Job satisfaction and performance
Non-financial rewards often have more impact than financial recognition in attaining job satisfaction, writes Achal Khanna.
In the contemporary workplace of today, leaders are empowering employees, flattening organisations, encouraging staff participation in decision-making, enhancing productivity and shifting from 9-5 to 24/7. All this with only one objective of attaining high performance outcomes for the organisation. Many leaders in their quest for organisation success often overlook one very valuable motivational tool in their arsenal—job satisfaction.
At a job interview last year, a candidate who had been retrenched produced a photo album with clippings from her former company’s newsletter and a national newspaper which featured her as an exemplary worker and an outstanding performer. She proudly announced to the interviewing personnel, “The salary was not much but I was recognised as the best by being reported in the newspaper and rewarded with a big bonus. I was sometimes invited to company dinners and sat with the bosses. I was very satisfied!” It was her definition of job satisfaction that had powered her to a sterling job performance. If the economic vagaries had not forced her to be retrenched, she would have continued even though her monetary reward was at the mid-range. She could make any employer proud as long as she achieved job satisfaction!
Rewarding staff appropriately is important. Experi-enced human resources consultancies and practitioners who are engaged in staff selection, assessment and recruitment are often able to evaluate and assess the needs and wants of individuals fairly accurately. By having them, especially those with many years of expertise and experience on your human resources maintenance team, organisations can develop strategic and creative benefits and wages to attract, retain and motivate talent who will achieve high performance for the organisation and job satisfaction for themselves.
Job satisfaction is often achieved where performance is recognised by appropriate and equitable performance related pay supplemented with other perks, benefits and non-financial recognition and rewards, which meets the team member’s expectation. Non-financial rewards have more impact than financial recognition in attaining job satisfaction.
A strong motivator
Job satisfaction is often a strong motivator in work endeavors. Research has shown that job satisfaction can lead to high job performance especially for professionals and high-level employees, commonly known as talent. As jobs and work in the new economy shift to professionalised knowledge-based, info-tech, infocomm and bio-science characteristics, job satisfaction will increasingly become a key driver of individual motivation and effort. Research has also shown that there exists a relationship between individual performance measured at a certain time and later job satisfaction. However, this relation is conditional to performance being fairly rewarded in appropriate form as perceived by the recipient.
Quality of work-life
One hallmark of a socially responsible organisation is its success in achieving not only high performance outcomes, but also in helping its team members experience a high level of job satisfaction. Quality of work-life (QWL) is a key indicator of the overall quality of human experience in the workplace. QWL expresses a clear way of thinking about people, their work, and the organisation in which their careers are fulfilled. QWL establishes a clear objective that high performance can be achieved with high job satisfaction.
Achieving high job satisfaction needs some simple strategies. Offer your team members a variety of meaningful tasks. Repetitive routine work often leads to job dissatisfaction. As a leader, think about introducing application of creativity in their work. Rotate the staff to different tasks at regular intervals so that their work remain challenging. If you have to supervise do it unobtrusively. Give more responsibility by empowering your team members. Allow them opportunity to self pace themselves.
Give frequent and non-critical feedback on performance and provide opportunity for self-development to overcome inadequacies. People like to feel in control of them to feel good about them—a key component of job satisfaction!
Unclear targets and objectives and poor communication can contribute to dissatisfaction and eventually lead to poor work performance. If you are administering rewards, make sure they match their expectation. If their expectations are unrealistic, take time to make comparison to equivalent and comparable jobs and broad work related environmental condition to similar employers. Explain this to your team members.
Job satisfaction needs effective communication about the tasks, which have to be done. The team member must know the performance achieved in relation to the target. Regular work appraisal should therefore be provided. More importantly they must have an awareness of departmental and organisational changes, which affects their job. Change agents should periodically meet team members to share the progress on changes no matter how small. Critical to this is listening to employees’ feedback and their perception as it is more likely to affect their job satisfaction and work performance.
Improved job satisfaction in the work place will reduce social problems. The creative aspect of achieving satisfaction will reduce if not overcome boredom and monotony in work, physical strain and mental stress. The benefits to an organisation will also include a lower absenteeism rate and lower staff turn-over. These translate into lower losses, less late-coming, fewer grievances and more effective cost control. Satisfied team members are generally more committed to the work place success than those who do not find job satisfaction. A satisfied team member is more likely to perform well cheerfully than other employees.
Job satisfaction is an emotion, a feeling, an attitude and a matter of perception. It arises from the employee’s appraisal of experience at work. It involves likes and dislikes as well as needs and wants which are internal and external to the employee. As an employer or leader if you fail to meet them, there is a high probability you will also not achieve high performance. Creating job satisfaction remains a challenge for many human resources executives and line executives. By having an experienced business partner skilled in people relations can greatly help in meeting this challenge. Achieving high job satisfaction for employees or team members is pre-requisite for becoming a market leader and champion!
(Achal Khanna is Country General Manager, Kelly Services India)