title:Job Satisfaction ? An Illusion or a Real Possibility? author:Sarah Hightower Hill source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_2837.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:06 category:business_and_finance article:

A recent Chandler Hill Partners poll asking job seekers to comment on the level of satisfaction with their current job indicated that only 27 percent of respondents considered their jobs to be satisfying.
A 27 percent satisfaction rate is an alarmingly low number considering that job satisfaction impacts productivity levels, quality of interaction in the corporate culture and society in general as workers return to their private lives with the stress and frustrations accumulated during the workday.
The financial impact brought about by a less than empowered workforce may be so large and so obscure it defies calculation. Additionally, it may account in part for some of the major issues currently effecting our economic growth, such as outsourcing or the hiring of undocumented workers.
Based on these findings and the trickle-down nature of its impact, job satisfaction may very well be one of the most serious issues facing our nation today.
What does it take to be satisfied in one?s job?
Money, yes certainly, as a society we are still validated somewhat by the salaries we command individually, but another poll taken by Chandler Hill Partners indicates that money isn?t the only ingredient in job satisfaction.
Recognition and reward are the goals when human resource departments sit down to design Employee Motivation Programs, but our clients tell us other things play even larger roles; issues such as personal challenge, personal reputation, the company?s image in the community and its impact to humanitarian and environmental concerns.
It?s a pretty well known fact that Americans work hard, more often than not putting in longer hours than our counterparts in other countries. While we have designed and marketed products and business systems that have revolutionized the world?s economy and have achieved an unparalleled standard of living, we take fewer days off, and our vacations usually do not equal the standard expected vacation holiday of European workers.
So what?s the problem? Why are 73 percent of us dissatisfied with what we are doing professionally?
There is no clear answer, but when asked, our clients generally point to a lack of fulfillment, of having a role in anything considered really important or having no possibility of making a difference to the world around them.
The question in my mind then is whose responsibility is it to provide a satisfying work experience?
Certainly organizations have a moral and legal obligation to create working conditions that foster satisfaction by eliminating negative factors such as unfair pay, discrimination, hostility, harassment, and safety and security risks.
Those legal issues in and of themselves however will not grant the kind of satisfaction most people seek. For some it will forever remain an elusive pursuit while others will find satisfaction regardless of the conditions, pay, or behavior of the employer. Obviously personal attitude and individual perception play a role.
For those of us who find job satisfaction to be increasingly elusive, perhaps a breakdown or prescription of individual, measurable elements will help in this pursuit.
Self Knowledge ? Understanding one?s personal combination of acquired skills and innate talents is critical. Satisfaction will only happen when an ability to excel is present and when one can feel proud of the day?s accomplishments. Identifying these skills and talents then is the first step in determining whether or not a particular job has any chance at all of providing satisfaction to an individual.
Environment ? Clearly if a person is to be satisfied he or she must be in an environment that provides a foundation on which they can utilize those skills and talents in ways that give outlet to creative expression, or quiet participation ? whatever the level of the individual, the environment must be conducive.
Growth and Challenge ? None of us want to be in the same position when we finish our careers as when we started. Even those who are not high achievers or less aggressive in their pursuit of promotion and career advancement still want to know that there is space for them to move forward.
Recognition and Reward ? Just like none of us want to be stuck in the same no-growth, no-advancement position for all of our lives ? as workers, most want to be recognized and rewarded for their positive contributions.
This prescription works equally well for the employer or human resource department who want to make sure that each employee is properly matched to the demands of the specific job, has an environment resplendent with the appropriate tools, license, and space to function optimally, is provided growth opportunity and opportunity to learn and be challenged, and finally, who cares enough about the individual employee to recognize and reward appropriately.
With this litmus test, (1) self knowledge, (2) environment (3) growth and challenge (4) recognition and reward, any individual can begin an analytical evaluation of their current situation and look critically at the world of work around them to determine where and what might bring them greater job satisfaction and thus enhance the quality of their lives at work and at home.
Employers can apply the same critical evaluation when developing role definitions and structuring their organizational charts. Their motive is, of course, the bottom line. Less waste and absenteeism, and greater productivity are the rewards of a satisfied, empowered workforce.
As America moves away from the engorged labor pool created by the Boomer Generation, emphasis on job satisfaction may very well become the recruiting mantra, if not the mandate for the next generations of workers.
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