Job satisfaction is one of the most researched concepts in the field of organizational behaviour and human resource management (Ćulibrk, Delić, Mitrović & Ćulibrk 2018). The reason for the vast interest in job satisfaction is that employees’ attitudes, thoughts, and feelings toward their work affects the way they behave and participate at the workplace (Giles, Parker, Mitchell & Conway 2017). Therefore, employee job satisfaction has a considerable influence on employee performance.
Satisfied employees tend to be more productive, motivated, and more engaged in organizational activities. Studies have shown that employee job satisfaction has a large impact on motivation, which in turn affects productivity and organisational performance (Aziri 2011). Additionally, employees who are committed to the organisation are less likely to leave their job (Ćulibrk et al. 2018). Thus, in order to retain talented employees, it is important for contemporary organizations to build a workplace where people feel satisfied and are committed to the organisation (Bayona, Caballer & Peiró 2020).
Scholars have yet to agree on the definition of job satisfaction. However, job satisfaction is often associated with how employees feel about different aspects of their work. Additionally, feelings regarding one’s work can either be positive or negative, i.e. job satisfaction or job dissatisfaction (Cavanagh, Kraiger & Henry 2020).
Job satisfaction refers to how employees feel with regards to their work, or certain aspects of their work, which is a result of their experiences with their job (Bogicevic-Milikic & Cuckovic 2019; Truxillo, Cadiz, Rineer, Zaniboni & Fraccaroli 2012). Additionally, job satisfaction is often defined as a positive feeling resulting from one’s work (Ćulibrk et al. 2018). Furthermore, job satisfaction refers to the attitudes, feelings, and beliefs the employee has about their job (Aziri 2011). The evidence shows that job satisfaction results from the everyday interactions, behaviours, and events that employees experience at work (Judge, Weiss, Kammeyer-Mueller & Hulin 2017). However, employee job satisfaction is related to several different elements, such as personality, personal characteristics, values, work characteristics, as well as the work context (Bogicevic-Milikic & Cuckovic 2019).
Job satisfaction does not only impact employee productivity, but also affects their well-being, motivation, performance, and stress (Grant & Parker 2009). Employees spend a considerable amount of time at the workplace, and therefore organisations significantly influence employee job satisfaction (Cavanagh et al. 2020). Aspects such as social support, autonomy, feedback from others, and work conditions are related to employee job satisfaction (Bargsted, Ramírez-Vielma & Yeves 2019; Humphrey, Nahrgang & Morgeson 2007). Additionally, differences in employee job satisfaction between different departments and teams may indicate different strengths and weaknesses within the organisation. Therefore, job satisfaction also reflects how effectively an organisation is functioning (Cavanagh et al. 2020).
Factors Impacting Job Satisfaction
The way the work is designed is one factor which has an effect on job satisfaction among the employees. Work design refers to how work tasks, responsibilities, and relationships are defined and structured within an organisation (Grant & Parker 2009). Work design is important for the employee, as it impacts their health, the meaningfulness of their work, as well as their professional and personal development (Parker 2014). Therefore, having well-designed jobs is important for organisational performance. Some of the work characteristics which have shown to be related to job satisfaction, are autonomy, social support, feedback, and work conditions.
Autonomy is one of the work characteristics which has shown to have a significant impact on job satisfaction. Employees with higher independence and freedom to decide on how to schedule their work and how to perform their work, tend to also have higher levels of job satisfaction (Bargsted et al. 2019).
Additionally, studies have shown that social support, including friendships at work, getting to know new people, and care for employee well-being at the workplace, positively relate to job satisfaction (Bargsted et al. 2019). The social aspects of work are expected to influence job satisfaction as it provides an opportunity for employees to learn from and interact with others in the organisation (Humphrey et al. 2007). Friendships at the workplace are an important factor as they clearly impact employee job satisfaction. Changes in the work life as well as in the social environment are related to more significant shifts in job satisfaction. However, other factors such as job tenure or pay are considered less important for job satisfaction. (Kaplan, Winslow & Luchman 2020.)
Feedback is also considered an important factor related to job satisfaction. Employees who receive increased feedback from supervisors and colleagues have shown higher levels of job satisfaction. Additionally, research has found that professional recognition is an important aspect of job satisfaction (Mharapara, Staniland, Stadler, Clemons & Dixon 2021).
Work conditions refer to aspects such as appealing workspace, temperature, noise level, cleanliness, and comfort. Research shows a positive relationship between work conditions and job satisfaction among employees, meaning that favourable work conditions tend to result in higher levels of job satisfaction (Bargsted et al. 2019; Roy, van der Weijden & de Vries 2017). Contrarily, unpleasant work conditions are often related to lower levels of job satisfaction (Roy et al. 2017). Research has found that workplace design impacts various individual outcomes, e.g., job satisfaction, communication, performance, and well-being (Kegel 2017). Therefore, the contextual aspects of work are important to consider when discussing the job satisfaction.
As several aspects of work design have shown to have a relationship with job satisfaction, it is important that organisations focus on developing these aspects in order to enhance job satisfaction among their employees.
Practical Implications for Increasing Job Satisfaction in Organisations
A satisfied workforce is one of the factors that separate successful organizations from the rest (Ćulibrk et al. 2018). Therefore, it is important that organisations focus on increasing job satisfaction among their employees. A way to increase job satisfaction among employees is through work design. Well-designed jobs can significantly affect job satisfaction among employees as well as their performance at work (Parker, Van den Broeck & Holman 2017). It is important to acknowledge that also smaller changes in work design may have a considerable affect on job satisfaction (Johns 2010).
The following aspects have been found to impact job satisfaction (Masuda, Poelmans, Allen, Spector, Lapierre, Cooper, Abarca, Brough, Ferreiro & Fraile 2012; McNall, Masuda & Nicklin 2010; Whitman, Van Rooy & Viswesvaran 2010; Raziq & Maulabakhsh 2015) and should, among others, be considered when developing work design:
- Flexible work arrangements
- Flexibility in deciding how to perform work tasks
- Possibilities to interact with others at the workplace
- Quality on interpersonal relationships at the workplace
- Feedback and support from supervisors
- Feedback and support from colleagues
- Appealing workspaces
As several different work-related factors may impact job satisfaction, it is important that organisations prioritise the design of interesting jobs, not only regarding the tasks themselves, but also with focus on the social aspects of work and the work conditions.
Due to social interactions with others, employees may be affected by the collective job satisfaction in their teams and at the workplace. Therefore, individual job satisfaction can influence the job satisfaction of other employees. Thus, it is important that organisations focus on increasing individual job satisfaction in order to enhance the collective job satisfaction and productivity within the organisation. Higher collective job satisfaction results in a work environment that supports employee cooperation, friendly interactions, and acceptance of organisational goals (Whitman et al. 2010).
Job satisfaction is not only important for employee well-being at the workplace, but also for the organisation. One of the key factors that separates successful companies are their motivated and satisfied employees (Ćulibrk et al. 2018). Understanding which factors impact employee job satisfaction provides important information for organisations regarding motivation and retention of workforce as well as for recruiting activities (Wegman, Hoffman, Carter, Twenge & Guenole 2018). Additionally, job satisfaction is related to employee well-being. In conclusion, it is important to have a satisfied workforce as satisfied employees are more motivated and productive, which impacts organisational performance and leads to a more competitive organisation.
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