Career counseling experts advise their clients on how to achieve job satisfaction. However, especially during difficult economic times, many people work merely to collect a paycheck, pouring their emotional investment into hobbies, family and other leisure activities. Nonetheless, obtaining job satisfaction remains a priority for many workers even in a tight labor market, and it includes several aspects besides money.
The definition of job satisfaction is how much workers like or dislike their jobs. Job satisfaction measurements consider how workers feel about different aspects of the position as well as the satisfaction workers hold toward their overall positions. Traditional job satisfaction measurements have included compensation, work conditions, job duties and supervision. Areas where job satisfaction levels are especially low provide insight for supervisors and human resources departments into areas meriting further attention as possible reasons for poor employee performance or high turnover rates.
Compensation and Benefits
Measuring job satisfaction for compensation and benefits includes the obvious areas of salary and insurance. Other aspects of measuring this area of job satisfaction include paid vacation and sick days, frequency and level of pay raises and employer-provided contributions to retirement funds. Worker satisfaction tends to rise with higher pay and more generous benefits. Workers also measure satisfaction by making relative comparisons of their compensation in relationship to that of their colleagues.
Duties, Authority and Autonomy
Another attribute of job satisfaction concerns the work itself: the tasks involved with performing the day-to-day duties of the job. Related to this attribute of job satisfaction is the amount of autonomy employees are allowed to exercise over their own work. Authority as an attribute of job satisfaction relates to direct supervision of other workers as well as the ability to distribute and delegate tasks to other workers within a division or department.
The overall company climate, including camaraderie with fellow workers, plays a significant role in determining job satisfaction. Many workers spend as much or more time with their professional colleagues as they do with their own spouses, partners or offspring. In especially collegial work environments, the workers may view one another as a second family. A company atmosphere that encourages creativity, innovation and initiative among workers also contributes to high levels of job satisfaction. On the other hand, frequent turnover, especially through layoffs, is a strong negative job satisfaction attribute.
Present Results and Future Prospects
Opportunities for promotion and advancement also figure prominently among job satisfaction attributes. Workers also associate job satisfaction with receiving adequate training for present jobs as well as the availability gain new skills, either to enhance their present positions or to qualify for promotions. In addition, workers draw job satisfaction from seeing tangible results from their efforts, especially when a clear connection exists between their jobs and a major mission or goal of the company.