6 Psychological Factors Which Affect Job Satisfaction
“Are you satisfied with your job?” When people are confronted with this question, they may find themselves at a loss for words—or even reaching for the old standby phrase, “Is anyone?” While this phrase may seem simply like an attempt at dry humor, it reveals the underlying feeling that many people harbor about their work as it relates to job satisfaction: that jobs are, at their core, not capable of producing satisfaction. This feeling, although common, is being increasingly discussed in journals and other scholarly publications around the world. Is anyone actually satisfied with their job? Should anyone be? Studies and research increasingly point to one conclusion: Job satisfaction can have a major influence on a person’s life as well as their work performance.
Job satisfaction can influence a person’s life in noticeable ways which are, although many people might not realize them, very common. A person who is not satisfied with their job may feel depressed, frustrated or even angry due to low satisfaction with their job. A poor amount of job satisfaction can even case more serious problems, such as substance abuse or alcohol abuse, due to the inability of an individual to cope with their job satisfaction. However, not all cases of low job satisfaction lead to more extreme results such as abuse of various substances—but they can still have a noticeable impact on a person’s life.
Job satisfaction not only affects individuals, but companies and businesses as well. A person with low job satisfaction is much more likely to have poor work motivation and, in turn, provide a lesser work performance. This is due to the fact that people with lower job satisfaction often do not feel the need to contribute positively to a work environment because said environment is not contributing positively to their own life. In other words, “Why do my job when I hate everything about it?”—a common sentiment expressed by people with low job satisfaction.
There are ways which businesses can address job satisfaction. The best way is by addressing those factors which are apt to cause lower job satisfaction and, in turn, resolve the problem at its roots. The following are six common factors which can create lesser job satisfaction—and how businesses can successfully resolve them.
Small work hassles
Small work hassles are little hassles which make working more problematic for employees. They are not major problems, such as inter-employee fighting or massive challenges—instead, these are “the little things” which have a tendency to add up during a workday to create a more stressful environment. These smaller work hassles include everything from malfunctioning work machines to having to wait in long lines to use the bathroom during breaks. Businesses can easily improve job satisfaction by eliminating these hassles or reducing them as much as possible.
Perception of unfair play
The perception of fair play in a work environment is an important one. When employees feel that they are not all being treated on an equal level, this can create resentment which leads to lower job satisfaction. Common factors involved in this perception are the perception of being paid unfairly and being treated unfairly. For example, an employee may feel that another employee who is doing the same job is being paid more for their work. A business can resolve this problem by ensuring that the perception of fair play is in use—whether or not it actually is, of course, is up to the company.
Lack of achievement
People feel satisfied when they feel that they have achieved something. Employees often report lower job satisfaction when they do not feel that their actions have actually achieved anything. This problem is most common in environments where employees are on the “lower rung” of the company ladder or are performing small, repetitive tasks. Businesses can solve this problem by consistently recognizing the work of employees, creating a sense of achievement.
Lack of feedback
A lack of feedback can cause noticeably lower job satisfaction because people enjoy hearing feedback on their work, regardless of what their work entails. Employees, who are not receiving any feedback— positive or negative — may feel that their work is unrecognized entirely and, subsequently, not feel as satisfied with their job. Businesses can solve this problem by offering employee feedback to all employees on a regular basis—such as monthly or quarterly reviews.
Lack of control
When employees are working in positions where they have little or no control over their work or their work responsibilities, this creates a higher level of job satisfaction. People like to feel in control, especially in a work environment where they may already be feeling stress and strain from having to “submit” to a company’s authorities. Some employees react to a lack of control by cutting corners in their work or otherwise trying to find ways to undermine the company’s “system.” Businesses can address this problem by allowing employees a moderate amount of control over their work and their work responsibilities.
After-hours overflow refers to the overflow of work even after working hours have ended and an employee has returned home or is otherwise not on the clock at their place of employment. This overflow can include be caused by employers or by customers; for example, a common type of after-hours overflow for accountants occurs when customers call them after work wanting to know more information about their account or wanting the accountant to perform certain actions even though they are not currently working. This may be compounded if the accountant’s employer allows such actions from customers. After-hours overflow is a major source of stress in the workplace because it removes the ability of an employee to wind-down and relax after working. Job satisfaction is noticeably lowered when there is an increased amount of after-hours overflow. Businesses can address this problem by informing customers that when business hours are over, they are really over—after-hours calls will not be tolerated.