitude or emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience”. An organization’s efficiency depends to a large extent on the morale of their employees. Behavioral and social science suggest that job satisfaction and job performance are positively correlated.
Job satisfaction is defined as “the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs”. This definition suggests job satisfaction is a general or global affective reaction that individuals hold about their job. Researchers have also understood that, there can be different “facets” or “dimensions” of satisfaction.
Robert Happock found that individuals within occupational groupings (professionals and managers); were happier than those in other categories (unskilled manual laborers). Studies conducted by Cicero showed that almost all the experimental conditions that the researcher introduced increased the productivity of the workers.
The Hawthorne effect was introduced which stated “that a change in behavior or attitudes was the simple result of increased attention.” It was also seen that the outcomes have different implications for different people- where for some people responsible and challenging work may have no effect or a negative effect, for others such outcomes may have high positive values. These could be responsible for differences in satisfaction derived from work.
Keith et al found that emphasis on profits in the newsroom seems to be negatively correlated with job-satisfaction. Again a study conducted by Pollard showed that autonomy, authority and control were major influences on indicating on how satisfied the journalists were.
Employee Job Satisfaction – Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment
When people from different generations come together at the workplace, differences arise as each generation is characterized by its own shared beliefs, attitudes, values, perspectives, experiences, expectations, work styles, and so on. Such a gap leads to potential conflicts.
In the face of generational issues, how can organizations reduce tensions and improve productivity and satisfaction? A generation can be defined as a group of nationally representative people who share certain commonalities such as large-scale political and social events that occur in their lifetimes and also their individual experiences in all spheres of life.
According to Tolbize (2008), there are two perspectives on generational differences—one view is based on what is mentioned above, that each generation is influenced and defined by shared events and common experiences, and it is these events and experiences that shape people’s values, beliefs, and behaviours within a generation, regardless of individual differences.
In addition, people’s values, beliefs, and behaviours also differ across generations. The second view rejects the idea of categorizing people into generations and states that despite a variegated life cycle or career path, people are more or less similar in terms of what they want from their jobs.
Employee Job Satisfaction – Generational Differences in Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment
Generational differences are evident in areas such as working styles, attitudes towards authority, openness to feedback, loyalty towards the organization, etc. Such differences can either serve to support the organization resulting in increased creativity or it can cause conflict within the organization. Further, these differences also influence the levels of JS and OC in the workforce.
Eaton (2008) examined overall and nine facets of job satisfaction in a sample of 430 federal government employees. The findings of the study indicated that generational differences in satisfaction were found with regard to promotion and operating procedures the Millennial and Generation Xers in the study were more satisfied than the Baby Boomers and Traditionalists.
In addition, the Millennial were more satisfied with regard to operating procedures than the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, and Xers. Thus, although generational differences in satisfaction were few, some variability does exist.
Ali (2009) investigated the relationship of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, generation group, outsourcing, and insourcing to turnover intention in a sample of IT professionals. They found that OC and turnover intention shared an inverse relationship, i.e., greater the OC, lesser the intention to leave the organization and vice versa.
Further, OC and JS shared a linear relationship; thus, greater the OC, greater the JS, and lesser the need to leave the organization and vice versa. Outsourcing and insourcing did not reduce the effect of OC on turnover intention; in other words, if a person felt little commitment to their organization, that person was more likely to hold thoughts about leaving the company, and outsourcing and insourcing would only increase that likelihood even further.
With regard to generation group, this factor too did not have a moderating effect on the relationship between JS and OC to turnover intention, meaning that employees from the various sampled generations either remained or quit the organization based on their levels of JS and OC.
This relationship occurred in all the generational cohorts. All these findings helped in identifying the committed employees from the not so committed ones, and further, this study helped create retention and motivation strategies based on the generation groups.
The researcher of the study also suggested that academicians should investigate issues associated with computer science, management information systems, and business management so as to address any discrepancies between academia and the actual industry. This would enable young upstarts to enhance their skills in order to meet global standards. This in turn would help in addressing retention issues in the advent of generational transitions.
Gursoy, Maier, and Chi (2008) examined generational differences and similarities among employees and managers in the hospitality industry. The study was aimed at the development of leadership strategies and management styles to increase employee morale and productivity and to enhance the recruitment and retention rates of highly qualified employees.
Through a series of in- depth focus group discussions, they found generational differences pertaining to attitudes towards work and authority- the Baby Boomers in their sample respected authority and hierarchy, while the Gen Xers were not so. Further, the Boomers were more loyal towards the organization and did not mind waiting their turn for promotion, praise, pay, and the like, while Xers expected these benefits immediately.
Further, the Xers were not as loyal to their organization, which was indicated in their need for a life outside of their work. The Millennial in the study showed great energy and vigour in getting things done, had a strong preference for teamwork, and placed trust in a centralized authority.
Finegold, Mohrman, and Spreitzer (1999) investigated the variance of predictors of affective and continuance commitment across generations among technical knowledge workers. They found that younger employees place considerable significance on technical skill development and pay for individual performance; mid-career employees consider work/non-work balance to be an issue of concern; later-career employees focus on career advancement; older employees are more concerned with job security; and all the generations considered a climate for innovation and risk and pay for organizational performance as significant factors affecting their commitment to their organizations.
In sum, the research on generational differences with regard to OC and JS is rather mixed with various factors affecting work attitudes of employees from various age groups. Further, the studies mentioned also corroborate the research on generational differences; for instance, the older generations (Traditionalists and Boomers) are more loyal to their organizations than the younger (Xers and Yers) generation.
The younger generations also seek to enhance their skills and knowledge, want more learning opportunities and intellectual challenges from their work, and constantly demand feedback on performance, all of which are not evident in the previous generations.
Employee Job Satisfaction – Consequences
1. Job Satisfaction and Performance:
Researches conducted in many countries have not conclusively established the connectivity between job satisfaction and productivity. But high performance leads to high job satisfaction which becomes feedback to influence high performance.
In other words, where people perform well they are more likely to develop satisfaction towards their work.
Job satisfaction is really a collection of attitudes about some specific facets of the job. Employees can be satisfied with some aspects of the job namely, co-workers, work environment, clarity of goal, etc., while they may be dissatisfied with the supervisory style of superior, workload, night shift, lack of transparency etc.
In such a case, we cannot expect workers to respond in a single question as to how satisfied you are with your job. Many dissatisfied employees are reluctant to answer directly because such a response is akin to acknowledging that they made a poor job choice and they are not enjoying it. In this context, it is still debatable whether job satisfaction leads to higher productivity/performance.
In a nut shell –
i. Job satisfaction is a broader term. Hence, accurate measurement of job satisfaction on productivity is still a challenge.
ii. High productivity leads to greater job satisfaction.
iii. Organizations with satisfied workers are more productive.
2. Satisfaction and Absenteeism:
Where satisfaction is high, absenteeism is low. We can say that high job satisfaction will not necessarily result in low absenteeism, but low job satisfaction is more likely to bring about absenteeism.
3. Satisfaction and Turnover:
Generally, if there is job dissatisfaction, there is likely to be high attrition or turnover. But one’s decision to quit may be influenced by other variables like age, tenure in the organization, commitment in the organization, state of macro economy, etc.
Some employees who cannot see themselves working anywhere else, may continue to remain in the organization regardless of their job dissatisfaction. If the economy is doing well and job opportunities are bright, there will be an increase in turnover. Even satisfied groups will make a switch over to other organization where opportunities for advancement are galore. On the other hand if the jobs are tough to get and downsizing, merger and acquisitions are happening, dissatisfied employees will voluntarily stay. Overall, job satisfaction is one of most important factors in turnover decision of employees.
4. Job Satisfaction and Work Behaviour:
The influence of job satisfaction on customer satisfaction is stated to be strong. Marketing experts have developed a model relating job satisfaction to customer satisfaction.
5. Employee – Customer – Profit:
According to this model, where the employees are satisfied with policies of the company they are supposed to be in good mood. They are more likely to exude friendliness and customer service. They are less likely to defect to rival companies. The long serving employees puts the customer in a better moods. Customers become familiar with same faces and receive experienced service. The consistent good quality service nurtures customer’s loyalty to employee rather than to organization. All these positivities culminate in soaring the profit and spurring the growth of the organization.
Employee Job Satisfaction – How to Boost Job Satisfaction (Guidelines)
In addition job satisfaction brings about a number of other positive effects. Research reports that highly satisfied employees tend to have –
i. Better health.
ii. Fewer on the job accidents.
iii. Fewer grievances.
iv. Learn job related tasks quickly.
Following guidelines may help in enhancing job satisfaction:
1. Make the Job Fun:
Organizations have to incorporate a fun culture in the organization. They can take the employees on white water rafting, trekking, hill climbing etc. They can organize events like new year day celebrations, company anniversary celebration, cultural programmes, competition events, family get together, year-end party, etc., to keep the employees in good humour. Having a fun culture may not make jobs themselves more satisfying but it does break the monotony and the consequent job dissatisfaction.
2. Cafeteria Approach:
Organizations can offer employees, the choice of a bouquet of benefits within the budgeted amount instead of offering the same benefits schemes to all the employees across the boards.
3. Engagement of Right Fit:
It has to select the employees whose values, beliefs and attitudes fit into those of the organization. It has to filter them in terms of skills and competency expected of them to accomplish the goal of the organization. Companies like FORD, IBM, Kodak, Disney, etc., employ the new hire who best fit with their values and beliefs. This will ensure greater job satisfaction of employees.
4. Redesigning the Jobs:
Contemporary employees look for challenging jobs. In other words, the organization has to redesign the jobs in such a way as to make it inspiring or challenging the potential of employees. Individuals should not feel monotonous or bored to do the job. It has to build in variety, in the job; add responsibility, provide identity and autonomy to the job holder. This will heighten job satisfaction.
Organizations have to institute awards in recognition of unique contribution of employees. It has to provide attractive cash awards to innovative ideas contributed by members. It has to share a part of the benefit with the members whose path breaking ideas benefit the company in saving resources or in earning higher profit. This will go a long way in enhancing job satisfaction.
6. Seeking Consultation:
Consulting employees on strategic issues and seeking their honest opinion has a tremendous bearing on the morale and motivation of employees. This will heighten the satisfaction of employees.
7. Congenial Work Environment:
Provision of congenial work environment like separate cubicles, latest electronic communication gadgets, air conditioned rooms, secretarial facilities, comfortable desks, ergonomic chairs, clear drinking water, pleasing interior, relaxation facility, etc., can help the contemporary employees. It creates a pleasant mood and a mindset for churning out quality work.
8. Refresher Training:
The organization has to offer periodical training to employees on the latest developments in their respective fields either through in house training facility or through a tie up with leading training institutions. This would empower the employees and recharge their energies. It will enable the otherwise dull workforce to work with a lot of zeal and zest.
9. Power Delegation:
Decentralisation of power to employees, fixation of accountability, delegation of authority and grant of autonomy have the potential to enable the employees to unleash their otherwise dormant potential. Thus the very opportunity to give vent to their latent potential drives them to work with greater satisfaction.
10. Deputation for Foreign Assignment:
Selection of best performing employees for important overseas assignment would trigger their motivation and it would add value and heighten the prestige among their colleagues. This will in turn inspire others to equip themselves for such assignment.
11. Cross-Functional Exposure:
Contemporary watchword is ‘jack of all and master of one’. The more the employees are exposed to multifarious functions, the more the value he/she commands. Infusion of cross functional knowledge enhances his value in the job market. Besides it has the power to enhance one’s self-worth.
12. Participatory Opportunity:
Employee’s participation in decision making in the form of joint decision making, autonomous work groups, quality circles, membership in committees, and so on would kindle their creative spirit and impel them to contribute substantially towards the goals of the organization.
13. Alternate Work Schedule:
Alternate work schedule like flexi time, job sharing, annualized’ work hours, work from home, compressed work week, part time work, day shift working, etc., would help the talented employees stick to the organization for a longer period. These arrangements help the women employees who add billable value to the organization to continue their service but also strike work-life balance.
14. Liberal Holidays:
Entitling employees with paid holidays like weekend off, sabbatical, short vacation sick leave, maternity leave, etc., is one of the powerful motivators for employees. This will help the employees achieve work life balance.
15. Variable Pay:
Besides scale of pay, and variable pay should be offered to recognize the distinct contribution of talented employees. This will enable them to part with their discretionary efforts for attaining the goals of the organization.
16. Faster Career Tracks:
Seniority based promotion can be practiced only for such cadre of employees whose jobs do not add value to the company. Fast track promotion, out of turn promotion and merit based promotion feed the creative urges of talented human resources. Contemporary employees look for companies which offer faster career advancement. They do not want to languish in the job for there is fewer opportunity for career growth.