Job Satisfaction – Why Leaders Should Care

               As leaders, we are always looking to inspire and motivate our teams. We hope to get the most productivity and creativity out of each individual and the group as a whole. The question then is what role does job satisfaction play in the equation?  The answer is a lot!  First of all, we have to define what job satisfaction means.  According to Stephen Robbins and Timothy Judge who wrote Essentials of Organizational Behavior, job satisfaction is “a positive feeling about a job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics.”  What does that mean?  It means that a job is more than its processes like paperwork or customer service.  Jobs mean adhering to company policies, working well with other team members and supervisors, achieving goals and maybe accepting some aspects that are undesirable like shift hours.

                Robbins and Judge lay out six different areas where job satisfaction has a direct impact. These are:

  •   Job Performance – Obviously people who are happy with their job will do their work better and more productively.
  •  OCB (Organizational Citizenship Behavior) – Positive job experiences lead to positive attitudes in and outside of work regarding the organization which leads to more cooperative and collaborative performance.
  • Customer Satisfaction – Most employees interact with customers, both internal and external, which means the better people feel about their job, the more that positive attitude will be projected to the customer. Employees will also tend to work harder to please the customer in order to uphold the standards and reputation of the organization.
  • Absenteeism – People who don’t like their work tend to try to avoid going, which puts a larger strain on the rest of the team; conversely, people who are satisfied with their jobs tend to enjoy the work and coming to work each day.
  • Turnover – If people are dissatisfied with their work, they will look elsewhere for employment which costs the company money to hire and train a replacement as well as the lost corporate knowledge
  • Workplace Deviance – Not everyone who is unhappy leaves the job. He or she may stay on but make life difficult for everyone else which creates an unfriendly and potentially hostile work environment for others.

             Each one of these factors can have a high impact on productivity and overall cost to the organization.  Leaders have to be aware that job satisfaction plays a huge part in the success of any team or business.  While there are different tactics to apply specifically for the areas listed, the underlying solution is to identify the root cause of the dissatisfaction by the employee.  Why is he or she unhappy?  What is causing his or her antagonistic behavior or negative attitude?  The decision after that is if the leader has any authority or control over the issue at hand. It is worth the effort to save an existing employee if the return in productivity is at least equal, but hopefully greater than before.  However, leaders have to keep in mind that one bad apple can spoil the bunch, and when it comes to business, we don’t need bad apples.  

-Lori Buresh

CEO, The Professional Development Team



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