Job satisfaction – How to measure ‘happiness’


It’s ideal to keep your staff happy – because it’s good for business.

Are your staff happy?  You don’t care! You should care. Happy staff put in the extra time, the extra effort, and go that extra mile. Happy employees work harder – and are more productive, therefore more profitable than unhappy staff. That’s the theory.  And it’s been proven time and time again.

Job satisfaction is a measure of how satisfied, or happy one is with their job.

How do you know if your workforce is satisfied with their job or not?

‘Good morning Bob. Are you happy working here?’  Despite good intentions – it could be seen to be intimidating to be asked by the boss, face to face, if you like your job.  They will feel compelled to say yes – even if it’s not true – to keep their job.

Assuming people are happy because they haven’t quit yet is not ideal.  This is a bottom of the barrel marker.  It’s not good for business to be staffed by people who are putting in just enough effort to keep their jobs, because they don’t care, aren’t happy, and don’t want to be there.  You should be asking yourself if people are working to the best of their ability, being the most productive they can be, and giving you and the company their A game, every day.

Happy staff are good for business.

What affects job satisfaction?

Some aspects of work that can have a great influence on job satisfaction is:

  1. job design: where rotating jobs, enriching jobs, enlarging or re-designing a job can have a very positive affect on job satisfaction. For example: Joe packs boxes  for 8 hours a day, and Max shrink wraps and forklifts pallets of boxes 8 hours a day.  The monotony of the same task can be alleviated by splitting the jobs between 2 people so each one drives the forklift for half a day each.  Or time sharing an office job between 2 people with young children.
  2. management styles: collaborative, inclusive and supportive managers are generally well regarded by the staff they manage – as opposed to dictators or tyrants.
  3. corporate culture: Is your workplace fun, supportive, demanding, full of bullies, filled with happy staff?
  4. employee involvement: Everyone wants to belong, and to contribute. The involvement, or level of isolation a person feels, directly relates to how valued they feel at work.
  5. empowerment: Not power, empowerment. It’s the ability to affect change.  If an employee feels powerless, or a victim of the system, a cog in the wheel, they are more likely to be unhappy, than if they are heard in the workplace and feel empowered to affect change.
  6. autonomous work position: Being able to make your own decisions, about work specific aspects of your job such as:  when you start, how you are going to complete a task, what to prioritise  are powerful motivators.  Being the master of your own universe is much more satisfying than being ordered around.

How do I measure job satisfaction?

Anonymous Surveys are a great way to measure job satisfaction – if they are anonymous, well written and not skewed to predict a preconceived outcome.  But it’s a waste of time if you are not prepared to take on board the reality of the feedback.

Surveys usually cover:  pay, promotions and promotion opportunities, coworkers, supervision, and the work itself.   You can pay an expert to administer an ACER test,  or use the one we have supplied below, or make one up based on the specific areas of your business you want to know more about.

Just keep in mind, you are looking for overall satisfaction levels, and common trends shared by the majority. You should not try to address every individual item.  Keep it general.

Need some thing to get you started?

 Download our Job Satisfaction Survey Template and use it as a guide to measure satisfaction in your business.
A happy workplace s a productive workplace. Good luck!

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