There is more than job satisfaction

Of course job satisfaction is important. But there’s more. You don’t have to be satisfied with satisfaction.

Although satisfaction is about a positive psychological state, it is also characterized by a low degree of activation. Satisfied employees feel calm and relaxed. In itself fine, but at the same time they hardly feel the need to actively tackle, change or improve things at work.

Research shows that a more active attitude – also known as work engagement – is more strongly linked to health, well-being and job performance. This is because passionate employees are enthusiastic, driven and energetic. Instead of being reactive as with satisfaction, work engaged employees are proactive. They do not wait and take the lead themselves.

You would give employees more than “just” satisfaction and organizations are better off if they focus on enthusiasm instead of satisfaction. That is why employee satisfaction research is outdated and we speak of work experience research in which the focus is on enthusiasm instead of satisfaction.

How do you increase the impact of employee research?

Questionnaire fatigue is often cited as a reason to shorten questionnaires or to stop conducting employee surveys at all. Employees would not have time to fill in more lists. In our experience, it has nothing to do with that, but much more with the expectation of employees that it makes little sense to participate.

And there is a reason for that. In recent decades, employee satisfaction surveys have mainly been used to show off their results (“we are the best employer”) or to compare the organization with competitors (“we are doing better”). The employee has a little point to this. He likes to work in a pleasant and challenging environment. A focus on this (‘what can and should we do better?’) it provides employees and organizations more in terms of enthusiasm! Organizations that want their work processes different and better, can take inspiration from the tips below:

  • Take care of the past. Employees will appreciate if their feelings are recognized and respected and want a spot on the horizon. Why is it different from now on?
  • What will board and management do differently and what will that mean for employees?
  • Use the research and resulting data as KPI that managers can use to target the mental energy of their organizational unit. And make sure they do the same.
  • See the research as a starting point, a way to determine “what we need to talk about” in order to achieve a better work situation. On organization – team and individual level.
  • Encourage employees to get started. They have to do it, the organization can only facilitate it.
  • Communicate about what the management gets from the research and how it should proceed.