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Only 47% of Americans think their work is fine!

by Driven Organization

Recently, the conference board published the results of their 2012 Job Satisfaction survey. They report that only 47.2% of American workers are satisfied with their jobs. This is an increase from the numbers two years ago of 45%, but still shows that the majority of workers in America are dissatisfied with their jobs. Job Satisfaction has been in a downward trend since it began being measured in the 80s, when it was above 60%. 

But why is job Satisfaction important? Maybe, this is the new state of things, right? We are a bit unsatisfied, a bit satisfied. Well, let's see. These are some of the characteristics observed on those with high Job Satisfaction.

Health. Happily working people must be happier, right? That's right according to a group of researchers who reviewed 485 research studies involving more than a quarter million people. This has implications in terms of reduced health care costs for the company and fewer sick days, but most importantly in the level of happiness of the worker.

Productivity. A happy worker is a productive worker. This is so obvious that barely merits saying anything else. Not only a happy worker has better interactions with coworkers, with management, and with customers, but he or she will stress less and withstand a high level of performance for a longer time without risking burnout. Researchers agree. This study concludes that satisfied worker produce more, and this one concludes that, at the unit level, the effect is quite considerably. 

Innovation. A happy worker comes up with more ideas and of better quality on how to do things better. He will also have more energy to push them and get them implemented in his organization. Will a disenchanted worker be proactively looking for ways to do it better? Most likely not. But if the job gets him out of bed every morning with a smile, he certainly will be looking for ways to make it better at all times, when he is at his desk, in meetings working with others, or even at his breakfast table, eating his morning cereal.

Happiness. We spent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more time at work than at any other activity. When we do a good job, we feel satisfied and happy. When our job is meaningful, we go home excited and proud. When we like our jobs, we work hard and do not get over stressed, even  when work is intense. Researchers agree with us. A three year pan-European study, funded by the European Union and several European academic institutions concluded that "Job satisfaction  is shown to be the most important facet of life satisfaction."

Profits and business results. If a satisfied worker innovates more, produces more, and is happier, will he generate more profits for the organization? Obviously. A community of satisfied workers finds fewer obstacles in order for them to achieve their objectives, not only because they convince everyone around them of their superior product offering, but also because they face fewer self-created obstacles. The numbers can be observed even at the stock market. For example, the stock price of those companies that were in the list "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" grew faster than industry benchmarks, according to this study. Another research shows that employee satisfaction leads to higher customer satisfaction, productivity, and profits, and to lower employee turnover and fewer accidents.

Yes, indeed job satisfaction is quite important. It will make every worker better and the organization better. And the pertinent question now is, how do we have job satisfaction? How do we foster it? We'll discuss this in another Driven Organization article.

Tags: job satisfaction
Published on 30 Oct. 2012


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