The overall performance and productivity of organizations can be affected by different factors, though the most critical one is employees, as they make up the only driving force for fostering positive changes and achieving organizations’ strategic objectives regardless of the industry of operation and the number of people involved. For this reason, it is crucial to understand what affects employees and their performance, and one concept that can be used for assessing it is job satisfaction. What is special about job satisfaction is the fact that it is a multi-dimensional phenomenon influenced by numerous different factors, but it is one of the main determinants of employee productivity.
In general terms, the concept of job satisfaction can be defined as a unique set of attitudes towards and perceptions of one’s workplace including different aspects of the working conditions as well as organizational policies. These aspects include but are not limited to promotion-related opportunities, leadership and management, colleagues, and job duties characteristic of a particular position (Schneider, Gruman, & Couts, 2012). As it has been mentioned, job satisfaction is a multi-dimensional concept, and it is especially true in case of viewing it from the perspective of the facet approach to defining this term. In this way, different facets of job satisfaction are assessed to obtain a clear understanding of employees’ attitude towards their work environment, which is usually measured from dissatisfied to satisfied. As for the facets, the commonly estimated ones are the following: pay, benefits, nature of work, supervision, relations with coworkers, managers, and leaders, and numerous others that are critical for a separately considered organization. Regardless of the intricateness of this approach, organizations are recommended to use it because they might find out what the main concerns experienced by their employees are and address them properly in case the leaders are interested in the continuity of cooperation and employee loyalty and dedication.
Due to the multi-dimensional nature of the phenomenon, job satisfaction is as well affected and predetermined by different factors. In order to obtain a better understanding of these factors, they can be divided into several main groups. The first one is a general group consisting of job characteristics. It incorporates five determinants: task identity, skill variety, autonomy, job feedback, and task significance (Schneider et al., 2012). It is usually believed to be the most vital facet of job satisfaction because the nature of the job is more critical than pay-related benefits and communication and relations among colleagues because it determines the opportunities for personal growth and development that commonly keep employees motivated. The second group of factors is labeled as organizational also known as social. These incorporate promotion opportunities, interpersonal relations (including the effectiveness of communication patterns), and social influence process. Finally, personal dispositions make up another group of factors influencing job satisfaction. They include personal traits, such as self-esteem, locus of control, emotional stability, and self-efficacy (Schneider et al., 2012). The impact of these factors on job satisfaction is the least prominent compared to other identified and described.
The criticality of the concept of job satisfaction is associated with its impact on an organization. Specifically, job satisfaction results in positive consequences, while job dissatisfaction is directly connected to negative developments. All of them can be divided into two overarching concepts – employee behaviors and performance. The first one is connected to the likelihood of either avoiding work or increased dedication. In addition, it is related to turnover intentions, with job satisfaction as resulting in lower turnover rates and job dissatisfaction causing more frequent turnover intentions. As for employee performance, higher levels of job satisfaction are generally connected to improved performance.
All in all, the connection between job satisfaction and job performance does exist, though it has not been proven statistically as the universally existing cause-and-effect relation. Nevertheless, the existence of this connection seems logical based on both theoretical information and personal experiences. Before my accident I worked multiple different jobs at different times and I was lucky enough to be able to communicate with people employed by different companies and occupying different positions – from ordinary employees to team leads and senior managers. As I discussed this exact topic in general conversation with some of them, they did support the belief that the overall job satisfaction is connected with the desire to work harder and be a source of benefits for the organization that makes their employees happy. More than that, one of the senior managers even told that he kept changing places until he was totally satisfied with all facets of job satisfaction that were of importance to him – benefits and rewards system, the nature of the job (specifically, the challenging character of all tasks), interpersonal relations and the overall atmosphere in the workplace.
Another point that I found interesting is that job satisfaction is not the only vital factor affecting employees. What was even more significant is the interest of the leadership and senior management to improve the level of employees’ job satisfaction. Specifically, if organizations collected feedback on job satisfaction (surveys developed based on facet approach) and made effort to address the concerns, the overall improvement in employee performance was the consequence of fostering any changes because employees felt that they were valued. Summing up, job satisfaction is one of the vital determinants of high employee performance and their exceptional productivity. Even though this connection is commonly questioned, the conclusion made based on the theory and practice is uniform – this link does exist, and it does benefit organizations if they recognize the how critical job satisfaction really is.
Schneider, F., Gruman, J., & Couts, L. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.