Where is job satisfaction?

A colleague recently asked me online how to gauge job satisfaction. Given my years in the dental industry working in various roles and speaking to others through my practice coaching work, I wrote the following response. I thought you’d find it helpful.

To experience job satisfaction I believe these six factors need to be working in your favour:

Receiving ‘fair’ remuneration – what you believe you are worth – is an important element to achieving job satisfaction. When you are ‘fairly’ compensated you are happy to deliver a consistently strong performance. When you are not receiving ‘fair’ compensation, there is the risk of feeling taken advantage of. Given time, you may resist going ‘above and beyond’ in your role for the practice because you already feel that you aren’t being treated fairly.

Lack of respect results in poor communication amongst team members, compromised emotional safety and conflict, therefore, develops more easily.

Being treated with respect validates us as human beings. Respect shows that others see us as worthy. Worthy of safety, worthy of happiness and worthy of being acknowledged. A respectful environment reduces stress, promotes fairness and increases engagement.

Workplace culture forms the basis for the emotional, social and spiritual experience of working with a team.

Workplace culture is not what your team talk about but what they DO EVERY DAY. I have observed several practices with a Culture Policy that they strive to achieve but whose actions and behaviours fall remarkably short in delivery.

Charles Kovess (the co-founder of JPPS) often shares his preferred definition of culture in his presentations: “culture is what people do when no-one is telling them what to do”.

Maintaining happiness and enthusiasm in a toxic working culture is challenging and is often the reason why good people leave.

Workplace systems are designed to increase efficiency and productivity while also providing stress-free working processes. However, this is not always the case. I have seen practices keep broken systems simply because ‘we have always done it this way’.

It is de-motivating working with processes that fail to deliver effective results, or that are far too inefficient.

Alternatively, working with a collection of systems that are continually assessed and modified in response to user feedback fosters an environment of continually improved performance and therefore high job satisfaction.

Micro-management and unnecessary scrutiny over your performance dumb you down and you can feel quite uncomfortably incompetent.

Having the ability to direct your own actions is crucial to your feelings of growth, happiness and motivation. It also shows that you are trusted, thereby increasing your positive feelings about yourself. Being trusted makes you feel significant; few people enjoy feeling insignificant!

Taking personal responsibility for your own happiness is the single most important factor in job satisfaction.

Charles Kovess often shares this mantra:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, cart water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, cart water.”

Happiness is not a state that is delivered to you by external events and situations. Happiness is a state that you foster within your self, your soul. When you learn to foster that happiness internally, it really doesn’t matter what you are actually doing: you enjoy the task!