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What impacts job satisfaction of nurses the most? Salary? Benefits? Perks? Nope.

by Driven Organization

In a recent study involving 863 RNs working in 282 skilled nursing facilities in New Jersey, it was found that the following variables had the most influence in job satisfaction:

  • Staff RNs’ participation in facility affairs.
  • Supportive manager.
  • Resource adequacy.
  • Ownership status (for profit nursing homes versus non for profit).
Can you explain why?

In reality, these results are not difficult to understand at all. Let's see why.

The first one, "participation in the facility affairs," is to have a voice and a vote, is to have a saying in the direction of the organization, and to live in, what we can call, a democratic organization. It means to make each worker accountable and responsible for the organization. We call it Autonomy and it is fundamental to foster worker engagement and satisfaction.

What does having a "supporting manager" means, the second result  mentioned? It means that the boos trusts me to do the job the best way I can, does not boss me around, helps me learn, and listens to my questions or concerns. This is the opposite of a controlling boss that is checking my job every single minute. This is also comprehended in Autonomy.

"Resource adequacy" refers to having the necessary tools to do the job well. In my experience, the reason why this doesn't happen is not because the organization does not have the necessary funds to furnish workers with the required tools, but because the organization is not listening enough to its workers. Think about the following. In most companies, buyers buy the brooms and mops for the cleaning personnel of the company. Almost never, the cleaning folks get to choose what type of broom they need. Isn't that ridiculous? With the objective of saving a couple of dollars per broom, the buyers choose equipment that affects every second of the cleaning worker's life. Is that really worth it?

When the company invests in the tools workers need, they do the job better, the organization is more successful, there is more funds for even better tools, and a positive reinforcing cycle is formed. This is also in our Autonomy principle. Howard Behar, who was the Starbucks CEO, used to say: "The person who sweeps the floor should choose the broom."

In an Autonomous organization, workers have loosened oversight, flexible hours, responsibility, decision power, and accountability. Why would they do a good job if there is no one checking with them? How come we are not concerned that workers will not slack off? Simple. Because engaged and satisfied workers know that their job is significant to others, that their job impacts people's lives in a positive way. This is why the fourth factor that the RN study mentions is significant. In non-for-profit nursing facilities, there is more of a focus on the actual reason for existence of the organization (e.g. to help elder patients have the best life possible), than in the for-profit nursing facilities. This is not always the case, and there are notable examples, but it is true for the majority of nursing organizations.

Definitely, The RNs know what they are talking about. 

See the study here.

Tags: job satisfaction
Published on 17 Oct. 2012


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