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Job satisfaction: building a workplace employees love

By Gabe Scorgie

9 min read

Job satisfaction: building a workplace employees love
Image by Maya Ramadhina

Job satisfaction is a whole lot more than working at a job you like, love, or just don’t hate. It’s far more complex than that, taking into account a person’s overall attitude and feelings about their work.

Job satisfaction is influenced by several factors, including the nature of the work, work environment, relationships with colleagues and supervisors, compensation, opportunities for career advancement, and much more.

In terms of feelings, job satisfaction is often associated with positive feelings, a sense of achievement, and a greater likelihood that someone is engaged and productive when it comes to their work. On the flip side, someone with low job satisfaction could have feelings of frustration, stress, and disengagement, all of which will eventually have negative effects on the individual and on the organization.

With all that in mind, job satisfaction plays a critical role in both personal and professional life and can have an impact on multiple levels. To name a few, satisfaction — or lack thereof — goes hand-in-hand with psychological well-being, physical health, work-life balance, motivation and performance, and career longevity.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the impact of job satisfaction.

Factors affecting job satisfaction

In his new book, Song of Significance, Seth Godin states, "The most important thing you can do for your employees is to help them find their own significance." It’s not always about the job itself — how much someone is paid or the amount of work they have to do. Job satisfaction is about their sense of purpose. When leaders help employees find their own significance, they create a workplace where people are more likely to thrive.

Godin also states, “When you stop managing people and start enrolling them in something bigger than themselves, you'll find that they come to work for the sake of the work itself." 

Okay, so what does that mean? It emphasizes the importance of creating a workplace where employees feel connected to something meaningful. When they feel like they’re part of a mission that matters, they’re more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their work.

Let’s discuss some other factors. 

Bring your people together

Work that matters 

When employees feel that their work has a positive impact — and is meaningful — it can have the following influences:

  • Sense of purpose: Work that matters gives employees a sense of purpose. When they believe that their efforts contribute to a greater good or to the well-being of others, it can be highly motivating and fulfilling.
  • Job engagement: Employees who find their work meaningful are more likely to become fully engaged in their tasks. They’re enthusiastic about their work and will typically invest more effort, leading to increased job satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

Opportunities for career growth and development

Employees who have the chance to advance in their careers and continually develop their skills and knowledge tend to experience higher levels of job satisfaction. This can have the following impact:

  • Increased motivation: Employees are motivated to excel in their current roles when they see a clear path for career advancement within the organization. This is a strong incentive for employees to perform at their best.
  • Increased job security: When provided with opportunities for career growth, employees feel more secure in their positions. They’re less likely to feel stuck in their current positions, which can reduce anxiety and job dissatisfaction. 

Relationship with colleagues and superiors

The quality of the relationship an employee has with their colleagues and superiors can significantly impact job satisfaction. Positive interactions and effective communication can contribute to a more satisfying work experience, influencing their satisfaction in these areas:

  • Support and collaboration: Positive relationships will foster a supportive and collaborative work environment. Employees who feel that they can rely on their peers and supervisors when they need help and assistance deal with reduced stress and increased job satisfaction.
  • Teamwork and productivity: Healthy relationships at work can lead to better teamwork and increased productivity. Employees who get along well with their colleagues will work together more effectively.

Autonomy and control over work

When employees have the freedom to make decisions, set their own work pace, and have a sense of ownership over their tasks, it can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction. Here are a few ways autonomy and control can affect job satisfaction:

  • Better problem-solving: When employees are allowed to be autonomous and use their creativity in problem-solving, this can lead to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as they find innovative solutions and improvements to their work processes.
  • Flexibility: Autonomy often comes with the flexibility to manage one’s own schedule and work in a way that aligns with their personal preferences. Having this flexibility can enhance their work-life balance and contribute to their overall job satisfaction.

Recognition and appreciation

When employees are acknowledged and appreciated for their contributions and efforts in the workplace, it often leads to higher levels of job satisfaction, influencing:

  • Sense of value: Feeling valued and appreciated by colleagues and superiors contributes to a sense of worth. When an employee believes their contributions are recognized, they’re more likely to have higher self-esteem and job satisfaction.

Work-life balance

Striking a healthy balance between professional responsibilities and personal life contributes to overall well-being and contentment. It can affect job satisfaction in these areas:

  • Improved mental health: A balanced work-life schedule is often associated with better mental health. Employees who have time for relaxation and personal pursuits tend to have lower levels of anxiety and depression.
  • Enhanced productivity: Those who have a healthy work-life balance are often more focused and productive during their work hours. This efficiency can lead to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when tasks are completed effectively.

Fair compensation

When an employee feels they’re fairly rewarded for their efforts and contributions, it contributes to overall job satisfaction in the following ways:

  • Perceived equity: Fair compensation contributes to the perception of equity within an organization. When an employee believes that their compensation is fair compared to their peers and industry standards, it can enhance their sense of justice and fairness, positively impacting their job satisfaction.
  • Feeling valued: Fair compensation is a tangible expression of an employee’s value to an organization. If they feel that they’re adequately rewarded for their skills and contributions, it can lead to a sense of being valued and appreciated.

The impact of job satisfaction

We’ve briefly discussed the positive impact job satisfaction can have, but let’s flesh that out a little bit:

Increased productivity and performance

Job satisfaction is positively correlated with increased productivity and performance. Satisfied employees are more likely to be motivated, focused, and committed to their work, leading to higher levels of output and efficiency.

Reduced stress and burnout

When an employee is satisfied with their job, it can act as a buffer against stress and burnout. That level of satisfactions means they’re better equipped to handle challenges and pressures, reducing the likelihood of experiencing chronic stress and burnout.

Higher employee engagement and loyalty

Job satisfaction can create higher levels of employee engagement and loyalty. Satisfied employees are more likely to be actively involved in their work, committed to the goals of the organization, and loyal to their employers. All of this contributes to a positive and stable work environment.

Improved overall well-being

It should come as no surprise that job satisfaction has a direct impact on the overall well-being of an employee. Those who are satisfied with their employment tend to experience higher levels of happiness, job fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. This contributes to a more positive and satisfying life both inside and outside the workplace.

Strategies for enhancing job satisfaction

There are several areas where job satisfaction can be enhanced. When implementing new strategies, consider these four:

Work environment:

  • Create a positive and inclusive work culture: A positive and inclusive work culture promotes open communication, teamwork, and mutual respect. Encourage diversity and inclusion initiatives to create a sense of belonging for all employees. Be sure to recognize and celebrate any achievements, creating a positive atmosphere that contribute to job satisfaction.
  • Doing work that matters: Provide employees with a sense of purpose by aligning their work with your organization’s mission and values. Then take that a step further by communicating the impact of their contributions on the larger goals of the company. Finally, encourage them to see the significance of their roles.
  • Provide a safe and comfortable physical workspace: Be sure that the physical workspace you provide for your employees is safe, comfortable, and conducive to productivity. Address any ergonomic concerns and provide necessary resources and tools. 
  • Encourage work-life balance initiatives: Support work-life balance by implementing flexible work arrangements, promoting realistic workloads, and encouraging your employees to take unnecessary breaks. If necessary, provide resources for stress management and wellness programs. By recognizing the importance of work-life balance, employees are better able to manage their personal and professional lives, which, of course, will contribute to higher job satisfaction.

Communication and feedback:

  • Establish open and transparent communication channels: Work to develop a culture of open and transparent communication within the organization. Implement channels like regular team meetings, town hall sessions, and accessible communication platforms. Be sure to keep your employees informed about organizational updates, goals, and changes. This promotes a sense of transparency and trust.
  • Encourage regular feedback and constructive dialogue: Promote a feedback-rich environment by encouraging regular performance reviews, one-on-one check-ins, and 360° feedback processes. Provide constructive feedback that focuses on strengths and areas that need improvement. 
  • Address concerns and resolve conflicts promptly: Have a system in place that addresses employee concerns and conflicts promptly. Encourage an open-door policy where employees feel comfortable about expressing their concerns. You can also provide resources for conflict resolution and ensure that they are addressed in a fair and timely manner.

Career growth and development:

  • Provide clear career paths and growth opportunities: Clearly outline career paths within the organization and communicate potential growth opportunities to employees. This can include promotions, lateral moves, and skill development. It’s important that employees can see a clear trajectory for advancement since it gives them a sense of purpose and motivation.
  • Offer training and mentoring programs: Implement training programs that will help enhance employee skills and competencies. Provide mentoring opportunities where experienced employees can guide and support their less experienced colleagues. Overall, training and mentoring contribute to professional development which can help employees feel more capable and valued, ultimately increasing their job satisfaction.
  • Support employees’ professional development goals: Acknowledge and support any professional development goals your employees may have. This could include offering financial support for further education, attending conferences, or obtaining certifications.

Compensation and benefits:

  • Offer competitive salary and benefit packages: Ensure your organization provides competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages. This should include — if possible — health insurance, retirement plans, and any other perks that may align with industry standards. This can be a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Recognize and reward employee contributions: If you want to acknowledge and appreciate employee contributions, implement recognition and reward programs. They could include performance-based bonuses, employee of the month awards, or whatever other forms of recognition may work for your industry or specific workplace.
  • Provide opportunities for skill development and advancement: These opportunities could include training programs, workshops, or pathways to promotions. Regardless, employees should be able to see a clear link between their performance, skill development, and career progression.


Job satisfaction influences several aspects of both professional and personal well-being. Employees who feel satisfied in their jobs are more motivated, engaged, and productive in their roles. Additionally, dissatisfaction is linked to reduced stress and burnout, contributing to improved mental and physical health.

Employee retention is likely important to you, so be aware that job satisfaction is associated with higher levels of commitment, loyalty, and overall job performance — a stable work environment where employees are more likely to stay.

The workforce and the workplace continue to change and evolve, and it’s more important than ever for employers to commit to building a culture that prioritizes job satisfaction. Doing so not only enhances the lives — both personal and professional — of employees but also cultivates thriving, innovative, and resilient organizations. 


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Gabe Scorgie

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