Gavin Rossdale said, “a happy wife is a happy life”. But when we consider the enormous role that employees play in an organization, it is safe to say that “a happy employee is a progressive organization”. So, what then is Employee Satisfaction? It is a mental attitude to which an employee has towards his or her work and this influences his productivity as well as intra- and interpersonal relationships. Employees are the backbone of every organization. A CEO’s goals and dreams will remain on the vision board in the absence of committed and passionate employees who are equally driven to see progress and advancement. As key as leadership is to the expansion of an enterprise, the followership must not be looked aside considering that they are the implementing arm of the organization. Hence, the general welfare – mental inclusive- of the employee is very important and must be thoroughly accounted for just as any other top business deal will be planned. Where employees are not satisfied, it is not difficult to tell with the constant grumpiness, tension, murmuring, complains and a very low customer satisfaction index which is very bad for business. This article will consider some key factors that generally affect the satisfaction of an employee in the workplace.
1. Attainment of flow State
You are carrying out a task, fully absorbed and focused, sometimes even lost in a world of your own. In this moment, nothing else exist except you and the task, all you can think about is finishing it with the best possible outcome. At the end of this period, you are left with a sense of fulfilment, an excitement that cannot really be expressed in words. What just happened is termed the state of flow, the mind is fully immersed and the task being carried out is enjoyable. An individual in the state of flow is usually immune to hunger, pain tiredness or any other form of discomfort. It was named by a positive psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975. The term flow was adopted because a lot of people described their experiences metaphorically to resemble the flow of water. The best field for an employee to work in is one in which he is able to fully express his creative side. As such, working is not birthed out of struggle, but is enjoyable, the employee’s ability matches with the task at hand and productivity is at its peak. Under such conditions, it is easy to achieve employee satisfaction.
Tips for attaining the flow state
Avoid distractions: In a world of smart phones and access to internet services, the world seems to be at our finger tips and one click can quickly progress to four, ten, twenty clicks and boom! Two hours have quickly flown by. When it is time to work, work with full concentration and be singly focused. Only take planned breaks to avoid any waste of time or disruption to the flow.
Pick a task commensurate to your skill set: It becomes frustrating and difficult working on a task above your skill capacity and also boring when the task is far below your experience level. Work that provides room for stretching and growth is preferred. Practice is also important as better performance is more likely to be achieved where there has been ample preparation; the employee is thus prepared ahead of time for such tasks and attains flow faster.
Patience is important: It takes sometime before the flow state is reached. For some people, it may take up to 30 minutes, less or even more for others. The main focus of the employee should be getting immersed in the task. Don’t be focused on overthinking about when the flow state will be attained.
Identify your most productive periods and harness it: Ask yourself this question, “when am I most mentally active?” The flow state requires a high level of concentration and thus the best time to work will be the period in which the individual is most mentally active and productive. Most people prefer working at night where is quietness and fewer distractions from people. For others, they come alive in a particular location. It is important to identify what works for you and stick to it.
Identify your areas of interest and invest in them: Always work within your area of genius. A major reason for struggling in the work place is when the employee’s interest does not align with his present assignment. Temperaments also affects the abilities of people; for example, a sanguine is more likely to make a good sales representative than a phlegmatic person and a phlegmatic person is more likely to make a better innovator than a choleric person. Employees should therefore properly analyse their areas of strength and build on them to attain job satisfaction and personal happiness.
Flow with others: Working with others who are equally competent is another effective way of attaining flow at work. It is more enjoyable as there are others to share experiences with who can relate. This promotes team building; questions can be asked and answers provided.
Be motivated: There must be a drive or motivation behind undertaking a task. Motivation may be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation means that the drive is external and this may arise from the fear of been a dependent, an individual pushes his or herself to work hard. This type of motivation doesn’t last but can be harnessed where there is a dedicated tutor. Intrinsic motivation means that the drive to work is from within, an individual draws from his sincere interests and passion for the task at hand. Flow is best when the motivation is intrinsic, the employee is completely lost ad absorbed in the task at hand.
Have clear-cut goals: There should be a goal to be achieved or a reason for performing a particular task. It could be getting a promotion, setting a new record, winning a bet or simply to prove a point. Whatever it is, people who work with such goals are more likely to attain the flow state because their motivation is intrinsic.
Create a flow tradition: Create a tradition or sequence of activities that prepares you mentally to attain the flow state. Once you start doing them, your mind and body will pick the message and begin to adjust. It could be meditating for a few minutes, taking a cup of tea, a cold bath or going to a particular location. By continuously doing these activities, you activate a biological response and your body and mind prepare to concentrate on the task ahead.
Make sleep and rest a priority: sleep offers the highly needed restoration of lost energy. Humans function at their when they eat healthy meals and rest properly. The mind is alert and the brain is better equipped to function. A healthy body will more likely attain the flow state than a weak one.
2. The nature of the job: How an employee feels about the job determines his or her attitude towards it. Is it a continuous struggle to go to work daily? Does this job align with my interests and personality? Am I able to meet up with my targets and responsibilities? All these are important questions that rises in the mind of any employee who wants to be truly satisfied in the place of work. It is good when jobs provide challenges and opportunities for growth especially where the experiences and skill set of the employee can easily come into use. The job should not be too difficult else frustration will set in. If the job is monotonous, it becomes boring; therefore, there should be variety built into the work curriculum ad rotation can be introduced to expose employees to related fields.
3. Work environment and availability of the right facilities: A work environment that provides an opportunity for flow and growth will definitely amount to employee satisfaction. The presence of modern facilities and equipment necessary for the job will provide a huge boost in the morale of the employee. With evolving technologies in the world today, business owners must be up to date in providing well suited environment for work. The work place should be well lighted, safety of the employees must be a priority as much as making profit is, adequate ventilation should be provided. Arrangement of staff is equally important, teams who work closely together should be located with close proximity to each other thus preventing unnecessary movement and waste of time.
4. Remuneration and Promotion: Aside for passion, a major reason why people work is to earn money to fund the life they desire. A major part of job satisfaction is fair payment for services rendered. Once an employee perceives that he or she is offering more than he or she is receiving, dissatisfaction sets in. Organizations should have a system of payment where employees are paid not just their basic salaries, but are also provide with allowances for things such as transportation, dependents and wardrobe. A system of promotion should also be set in place such there is room for growth with the organization. Other non-financial incentives such as regular trainings and workshops should also be included to adequately motivate employees.
5. Social Interactions/communication with superiors and colleagues: No one is an island hence the need to work as a team arises all the time. Most times tasks are assigned to teams/ groups before been broken down into fragments for everyone to play a part. Working with people who are not like-minded can be very difficult especially on a person who is highly committed to the job. The presence of lazy team members can slow down the general progress of the team and be a thorn in the flesh of others. People who do not get along may not properly function as a team and job satisfaction becomes far-fetched. While it is good to promote interaction in the workplace, bosses should note those who are problematic and rid them off progressive teams. Superiors should be placed close to the work places of the teams to properly monitor their work activities. They should show sincere concern for the interests of their subordinates.
6. Level of Education: An employee’s level of education will also affect his job satisfaction. Those who are well educated are more likely to have higher paying jobs compare to those who are less educated. Professionals have the greatest job satisfaction while factory workers have the lowest job satisfaction. But there is higher dissatisfaction when a highly educated person is under-employed, that is, earning below his level of training.