Job Satisfaction
What are the Key Factors?

What are the key factors in creating job satisfaction to keep people happy in the workplace?

How do you feel when you are continually stopped from achieving something? Frustrated? Annoyed?

This is the opposite of job satisfaction, of course, so it immediately gives us the key to creating the satisfaction you need.

The Key Factor

That most important factor is the achievement of production. There will always be barriers to getting results, so happiness in the workplace actually becomes a study in overcoming production barriers.

Some people do this naturally. Have you seen the exhilaration of an employee who has just managed to overcome some serious obstacles to achieve a highly valuable result?

Despite the things that seemed to be stopping them, they pushed through (or around, or under, or over…) and they made it happen! That’s job satisfaction. And that is also workplace happiness. Think of the tennis champ who wins a tough international match.

Not Everyone Can Overcome Barriers

Only some of your people will have the ability to push through the barriers. Many require some help.

They do not have the horsepower to overcome some obstacles and, if left to bang their heads against them, they will eventually go down into frustration; not happy!

  • With these people, you have to help them push through those things that obstruct their forward progress. These obstacles include other employees, company procedures, lack of knowledge, etc.
  • As the manager, you are in a much better position to remove such barriers, particularly if they relate to other sections of the company. This is part of your performance management strategy.

So, a very worthwhile activity for a manager is to monitor the progress of your people towards their goals and results and to be aware of the barriers that may be frustrating them.

Of course, this assumes that you and the employee both have a clear understanding of the job goals and the results they are expected to achieve. See Job Descriptions for more detail.

Handle your Top Performers Differently

Be careful, however! Don’t be too quick to intervene with your top performers. Let them find the solutions themselves, where possible, otherwise you will be taking away the “game”. It’s a delicate balance.

  • On the one hand, you want to rescue them before they descend into apathy about their job.
  • On the other hand, you need to let your top people achieve their wins.

Poor Performers

You also have to realise that some people are actually not able to do their jobs at all; they are simply poor performers.

With these people, if you continually remove their barriers, they will simply depend on you to solve all of their problems. In this case, it is time to review their value to the organisation in that particular position.

The key to this whole business of job satisfaction is getting results on the job.

  • If an employee can blast through the things that are apparently stopping them, they will get a kick out of it and be very happy.
  • If they are continually blocked by apparently insurmountable obstacles, they will eventually give up, because they are not achieving the results expected of them.

Watch Our For…

One final point on job satisfaction. If one of your top performers is overcoming all obstacles with graceful ease, it may be time to look at promotion, or expanding their role in you operation.

If you don’t, you may lose them, as the game has become too easy for them – no challenge! See Retaining Your Top Performers for more detail.


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