Job satisfaction refers to the feeling or the state of mind that one has concerning their nature of work. It can be influenced by a variety of factors such as workplace wellness programs within the workplace, employee relationship with top management and supervisors, ability to achieve their work targets, the quality of the physical environment in which one works.
Work has for centuries remained one of the most fundamental tasks in the life of a human being. Research focusing on the biopsychosocial impacts of work satisfaction and dissatisfaction on the modern worker suggests that “one’s level of satisfaction with one’s work impacts upon one’s mental and physical health and overall satisfaction with life” (Jex, 2008). The philosophy is that in exchange for offering their services, employees are entitled to more than their pay, benefits, and healthy and safe systems of work. Employees should also be entitled to consideration as human beings, especially when one considers that majority of their problems arise in the context of the work and are hence best dealt with there to achieve job high job satisfaction levels. The role of training in job satisfaction has been demonstrated to be effective in equipping employees with important skills in balancing work and life demands.
According to Panepento (2004), “the employee’s worries and resulting stress may well arise from their work and their concerns about security, money, health, and relationships with others”. These form the general factors that determine and define job satisfaction. In the realization that people form the most prized asset of any organization, there is a need to attach the greatest value to their well being for the best overall organizational performance organizational socialization refers to “A process where employees learn about and adapt to new jobs, roles and the culture of the workplace (Rain, Lane & Steiner, 1991). The impact of socialization on job satisfaction cannot be undermined because the level and quality of organizational socialization are directly correlated to the levels of job satisfaction.
The available literature on the topic indicates that “the faster the new hires are socialized and absorbed in organizational settings and culture, the higher their levels of job satisfaction and the higher their levels of commitment to the organization” (Reynolds, 2003). Companies that have initiated the self-selection process for recruits’ mentors have demonstrated high levels of job satisfaction amongst employees during their orientation periods. Furthermore, the successful completion of formal socialization programs within an organization has a great impact on the levels of job satisfaction. This issue is well demonstrated by stating that “Completion of a formal socialization program increases employee productivity, increases self-assurance on the job, increases job satisfaction, motivation and commitment to the organization” (Robson, 2002). This is because the ability of a worker to quickly adapt to the new system not only increases reliability but also increases motivation; the critical indicator in job satisfaction.
In addition to the above, there is a need to take a keen cognizance in the selection of supervisors within an organization because they play a very critical role in enhancing employee satisfaction. Interpersonal relations brought about by the adequate amount of interaction time create the opportunity for employee interactions and socialization thereby translating to improved performance and happier individuals within the workplace. This helps in the development of teamwork and respect towards one another. The ability to relate equally with all employees and treat them enhances levels of interactions. This, therefore, point to the roles of supervisors and top management in appreciating the positive roles of social interaction in achieving job satisfaction.
Work Place Culture
Work conflict can be defined as the form of inter-role conflict between work, social life, and family demands and has been pointed out as critical impediment factors in achieving high job satisfaction levels. This conflict makes it difficult to fully fulfill obligations in one or all the life aspects. In such a scenario, meeting full demands in one aspect means sacrificing the demands of another. Work-life conflict is a composition of two components: time aspect and a feeling of failure to meet these obligations. The time aspect involves situations where an employee takes too much time at the workplace and has very little time to spend with the family.
The role overload conflict occurs when the demands that arise from work overweigh those of family obligations. A good example includes instances of extremely long hours at the workplace that deny the family opportunities of having a holiday together. The case of vice-versa can also take place whereby a spouse’s ill health can deny one from attending to work demands. Furthermore, conflicts at home or family deny one the opportunity to give into their best performance. Job demands in many instances are stressful and may not give one extra time to spend with the family. Very serious cases involve working in organizations that strictly adhere to beating strict deadlines, considering beating these deadlines as the most important factor in maintaining your position within the organization. Work and life can never be separated as the physical and mental health of employees will eventually determine the level of the organization’s performance. According to Health Canada (2009), “58% of employees reported high levels of overload and this has increased by another 6% over the past half decade.” Just over one in four (28%) of Canadians in the 2001 sample report that their work responsibilities interfere with their ability to fulfill their family responsibilities at home.
Such statistical data indicate that work-family conflict is rampant in many workplaces. “With respect to work demands both role overload and work to family interference are positively associated with hours per month of unpaid overtime, hours spent in work at home per week, hours per week in supplemental work at home ( SWAH) and a time away from home in job related travel” (Health Canada, 2009). Furthermore, the Health Canada (2009) data reveals that “only 41%were satisfied with their lives and one in five were dissatisfied and 1.4 times more employees reported high levels of perceived stress in 2001 than in 1991.”
A deeper examination into work-family conflict reveals much more surprising cases. Couples lack quality time with one another and with their families. Children, therefore, lack parental love and care and grow up in social settings that often form foundations for bad character. Labor shortages are likely to be on the rise as couples lack the time to be together and reproduce. A woman who has gone through the life of babysitting alone may not desire to carry a second baby. The growth and development of a child demand the role of both parents. According to research data from Health Canada(2009), “European Union recorded a natural increase of just 0.04% per annum in population in 2005, the fertility rate in all 25 nations was well below the 2.1 rate needed for population replacement and had fallen further below 1.5 in two thirds of the European Union 25 states.”
The big question as to how work-life balance can be achieved and well-being enhanced can only be answered by identifying and implementing workable policies, programs, and various assistance that can be applied in workplaces. These policies and programs must incorporate families and aim to effectively balance work-life conflict. Flexible works go the way in reducing work-family conflicts and achieving well-being. Initiating programs such as family holidays, organizing family parties, and taking care of family health bills will result in healthy employees for higher performance and well-being. Furthermore, such initiatives have the benefits of fulfilling work and life demands and lowering levels of stress.
Employers must take the first step in helping employees deal with life conflicts. Conflicts brought about as a result of role overload are best handled by increasing the amount of flexibility in the hands of employees regarding their roles. Employees must have the freedom in scheduling their work. Flexibility in handling job assignments, having quality time with family members whenever one feels like, choosing the working time, and postponing assignments are valuable programs. Work-family interference can be dealt with by simply increasing the number of supportive managers within an organization. Employers need to introduce paid time off to cater for instances when an employer cannot attend work due to family commitments. Furthermore, expectations on employees’ part must be made clear, he must listen to their complaints and support in planning their work.
Managers who demand a lot from their employees do so little in boosting their morale if training does not form an important path in job satisfaction (Schmidt, 2007). Finally, employees must be given due recognition for assignments well accomplished to enable them to achieve high levels of jobs satisfaction and well-being.
In addition to the above, instituting a culture of family-friendly benefits such as emergency services, family days off work, and part-time work would result in low-stress levels and wellbeing. “Dealing with the care-giver strain involves a single approach of instituting elder care referral benefits” (Jacobs, 2004). This will lessen the burden on the employee giving them the chance and time to attend to other issues and improve their performance.
While the above factors involve the role employers, employees themselves must find practical solutions towards a balance work-family life and well be” (Halpern, 2005). Self-awareness such as the ability to recognize factors that contribute to stress and being honest about choices one makes in life. An employee must also be open about issues leading to stress and share with support managers to find assistance.
Organizations must support their employees to achieve a balanced life, wellbeing, and job satisfaction through training and capacity building. Balancing work and life is a very complex process as job demands are numerous, time is limited and family commitments are a must. It is of great importance to attach the role of one’s family is achieving a happy well-being employee during the planning of work schedules. Such a process must also take into account the role of support managers and employees themselves.
Halpern, D.F. (2005). From work-family balance to work-family integration: changing the metaphor. Washington: Rutledge.
Health Canada (2009). Environmental and workplace health. Web.
Jacobs, J.A. (2004). Time divides work family and gender inequality. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Jex, S. M. (2008). Organizational psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.
Panepento, K. (2004). Employee Assistance programs: Blending Performance-Oriented and Humanitarian Ideologies to Assist Emotionally Disturbed employee. Journal of Community and mental health, 4: 245-297.
Rain, J.S., Lane, I.M. & Steiner, D.D. (1991). A current look at the job satisfaction/life satisfaction relationship: Review and future considerations. Human Relations, 44, 287–307.
Reynolds, C. (2003). Thy health and productivity management. Health and Productivity Management, (3), 2: 6-8.
Robson, V. (2002). Human resource management, corporate performance, and employee wellbeing: Building the worker into HRM. The journal of Industrial Relations, 44, 335-358.
Schmidt, S.W. (2007). The relationship between satisfaction with workplace training and overall job satisfaction. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 18 (4), 481-498.