Human resources are the most important resources in the organization. Can you imagine that if an organization does not have any employee, how does the organization work? In order to ensure an organization can compete to other firms, retain efficient and experienced employees in an organization is very important. Therefore, the main way that can retain the employees is to increase the employees’ satisfaction level in their job.
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However, everyone has their own definition about job satisfaction such as what they wish to gain from their job is different. Therefore, different authors have different opinion toward the meaning of job satisfaction. According Locke (1976), he defines job satisfaction as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences. In simple words, it describes how an individual feel and think about his or her job. Job satisfaction represents the combination of positive and negative feeling when they take part in their daily work. Employees with high job satisfaction experience positive feeling and attitudes when they carry out their works and duties, vice verse.
Moreover, job satisfaction represents what they expect to gain from the job meet or exceed their expectation. Commonly, employees are satisfied when their job provides the things that they value. Values are those things that people consciously and subconsciously want to seek or attain (Locke, 1976). For example, they may wish to get high salary, promotions, comfortable working environment, status and others. If the organization’s employees feel that they are working harder than others but they are receive less rewards, they will have a negative attitudes towards the work. Therefore, an employee will satisfy their job and perform well when his/her organization fulfills their needs.
Importance of Job Satisfaction in the Workplace
No matter what we do, we will always do something better when we do something that we love. If an employee is in a job which he/she does not like or unhappy with the job, he/she will not put in all effort into the job. Therefore, employee job satisfaction is very important in every company. Job satisfaction can also be an indicator of the employees’ feeling about their job and let organization adjust and modify their policy.
There are a lot of reasons why a person work. Some people works for money, quality of live, obtains something we need from work and personal fulfillment. In order to make employees satisfy with their job, the organization should fulfill their needs or expectation from the job. If the job cannot fulfill their basic needs or other expectation, they may resign the job and work for other companies which able to provide them those thighs. This may bring a high rate of staff turnover in that organization. When staff turnover rate is high, the organization needs to spend more money to recruit and train the new employees. On contrary, if employees satisfy about their job, they will carry out their task with a positive attitude. It will also boost up their morale and improve their performance. When the employees performance well, the organization performance and overall profit will be improved. This show that how importance of employee job satisfaction in the workplace.
If an employee dislikes his/her job, it will create a negative job attitude when he/she handles his/her task. In the same time his/her emotion will negatively affect the colleagues work around them. This may bring a lot of problems to the organization and the other employees. For organization, the employees who hold the low job satisfaction can cause the organization decrease their turnover or productivity. The employees with low job satisfaction will no more motive power to achieve goal or sales target that the organization had set up. Higher management or manager should pay attention to the employee with low job satisfaction because they may lack of capable, responsible and even bring other problems to coworker. For other employees, they will be affected by the employee who holds the negative emotion. However, the negative emotion or depression will spread invisibly to other colleagues too. Therefore, people who work around him/her are likely to feel the frustration and may even have to bear the brunt of it from time to time.
According the research conducted by Vanderberg and Lance (1992), they proved that the higher the degree of job satisfaction, the higher the level of employee loyalty. Therefore, an employee with low job satisfaction may lack of loyalty to his/her company. It will emerge a lot of bad issue in that organization. For example, the employee may betray the organization by leak out some important information or commercial secret to other competitor. In addition, an employee who lack of loyalty also will purposely spread rumors in or outside the organization. This kind of rumors may affect company image and other employees. Employees and outsider will be suspicious or panic about whether the rumor reliable or not. This may affect them lose confidence to the organization. For example, employees will work involuntarily and outsider will sell the share they own from that company. It can be show that how importance of job satisfaction must be involved in employee.
Besides that, the employee job satisfaction is important in every organization because it will reduce the employee complaint, grievances and absenteeism. When an employee has high job satisfaction, he/she will not complaint about their task and put more effort in their task. Employees will also willing to work overtime when they are asked to finish the task. Moreover, they will become proactive when they come to work and the unpunctual situation will be decreased. Due to their high attendance rate, the organization productivity rate will be increased significantly. When employees have less compliant and absenteeism, company goal or sales target can be achieved in a short time. It will also create a good company image and reputation in society indirectly.
Factors that Affect Employee Job Satisfaction
Nowadays, there are numerous reasons cause employees dissatisfy with their present job. Therefore, people change their jobs frequently become a common sight in today’s world. Employees with low job satisfaction can negatively affect an organization like perform poorly and possess negative attitudes when doing their work. These may bring a lot of harm to the organization and some of the employees may resign their jobs for finding better opportunities. Therefore, employees’ satisfaction is a very important aspect in management planning. In order to enhance employees job satisfaction, the management should know what their employees needs.
In recent year, the world economy is instability and recession. There is a lot of news show that some of the companies are decreasing the amount of staff. According to the research of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2011, employees think that job security is the most important aspect to their job satisfaction. As the economy still unstable, employees will feel that their position may be at risk and they can be replaced by others easily. This may lower down employees’ morale and they may not put in all effort in that company because the company cannot provide any job security to them. Therefore, the higher management should talk honestly to their employees if there are any threats of cutbacks or redundancies so that everyone has all of the information that they need and fully understands the situation.
Workload and Opportunities to Use Abilities
The second cause of employees unsatisfied in organization is they do not have chance to play his ability and superior allocate heavy workload. Workload can be divided into quantitative (too much work) or qualitative (work is too complex). Employee who deals with a greater quantity workload and deadlines that is impossible to reach may cause them cannot perform their role effectively. However, employee who deal with complex work that mean the employee do not know the requirements of the work and lack of information regarding what he/she need to be done. When their workloads become more heavy or complex, it may cause the employee become more stress and unsatisfied to the job arrangement. Therefore, manager must ensure that works are distributed equally to each subordinate. Normally, employees will feel good about their job when they use their knowledge and abilities contribute to the organization. Manager also need to give suitable work to the worker who able to handle the work and give enough time to let then complete their work.
Relationship and Communication between Manager and Subordinates
The management team plays an important role within an organization. Managers are responsible for leading employees, planning, organizing and controlling within the organization. Managers with poor leadership skills will cause employees perform poorly in the workplace. Employees will dissatisfy when they lead by a manager who behave in a poor way and without any capability. Out of that, managers who treat their employees unfair will lead employees dissatisfy to the organization. For example, employee who done well in his job does not get the same treatment compare with other employee who kiss up to the manager. To overcome this problem, higher management should keep an eye on all staffs to ensure their staffs have equal treatment. All the directors and managers must set a good example and provide support or help to their employees. Moreover, the effective communication from managers can provide a clear direction to the employees. The managers should also learn to listen to their employees’ suggestion and give them a proper reaction. This is because the employees today care about whether their suggestions or opinions are concerned by manager.
According to the research from SHRM (2011), pay is considered as one of the top five factors in job satisfaction. Pay satisfaction refer to employees’ feeling about their pay, including whether it is as much as they deserve, secure and adequate for both expenses and luxury items (Smith, 1969). Therefore, the company which can provide their employees a reasonable pay that match up with other competitors may retain their employees and vice versa. Out of that, the growth of the pay and other variable pay may affect the level of employee job satisfaction. After an employee work in a company a few years, he/she will expect getting a raise in salary. If the company cannot fulfill their expectation, they will dissatisfy their salary and affect their performance become less efficiency. In order to fulfill their expectation, the company may provide them monetary or non-monetary rewards for great ideas and suggestions. These variable pay may motivate them put more effort in their job. Therefore, when their company has high net profit they will gain their expectation in the same time.
The job environment can have a major effect on job attitudes and reaction. Job environment includes physical surrounding such as lighting, temperature, ventilation, noise, hygiene and office arrangement. Employees will feel poor working condition if they work under a place which provides them inadequate lighting, loud noise, dirty working place or uncomfortable temperatures. If the working conditions are unpleasant, employees may be unhappy and even trigger their negative work performance. As a suggestion, employer can provide a spacious working area with adequate lighting and comfortable workplace to increase employees’ level of job satisfaction. Employee will want to work with the organization which provides a comfortable workplace and encouraging environment.
Respect from Co-Workers
In today’s workplaces, it is impossible to finish a project on your own without collaborating with others. Therefore, employees seek to be treated with respect by those people they work with. If the employee works in a hostile environment (such as rude or unpleasant coworkers), it usually will lower his/her job satisfaction. Employee wills feel that since others do not respect him/her, why he/she needs to cooperate with them? If the employees can respect each other or privities with each other, the work can be done with more efficiently. Everyone born in this world has their own dignity. Therefore, every employee must be respected and treated with dignity. Any organization that fails to do this will always lose good employees.
Career advancement opportunities
Career advancement opportunity is one of the factors that will influence employees’ job satisfaction. The employee will more satisfy with the current job when there is a clear path to move up higher position. However, advancement can also mean that the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge. These new skills and knowledge will lead them get more chance in promotion. Employee will also excel in their fields when the organization provides growth opportunities. Moreover, the expectation to move up to higher position may cause them put their best effort in their work. Therefore, manager can map out a path show them what new skills they need to accomplish in order to get promotion.
Existing Strategies used by Industries to Ensure Job Satisfaction
As we mention above, employees’ job satisfaction are extremely important in an organization. In order to let employees feel more satisfied with their job, there are numerous theories and strategies are used by the organizations to motivate their employees. However, different employees in different industry will have different needs and expectation. If the employees’ needs are not met, they will become dissatisfied and vice versa. Therefore, different industry will use their own specific ways and strategies to fulfill their employees’ needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and ERG Needs Theory
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be divided into five section and each of the section represent every person needs. The five needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. Physiological needs include food, drink shelter, sexual and other physical needs. Safety needs involve the security and protection from physical and emotional harm. Social needs concern about the person’s affection, belongingness, acceptance and friendship. Esteem needs concern in personal self-respect, achievement, autonomy, status and attention. Lastly, self-actualization needs involve the person’s desire to become what he/she is capable of becoming (Robbins et al., 2003). Maslow thinks that once the employees’ need is fully satisfied, the need will not be able to motivate them anymore. Therefore, the next need will be activated and it will usually move from lower hierarchy to upper hierarchy.
ERG need theory is categorized into three sections which are existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs. Existence needs include all the basic human physical needs and material desires. Relatedness needs involve the desire in the social and interpersonal relationships. Growth needs concern the need for personal growth and development. From the figures below show the similarity of both theories.
ERG Needs Theory
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs TheoryUntitled2.png
From the figure above, the sections that are linked to both figure show that the framework of these two theories are same. However, Clayton Alderfer categories the original five needs become three needs. Out of that, he thinks that employees can hold different needs in the hierarchy and do not start from the bottom. He also illustrate that employees may lower down their needs when they frustrate in higher level needs. On the contrary, they will seek for higher needs when lower level needs are satisfied.
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However, ERG needs theory is commonly used by the organization rather than Maslow hierarchy of need theory. Most of the organizations believe that their employees may move around the hierarchy to meet their need and hold both needs in the same time. For example, they wish to have social needs and they may hungry in the same time. The organization realizes that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is not suitable for the management today. As the employees may have different needs in the same time, the theory of Maslow stated that the needs should move from lower hierarchy to upper hierarchy is not suitable to use in management today.
If a manager wants to motivate their employees by using Maslow’s hierarchy or ERG needs theory, the manager should understand the difference among each employee and what they need from work. The manager can understand their employees’ needs through observation, communication and attitudes survey. After have a good understanding to the employees, it is easier to them place their employees on different level of hierarchy. The manager can attempt to change their management practice to meet employees’ needs satisfaction.
Job Characteristic Model
In order to increase employees’ job satisfaction, manager can design different tasks to them. The term job design refers to the way tasks are combined to form a complete job. When designing the jobs, managers should consider the demand of the changing environment, organization’s technology, skills and abilities and the preference of the employees. The employees will be motivated when job are designed base on these concept. When they are motivated, they will satisfy their current job.
The job characteristic model (JCM) does offer the framework that included five job characteristics which are skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. Skill variety means that the employee uses a number of different skills while performing work. Task identity is the employee involves in all tasks and completes the whole task from the beginning to the end. Task significance is the degree to which a job has a substantial impact on the organization and shareholders. Autonomy is the degree to which a job provides employees have freedom to schedule the tasks and carry it out. Lastly, feedback is the information about the how well the employees’ performance and manager will give direct and clear to each employee (Robbins et al., 2003).
These five characteristic will influence employees’ motivation, satisfaction and performance. JCM suggest that intrinsic rewards are obtained when an employee learn knowledge of results through feedback, experience responsibility through autonomy of work and experience meaningful through skill variety, task identify and task significance. The more the characteristics are used in a job, the greater the employees’ motivation, performance, satisfaction and lower employees’ absenteeism and resignation.
There are a few number of strategies can be used to improve the employees’ satisfaction based on the JCM. Firstly, the manager can combine the fragmented tasks to form a larger module of work (job enlargement). Combine tasks may increase the tasks and the tasks will become less exciting. However, it may increase the skill variety and task identity. The manager can also expand jobs vertically (job enrichment). This will give employees more responsibilities and controls about their job and increase their autonomy. That means the employees are authorized more power and responsibility to assume some manager’s tasks. Lastly, the managers can carry out open feedback channels in the organization. The employees should get the feedback directly when they do their work. As they get the feedback directly, they can know how well they are performing and whether they need to improve.
Work-life Balance Practice
Work-life balance is defined as a state of equilibrium in which the demands of both a person’s job and personal life are equal (Lockwood, 2003). This practice is important because a healthy balance between work and employees’ private lifestyle may benefit both organization and employees in the long term. Work life and personal life are interconnected and interdependent. It means that work life like spending more time in office, clients and heavy workload may affect personal life. On the other hand, personal life likes family issue, financial problem and other problems may lead absenteeism, more stress and cannot pay attention in work. When they cannot handle the burden and responsibility either from work or personal life, they will become incompatible and start to neglect the other.
In order to prevent employee neglect their work, the organization must make sure their employees make their life balance and do not bring their personal emotion to the workplace. The organization can provide
Way to Measure Job Satisfaction
As the employee turnover is expensive and the organization will lose the good employees, the managers should make sure their employees have high level of job satisfaction to reduce the employee turnover rate. Before the managers change the organization practice, the managers should have a good understanding about their employees’ level of job satisfaction. In order to measure employees’ level of job satisfaction, there are several existing ways to measure it. For example, by using Employee Satisfaction Index, Job Descriptive Index (JDI) and Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) to examine their job satisfaction.
ESI use to measure how employees really feel about management company policies, procedures, benefits, working condition and others. MSQ use to measure satisfaction with changes for advancement, praise for doing a good job, feeling of accomplishment and others. JDI measure the job satisfaction in five facets which are the work itself, quality of supervision, relationships with co-workers, promotion opportunities and pay (Schermerhorn et al., 2008). The manager can measure, observe and analysis their satisfaction through meeting, interview, questionnaire and suggestion box. The organization can also empower outside agency carry out the test.
Recommendation of strategies to enhance job satisfaction
From the previous essay, we know that employees’ job satisfaction act as an importance factor in all organization. As we mention above, there are a lot of existing theories, strategies and techniques that used by organization to ensure their employees’ job satisfaction. However, these methods cannot be used by every industry. The difference working environment and nature will influence the organization use their own way to motivate their employees.
In the construction industry, the manager can motivate their construction workers by using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The people who work in the construction site are the people who are less educated. Therefore, they will not have too much planning about their future. They will only seek for the physiological needs, safety needs and social needs. As they do not have too much need in their life, their needs will follow the sequence of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. The physiological needs that they wish to gain from the job such as enough foods, a shelter to live and other essential things that need for survive. As the physiological needs have been fulfilled, the next need they will seek for the safety need. For example, they will ensure their personal safety in construction site. In order to satisfy them, the organization can provide them accident insurance to protect their safety and benefit. The social needs will be activated when the safety needs are fulfilled. The worker will start to make friend with other workers and hold a good relationship with their supervisor. However, they may or may not seek for the esteem needs and self-actualization needs. This is because not every workers wish to get for a higher status or growth. The manager can try to promote some workers become supervisor and provide them some training to fulfill these two needs.
Nowadays, most of the industries, organizations and large enterprises apply ERG needs theory to motivate their employees and make them satisfy with their job. Unlike Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, ERG needs theory is more flexible and suitable for today’s organization. People today may have one or more needs in the same time. Different people may also hold different order of needs. In order to fulfill these needs in the same time the manager should recognize the employees have multiple needs simultaneously.
Job characteristic model is one of the methods that can be used by several industries such as production industry, restaurant industry, hospitality industry and nurse industry. These few industries have a same common point which are the working details are similar. They will keep on repeating the same tasks daily and their operating post remain unchanged. When the times go on, they will feel bored and tedious in their job. They will slowly dissatisfy their job, resign the job and wish to get into other job.
In order to solve these problems, manager can combine some fragmented tasks and enlarge their work. When they have more tasks to do, they will use more skills to complete all their tasks. As the skill variety and task identity increase, they will pay more effort in their job and the less exciting job will become more interesting. Out of that, when they have more understanding and knowledge in their job, they will make less error in their job. Besides that, manager can increase the depth of the job (job enrichment) to add more variety challenge to an employee’s daily work and give his/her more responsibility and power to finish those tasks. That means the employee has more autonomy in his/her job. When they have more responsibilities, they will put in more effort to complete their job. These methods may improve their performance, motivation and satisfaction in the same time. However, manager should provide some aid or give some feedback when they are performing in their job. This may help them improve their performance immediately when the employees are going to make something wrong. The manager can also praise their employees when they do well in their job. They will feel they are motivated by the manager and feel happy to continue their tasks.
In short, job satisfaction is an important aspect that helps organization improves their overall performance and productivity. Besides that, the employee turnover rate may have a dramatically decrease since the employees satisfy with their current job. The organization can also prevent wasting money in recruiting and training new employees. An employee with high level of job satisfaction may perform well and put in more effort in his/her job. However, the employees with low level of job satisfaction may bring a lot of effect to the organization. For example, the employees may have negative attitude, betray their organization and increase complaint and absenteeism. These negative effects may cause the company lose image and reduce their performance and productivity.
There are a lot of factors that influence employee job satisfaction. When the employees are affected by these factors, they will dissatisfy their current job, have poor performance and even retain the job. According the research of SHRM, the main five reasons are job insecurity, workload and opportunities to use abilities, relationship between manager and subordinates, pay and communication between manager and subordinates. These factors are usually effect employees have low level of job satisfaction toward the organization. The other factors like working condition, respect from co-worker and career advancement opportunities may also influence a minor part of employees. Manager and higher management should pay more attention in these areas in order to retain their employees.
The strategies that can be used in industries to ensure job satisfaction are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, ERG needs theory and job characteristic model. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory can be used in construction industry to fulfill their needs and make their employee more satisfy with their job. This is because they are less educated and no further plan for their future. However, most of the industries are using ERG needs theory to satisfy their employees. ERG needs theory is more flexible and it can fulfill one or more employees’ needs in the same time. Lastly, job characteristic model can be used in production industry, restaurant industry, hospitality industry and nurse industry to improve employees’ job satisfaction. As their job are repeating and tedious, redesigns their job to increase their level of job satisfaction.
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