Determining Why Employee Job Satisfaction Is Low

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Introduction

Aaron’s Inc. is a company that deals in furniture, appliances, computers, and electronics amongst others. The mission of the company is to supply retail products to its customers. The company also engages in manufacturing activities; Aaron’s Inc. is vertically integrated due to its operations in retail and manufacturing sectors. The company has 1697 locations which include 1077 owned sales lease ownership warehouses, seven Rimco warehouses that are franchised, 11 Rimco stores, 12 Aaron’s furniture of offices and finally, 590 SALO store that are also franchised. The management at the company does not treat its employees in a unique ways as to make it different from most companies in terms of employees’ level of satisfaction (Aaron’s Inc., 2009).

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Problem statement

Employee low job satisfaction is one of the major challenges faced by corporate organizations. Aaron’s Inc. is one such company that have tried to come up with policies that are meant to motivate workers; but the most important issue here, is that these policies have been formulated without taking into account how such policies are likely to affect the employees. As much as the company tries to ensure that employees improve on their productivity, the employees themselves continue to experience high level of low job satisfaction. The management seems not to understand the main issues behind the low employee satisfaction since the employees are constantly showing feelings of low satisfaction. If not mitigated at the earliest opportunity possible, the problem may have adverse effects on the company’s productivity and therefore, ruin the relationship between the company and its customers. The main concern of this paper is to address how the management of the company can improve employees’ satisfaction at the work place. It also identifies certain factors that may contribute to low employee satisfaction.

Literature Review

Employee satisfaction is one of the very important components for the success of every organization (Phillips et al, 2002). For a corporate or business organization to meet its goals and objectives it must have the commitment and the determination of its employees; the commitment and the commitment and determination of the employees can be ensured by making employees feel satisfied at the job place. But, what is employee satisfaction at the job place? Employee satisfaction is a measure of how happy an organization’s employees are with the jobs they do and also the environment. It is beneficial to the corporate organizations when the morale of the employees is kept high. It is important to note that employees who feel satisfied by their job and working environment will take fewer days off, produce more output and become loyal to the company. There are many factors hat employees can use in keeping their workers satisfied and focused on their jobs, but if these factors are not taken into account when dealing with employees they are likely to feel low satisfaction or totally dissatisfied. In order to determine why employee job satisfaction is low, there must be certain indicators showing that the employees are either less or totally dissatisfied with the kind of job the do (Smythe, 2007).

The employees can either be dissatisfied at individual or group level. When employees are dissatisfied at individual level, they may decide to resign thereby making the organization to loose important talents or knowledge. When the employers realize that their employees’ satisfaction at the job place is low, they must move in to find out what are the causative factors and offer appropriate solutions. Under literature review, I will discuss the various reasons organizations experience low employee satisfaction and also exhaustively discuss how some organizations have maintained the morale of their employees and hence their high level of satisfaction. Some of the factors discussed herein affect Aaron’s Inc.

There are so many factors that may lead to low employees’ satisfaction at the job. One of such factors is the opportunities given to employees at the work place. There are a number of opportunities that employees may want to have at the job place. The employers should consider whether they have varied opportunities for their employees. The opportunities may include:

  1. Challenging tasks; most focused employee would like to work in challenging environment. To such kind of employees any task that is not challenging enough makes them feel dissatisfied or lowly satisfied. When determining why employees are lowly dissatisfied, the employers should find out whether the kind of tasks offered to employees are really challenging;
  2. Career advancement; career advancement is one of the crucial process in the achievements of the employees. This indicator can be used by employers to determine why employees are lowly satisfied at the job;
  3. Vacation or day-offs; amongst the ways through which employees should determine why employee satisfaction is low is through reviewing their policies on employees’ absenteeism. It is important for the employers to know that when employees are not given enough time for leisure in order to rejuvenate, then they are likely to get dissatisfied with the jobs in the organization.

Some times it is advisable for employers to check how other successful organizations, where employees are happy, treat their employees. They should look at what kind of opportunities such successful organizations offer employees and compare with their own. This will help detect reasons employees may feel less satisfied. There is a very close link between employees’ satisfaction and the amount of opportunities available to the employees within an organization. Research reports have indicated that where employees have several opportunities, there are high levels of satisfaction and reverse have been proven to be true.

Leadership and Employee’s attitude are very also very vital in the smooth operation of an organization; employee job satisfaction depends on the type of leadership within the work environment and how the leadership approaches its relationship with the workers (Daft, 2007). Some times low employee satisfaction may be brought about by poor leadership and lack of concern for the welfare of the workers; both within and outside work environment. When employee satisfaction is low, it may be important to evaluate the leadership style used in running the corporate organizations. Everything is said to rise and falls on the basis of leadership, so it is the leadership that is the main determinant of whether the employee satisfaction rises or falls. Employees will definitely have low morale when the organizational leadership is not performing as they expect or is rather not take care of their personal needs. Before blaming employees for low productivity, it is wise to assess the link between the employees and the leadership. The employees may have the urge to increase their participation in the in an organization’s productivity but due to bad leadership they may decide to slow down their commitment. The leadership, therefore, must evaluate itself in situations where employees are said to be dissatisfied at the work place (Maxwell, 2007).

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Monitoring the general attitude of employees, both at individual and group level, is important in determining reasons employee satisfaction is low. In most cases, change in attitude of the employees may be easy to realize. Such changes are very crucial in concluding that employees are dissatisfied. After realizing change in employees’ attitude, the employers can set out to find out the causes of such changes. This implies that executive business leaders and other employers should continuously monitor the attitude of the employees through various mechanisms like checking on their rate of daily work and comparing it to the previous ones; when an employee’s attitude changes negatively it affects his or her productivity and therefore, the productivity of the whole organization. Employees’ attitude is one of the reliable ways of detecting low employee satisfaction and hence makes it easy to find fast solutions (Lussier, 2008).

One of the roles of an organization’s leadership should be taking care of employees’ welfare, and this involves ensuring that the workers are happy at their jobs. In case the employees have sudden change in attitude and their level of work decreased, the organization will definitely be affected as whole. This means that a thorough examination of this scenario will lead the leaders to discover that there is low workers satisfaction.

Most managers have made a big mistake of thinking that money has all the solutions in boosting the morale of the employees and hence their satisfaction. Several studies that have been conducted have found out that there are many workers whose morale will not go up even if their salaries were increased or added some bonuses (Kaufman and Taras, 2000). The literature I reviewed reveals that in such cases, employees must be provided with more than money rewards; they should have amenities like break-room that are clean and comfortable with clean running water, the bathrooms which are kept clean and well stocked with necessary effects and the company can also provide cheap meals to the employees.

Research has found out that constant training of employees on new skills and technological know-how is one way through which the morale of the employees can be boosted thereby making them feel high job satisfaction. In cases where employees are just left to perform their daily routine without learning something new on the job, they are like to be withdrawn from the work and start thinking on other things. It is then important for managers, especially the HRM to ensure that there are always new things the employees learn as they continue to work. Most employees are likely to feel highly satisfied as they continue to learn from their job; at the end of the day the feel they have accomplished some tasks and also learnt new ways of working at the same task.

Workers can only work effectively when there are sufficient and appropriate resources whenever needed. Some times there are tasks that are required to be done within a given timeline. When the appropriate resources are not availed timely, the morale of the employees is likely to go down, and the result is reduced employee satisfaction. Lack of resources within the company can lead to employees being stressed consequently reducing their productivity. When the administrations avail enough of the required resources, the employees will feel adequately prepared to tackle certain tasks; this will even increase their feelings of satisfaction (Furnham, 2005).

The stamina of worker satisfaction is respect to the employees and the work they are engaged in. the employees should be treated with courteousness and interest whenever they interact with the management. This will make them feel cared for and there level of job satisfaction will definitely rise. Several research studies have proven that a situation where there is distinct line between the employees and the management, the idea of “us versus them” arises. Such findings indicate that employees will feel satisfied when the management freely interacts with them at all levels taking into account the need for respect.

Other literatures have cited the importance of reward and motivation in boosting the morale of the workers. The literature recognizes that some organizations experience low employee satisfaction because they do not have proper plans in which employees are rewarded and complimented according to their work. In some organizations, hardworking employees are not duly recognized and, instead, expected to work even harder. This has contributed to low employee satisfaction in such organization hence leading to their poor performance. Other literatures have identified a number of organizations that experience high employees’ turnover. Closer studies of such organizations have revealed that the turnover is closely linked to low employee satisfaction. Researchers have found out that those employees who are motivated, appropriately rewarded and complimented experience high job satisfaction and will always remain loyal to the company or organization.

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Employees need some freedom and autonomy at the workplace in order to perform their tasks freely. They need to have an environment where they can discuss their job issues, make decisions and implement them without fear of masking mistakes and consequently being fired. In organizations where such freedom and autonomy are not availed to the workers, employees are most likely to experience low satisfaction and as such may decide to seek other job alternatives. It has been proven that letting employees take charge of their own work and plan for it gives them the feeling of job satisfaction. It is therefore important for employees considering the achievement of high employee satisfaction to ensure that their workers enjoy certain level of autonomy and freedom to offer their suggestions without fear of victimization.

Causes

The problem at the Aaron’s Inc. company that lead to low job satisfactions emanates from several sources. The employees are not properly engaged in the affairs of the company hence discouraging them from fully participating in the running of the company. The leadership has not properly recognized the importance of involving the employees in decision making. The relationship between the management of Aaron’s Inc. cannot be described as encouraging to the employees: there is a clear distinction that exists between the two groups which has led to employees feeling sidelined in the company’s crucial activities.

The company has had the experience of high employee turnover which has raised serious questions on whether the management is concerned about the plight of the employees or not. Resources have not been available for the employees to carry out their tasks and some times they are delayed and therefore unable to meet their deadlines. The resources that are required for successful delivery of goods are the vehicles for the furniture, clearing officers and loading and offloading officers. The late availability and or total absence of either have led to slowed pace of work that has not impressed the workers. The company does not have proper motivation to employees; the employees are expected to get to work early in time and leave late. What makes them feel lowly satisfied is the fact that the management does not recognize the hard work they are putting in to help the company meet its goals and objectives.

Many employees working at the company do not have the freedom they need to efficiently and effectively perform their tasks. Most of the times the employees have to rely on decisions made by their senior employees and or the management in order to carry out certain duties they are able to perform even without direct consultations with them.

The company does not have proper team building plans in place. The workers never have the opportunities to interact outside their job specifications and are hence driven by boredom and lack of enthusiasm at work. This has greatly contributed to low job satisfaction at the company.

Solutions

The company’s leadership can increase the morale of the employees and give them high level of job satisfaction by communicating with the employees through effective dialogue. Through dialogue; this can reduce stress, resolve problems, and enhance productivity in the company. The effective communication entails listening as much as possible to the employees as well as talking to them. It is important that to note that the success of every organization depends on the effective communication between the employees and the managements. Aaron’s Inc should come up with a properly planned communication channel that will contribute to boosting of the morale of the employees.

Constant training of employees on different issues which may include those that pertains to their jobs and those that concerns their lives as employees will go along way in giving the employees job satisfaction. The trainings should be designed in such a way that the company is able to enhance the productivity of the employees and also make the employees feel that they benefit from such trainings. The leaders should come out of their comfort zones and involve themselves in the discussion of problematic issues in order to establish a lasting good relationship between the management and the employees. In the process of communicating the tasks to be done by employees, it is important for instructions to be issued as early as possible so that the employees can prepare in time to undertake the required tasks.

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It will be important for the company to come up with reward scheme so that hard working employees can be rewarded and further encouraged to increase their efforts. The employees input should be recognized and complimented by the administration so as to assure them that what they do is beneficial to the company. The company should also allow the employees to have enough number of days out of work in order to rejuvenate. One way through which the company can reward its hard working employees is through offering academic scholarships that are related to the business of the company. The area of scholarships should be relevant to the growth of the company and also ensure the employees are satisfied with their job.

Motivation is one area in which the company can take advantage of employees’ skills and experience. Motivation can be used by the company as a catalyst to trigger the eagerness of the employees to discharge their duties without undue pressure. In order to succeed at this, the company needs to have influential leadership that will be able to offer motives for the employees to work and give their best and at the same time feel satisfied. For the company to achieve job satisfaction for the employees, it should ensure that the working environment is comfortable and relaxed. After coming up with motivation strategies for employees, the leadership of the company will realize how easy it is to realize the dreams, goals and objectives of the company with employees who are highly motivated and feel high level of job satisfaction; the company will also realize increased productivity and low employee turnover.

Satisfied employees are those who understand what they are doing; this includes the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the company. It is therefore important for the management of Aaron’s Inc. to ensure that its workers clear understand all the contents of the company’s strategic scheme. Understanding the company’s strategic scheme, coupled with proper motivation, will enable the employees to render their total commitment to the company’s activities. In spelling out the strategic scheme of the company, the employees will be able to capture the bigger picture of the company’s goals and objectives; this has the ability to sustain the satisfaction employees get from their jobs.

For smooth running of all the departments within the company, it is important for a family kind of relationship to exist between amongst all the stakeholders. This implies that the leaders and employees should interact freely without existence of any barrier between the leadership and the employees.

The development of employees is very crucial in increasing employees’ job satisfaction. The employers of the company should note that employees are in need of a better future for their families and relatives and also themselves. The always want new opportunities that will enhance their finances and working conditions. They will always get motivated by what they are able to get out of the company at the end of the day. They want to believe that if they put more efforts at work they will be able to get more opportunities to improve their welfare and a better job for that matter. The company may come up with better ways of motivating employees and ensuring job satisfaction, however, it should not that these can only be successful when the employees are able to see a brighter or better future than the current situation for themselves and the company. The hope of a brighter future will also ensure that the employees stick with the company and hence improve its productivity due to experience of employees at the job.

As much as there are various ways of increasing job satisfaction amongst employees, it is important to note that the company will benefit much by using financial rewards as one of the incentives to attract the interest of the employees. Besides the normal salary, the company should pay the employees commissions on every extra work done. This way, they will feel the satisfaction of engaging in the company’s activities and even put more efforts voluntarily thereby increasing the company’s output. Through using the financial incentives, the company should also design a career ladder in which the employees are promoted on the basis of the experience and qual9ifications they hold; the movement up the career ladders or promotion should be coupled with salary increment alongside other privileges.

The management should be very concerned with the welfare of the employees; it should address the grievances of the employees as soon as they arise; neglecting them indicates to the employees that they are not taken seriously in the company and therefore experience low job satisfaction. When the company addresses such grievances as they may occur, the employees are most likely to feel part of the company and hence perform their tasks with a lot of satisfaction.

In most cases, the employees are the ones who are aware of what really causes them to have low job satisfaction. The company should engage in an open and free dialogue with the employees to find out what may be the causes of low satisfaction. The dialogue should be carried out in an open forum where the employees are assured of safety of their job taking into account what they say during dialogue. Through this, the company will be able to collect genuine problems that make the workers to feel low satisfaction with their jobs and initiate relevant and convenient action plan meant to resolve the problems. The company can also use survey methods to find out, from amongst the employees, the likely causes of low job satisfaction. They should not be forced to reveal their identities on the survey papers as an assurance that no one of them will be victimized. This is a very convenient way of letting the employees to express their thoughts that are very crucial in the understanding of the factors that lead to low job satisfaction at the company.

Team building is another way through which the company can boost the morale of the employees in their jobs. The company should organize for team building activities that should include all the employees and the management team. The process of team building should be done with the help of an expert who should be charged with the responsibility of coming up with effective team building strategies. The expert can be hired from outside then company from time to time or may be a permanent employee of the company who is charged with such responsibilities as team building. During the team building moments, both the management and the employees should engage in free discussions on various issues which must not necessarily be work related. This will hold the employees together as a team and enhance their input and therefore improve the company’s productivity.

Reflection

The process of writing this research paper has revealed a lot to me as regards employee job satisfaction at the workplace. I have learnt that there are so many factors that may lead to low job satisfaction. It is true that employees are motivated by the need to take care of their financial needs. However, for them to stay and benefit their working places, they need to feel satisfied by the kind of jobs they do. I have to realize that the managers or the employers should not assume that salaries only are enough to motivate employees and also that financial gain alone is not the determinant of employee job satisfaction. I have come to realize that the success of a company does not only rely on the bright ideas that the management come up with but it also depends on the how the employees are engaged in the process of implementing such ideas.

I have also come to realize that low job satisfactions arises due to poor relationship between the management of a company and the employees who are expected to deliver on company goals and objectives. I therefore, feel empowered and I will be more interested in engaging in more research activities to find out more about low job satisfaction amongst employees with a view of understanding and assisting finding solutions for to the issues that are contributory to such situations. As an aspiring employer, my mind has been opened by this research activity and I have discovered that for the success of a company, the employers must look beyond just providing financial rewards; I have come to appreciate the roles of team building, dialogue and motivation in boosting the morale of the employees and how these help the employees to feel satisfied with their jobs.

I have an increased curiosity in finding out more on how to improve employee satisfaction at the work place in order to enhance company’s productivity. I am more interested that in future, at a managerial position, I will be able to listen to employees, collect their ideas on various issues and help them overcome their challenges both for their own benefits and the benefits of the organization or my company.

References

  1. Aaron’s, Inc. (2009). The Nation’s Leader in Sales and Lease Ownership.
  2. Daft, R. (2007). The leadership experience. Dryden Press Series in Management. Natorp Boulevard: Cengage Learning.
  3. Furnham, A. (2005). The psychology of behavior at work: The individual in the organization. New York: Psychology Press.
  4. Kaufman, B. & Taras, D. (2000). Nonunion Employee Representation: History, Contemporary Practice, and Policy. Issues in work and human resources. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
  5. Lussier, R. (2008). Management Fundamentals: Concepts, Applications, Skill Development. United States: Cengage Learning.
  6. Maxwell, J. (2007). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You. United States: Thomas Nelson Inc.
  7. Phillips, J. et al. (2002). The project management scorecard: measuring the success of project management solutions. Improving human performance series. United States: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  8. Smythe, J. (2007). The CEO: The Chief Engagement Officer. Turning Hierarchy Upside Down to Drive Performance. Hampshire: Gower Publishing, Ltd.

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