Five percent of people in the United States really don’t enjoy their jobs according to a survey by The Economist and YouGov. While 5 percent sounds like an insignificant number, that translates to roughly 16.29 million people. Add that to the other 7 percent from the same survey that are simply unhappy with their jobs, and you come to the realization that there are a lot of people in this country who find themselves dissatisfied with their current occupation.
So, why does it matter? When employees enjoy their job and are actively engaged, their work sees a performance boost. Not sure what your employees’ current job satisfaction is? The good news is, there are ways to bolster that happiness and reap the benefits.
Here’s why job satisfaction is so important:
1. Happy employees produce better work
When people are satisfied with the work they do, they’re actively engaged with their work, leading them to be more productive and intentional with their time. Creating happy and fulfilled employees can stem from interesting work, a positive office environment, strong team relationships or a passion for their company’s product or cause. For example, working at Camp Corral and knowing that I’m helping the children of wounded, injured, ill or fallen military heroes gives me an incredible amount of satisfaction, inspiring me to work even harder. Giving employees that same sense of gratification improves the work they do for your organization and makes everyone more successful.
2. Employees will feel better
Your employees will be in a better physical and mental condition if they are content with their work because their stress will be lower. Creating an environment where your employees are satisfied with the work they do each day allows them to worry less. Happy employees are also more likely to be engaged and stay engaged with their work. Plus, maintaining lower levels of stress can help fight off illness and colds, allowing employees to be in the office working to their highest potential more often and use their time off for more enjoyable pursuits.
3. Interactions will be more positive
The way employees feel about their jobs not only dictates their productivity, but influences their personal life. A stressed out, unhappy employee is more likely to express their unhappiness to those around them, hurting your organization’s professional reputation. Employees who feel that their work/life balance is off are also less engaged with their work and often begin to look for validation elsewhere. As a leader, you want to make your workplace an environment that encourages positivity in the members of your organization.
But how does one help employees achieve satisfaction? Here are some tips:
1. Guide them to the worth in the work
Does your employees’ work make a difference? Ideally, they should always answer yes. If they find their work to be meaningful, it creates purpose. No one wants to feel like they go to work to only do menial tasks – that reduces motivation. The drive to provide good work comes from understanding the end goal and purpose behind the tasks. If that’s missing, you need to work with your employees on understanding why their work matters to the big picture.
2. Encourage good thoughts
It might sound silly, but a positive attitude can go a long way towards improving the quality of your employees’ work. Thinking negative thoughts prolongs the cycle of pessimism, putting employees into a bad headspace.
There are a couple of ways to combat the slippery slope of negativity within the office. First, is understanding the value of their work to the organization. Next, create a solid office culture. Develop an environment where employees feel inspired and welcome with enough structure to maintain productivity. Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking the time to enjoy the occasional team lunch or playing music in common spaces. Lastly, maintain an open-door policy. Encourage your employees to come to you when they need to express their thoughts, ideas or concerns. Take the time to provide them with the encouragement and feedback they need.
3. Stick to your important beliefs
What does your organization believe in? What guides your work and governs your behavior? When you’ve identified those ideals, stand by them. As a leader, you want to set an example for your organization and live by the ideals your company encourages in your employees. At Camp Corral, for example, we strongly believe in the importance of resilience. It is something that we emphasize with our campers and try to nurture through our programming, and we strive to exemplify it in our day-to-day work as an organization.
4. Promote work-life balance
Encourage your employees to use their personal time outside of work to pursue a hobby. It gives them purpose and drive outside of work, encouraging work/life balance. It also means they’re taking the time to willingly participate in something they enjoy. When employees live well-rounded lives outside the office, it can increase their overall happiness, improve productivity and help reduce turnover. To accomplish this, equip employees with the resources they need to be successful outside of the office, even if it means being flexible with their work hours. By giving your employees the chance to have full lives outside the office they become better employees during the work day.
Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” The benefits of prioritizing the professional happiness of your employees extend beyond the four walls of your office and can make your organization more successful as a whole. While finding that satisfaction can be difficult and may not happen immediately, it is an investment worth your, and your employees’, time.