Posts tagged ‘job satisfaction’

Does job satisfaction lead to increased productivity?

Job Satisfaction is one of the most researched concepts in Industrial Psychology and in HR in general. And one of the most robust findings about it is that it correlates highly with productivity. To which degree varies quite a lot. A large meta-survey by Judge et al. suggests that the correlation is about 0.3, but I have seen it as high as 0.5. That is quite a lot.

I don’t dispute that ‘Job Satisfaction’ and ‘Productivity’ correlates highly. There is so much evidence to suggest that. I just wonder about the causality. I can think about three ways to explain the correlation:

  1. The more satisfied you, the more productive you are in your job
  2. The more productive you are, the happier you are with your job
  3. A third element drives both e.g. if the match between job and employee is high then this employee will experience both a higher job satisfaction and be more productive.

In the end I believe that all three of the above are true. Which one of them is ‘the most true’, well I don’t know. However it matters a lot for HR practitioners.

If you believe the first explanation is more true then you would work hard on getting your employees to enjoy their work by increase autonomy, skill variety or give more feedback. If you believe the second to be true you would work on things which can increase productivity such as process optimisation. If you believe in the third explanation then you would work on your recruitment processes to optimize job-fit.

Before you measure job satisfaction in your organization, you must decide which of the three explanations you believe in and therefore how you should use the results.

26/07/2011 at 10:57 1 comment

Do you really know how to measure Engagement?

You want to increase productivity, lower employee turnover and absenteeism and make your company attractive so you can attract the best talent. Fine. This you can measure with ease.

Then you decide that you want to improve on the results and you need to find out what should be improved. How do you decide what to measure?

When I studied psychology, I was told that ‘Motivation’ was a concept mostly used in the 80’s, that ‘Job Satisfaction’ was the most robust measure in Industrial Psychology and that ‘Commitment’ was about to become the most important. Since then has ‘Engagement’ become the new measure  of choice and now it appears that ‘Motivation’ is back again – completing the circle.

Most of these concepts are measured through surveys. But do you know what questions to ask if you want to know about one concept rather than the other? In other words, do you know what you measure?

You might say; “Well does it matter? All I want to know is, if the people are happy and enjoying work”. Actually it does. Research shows that these different concepts correlate (very) differently with different outcomes. In a bit (too) general terms, if you really want to know about employee turnover, it is best to measure ‘Commitment’ or ‘Job Satisfaction’. If you are more interested in productivity then measure ‘Engagement’ or ‘Motivation’.

Bottom line: Measuring is not difficult. It is harder to find out what to measure and how to interpret what you have just measured. Be careful.

01/06/2011 at 13:56 2 comments

Stress – do something about it

Stress is a big thing: It is a personal tragedy for the individual concerned and it cost a lot for the organizations as well as the society. Companies – and HR – must therefore be more proactive when it comes to combating workplace stress.

If you ask people in Denmark if they feel stressed 41% will say that they feel stressed “often” or “occasionally”. That is a big number. When you add that to the fact that 25% of all sick leave is directly linked to stress-related illnesses then this is serious. The other interesting thing about that number is that it is rising. In 1987 the number of Danes reporting stress was 35%.

A good stress policy should include a number of things. It should include a clear definition of what stress is, list a comprehensive range of symptoms which comes from stress (remember that stress is a condition – not an illness), provide stress management tools, outline roles and responsibilities of managers, colleagues, the employee and the company and most importantly provide exact steps which a person should take if he or she feels symptoms of stress.

A well-written policy is however only useful if it is actually taken seriously by the company, managers and the employees themselves. Otherwise it is just another useless HR-policy. There must be an openness to deal with stress at the workplace and a language to speak freely about problems and issues with managers and HR. This bit requires a real concentrated effort from top management and all the way down. I have seen it work, and where it does, it makes a big difference to job-satisfaction, employee turnover and productivity.

Stress is important. My advice is to treat it seriously.

01/11/2010 at 22:02 2 comments


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