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Why employee satisfaction should matter to organizations

3rd March 2015 | Chantal Gautier

The Autumn Employee Outlook survey (2013) figures reveal that the most satisfied workers were those in the voluntary sector, next were the public sector workers and the lowest satisfaction scores were reported by those in the private sector. Suggestions are that low levels of job satisfaction are perhaps related to workers feeling uncertain about their job security. This was particularly evident for public sector workers, who expressed greater concern over potential job losses than voluntary sector and private sector jobholders.

Apart from the employment uncertainties some of us are getting to grips with, other factors can lead to job dissatisfaction. For starters, many believe the whole point of work is that people need to get job satisfaction out of it. Whilst monetary incentives are considered a prominent factor, most people need to feel good about their work as well. For some individuals this means scope for development and growth opportunities.For something to grow however, we must first of all nurture it, respect it and treat it with kindness. In an organizational setting this means creating a culture that instills care and support. For example, when mistakes are made (unless these are fundamentally irreversible or the result of inappropriate behaviour), people want to know that their superior will stand by them and not just expose them or leave them vulnerable. This will harvest trust and enhance job satisfaction. Cultures where support or care is not fostered will produce the opposite: unhealthy working atmospheres and a dissatisfied workforce.

Also inherent to job satisfaction is the role leadership plays. Good leaders understand that a company’s most valuable asset is its people. Thus, successful organizational cultures focus on making people feel valued: not just cogs in a machine. In turn, valued employees will be committed and instinctively want to participate or be willing to go the extra mile. Simply, because they know that they have added value or made some contribution that is recognized.

Sometimes organizations lose sight of the employees and regard the organization as something other than the people who work in it. If true, then this demands our attention, as there is a cost not only to the individual employees but also to the effectiveness of the organization. What distinguishes successful organizations from unsuccessful ones, or put differently, what signifies genuine job satisfaction, is when people say and feel proud of whom they are working for. 

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