How do you measure job satisfaction?

Earning your daily bread shouldn’t be simply a matter of clocking in and clocking off. Experiencing job satisfaction in your career is the difference between eating a slice of plastic white bread picked up from the corner shop, and sinking your teeth into an artisan loaf baked with skill, love and care. As those intrepid GBBO bakers know, the end product is made all the more satisfying if the process is interesting, engaging, and at times, challenging. 

Attracting and keeping good staff is critical to business success. A sense of achievement, ownership, responsibility and trust are all essential factors to a feeling of job satisfaction. But where does the responsibility for job satisfaction lie – and how do you measure it?

A long engagement

According to HR and Management Consultant at NJD People Consulting, Nicki Doherty, job satisfaction all about people being happy and engaged in their roles and this in turn benefits the organisation. “An engaged workforce will be more productive, creative and enthusiastic about the business’s goals, supporting the organisation to achieve its plans and increase its profits,” she says.

Employee job satisfaction can be measured in several ways, including anonymous employee engagement and pulse surveys (a short and very specific survey tool often used by companies to measure their operating climate and overall performance). However, Nicki says that open communication and understanding what your employees want are where the real information on how satisfied your workforce is feeling is to be found.

“Formal and costly routes aren’t the only way to understand how your staff feels; regular one-to-ones, a culture of feedback and transparency, and building relationships within teams all allow you to measure how engaged and satisfied your staff is.”

Praise be

Praise is also all-important, but for maximum effect it must be specific, and not random. “Recognition of a job well done, especially if the employee goes above the call of duty, is important for increasing job satisfaction,” advises CJ Sohal, founder of unwrapyoursuccess.com. “Use caution - as random praise which isn't specific to what that employee has done will not be well received.”

Understanding the wants and needs of your employee population, and that of the talent that you want to attract to your business, is a vital part of being able to support increased job satisfaction.

Andy Bowness, CEO at Bodireel, says that showing your employees that you care comes from more than the money: "You can ensure your employees feel valued beyond remuneration, and investing in your workforce’s health will result in a happier, healthier workforce."

Good understanding

Being aware of what your staff wants is crucial, and this may have changed from when you were in their shoes. “For example, if your workforce is predominantly graduates in their early 20s you will need to understand what the ‘millennial generation’ wants from work – which appears to be more flexibility and leadership development,” explains Nicki. “Until you understand what your staff actually want you can make the mistake of putting in place engagement strategies that fulfil what you wanted when you were in their roles, and not actually what is needed now.”

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