Job Satisfaction Drivers

Every organization must deal with employees who do not perform to standards. One of the most frustrating things for managers and supervisors is to have employees that continually repeat the infraction. However, when the issues continue, managers and supervisors are left to discipline and more likely terminate the individual.

One of the critical factors impacting work is job satisfaction. With ever increasing productivity demands the stress level within organizations is very high. The question posed then is what can a manager do to assist with increasing performance? Further, is it possible for a manager to motivate an employee?

Causes of low morale correlate to the organization, its culture and its management. Several factors contribute to employee motivation and organizational morale. A study by the Corporate Leadership Council reveals the tremendous impact managers have on an employee’s level of commitment. It is imperative to note that individuals do not leave companies -- they leave poor managers. Organizational mismanagement contributes to negative morale. As recently as 2006 the Gallup Organization estimated there were 32 million actively disengaged employees costing the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity. Such loss includes absenteeism, tardiness and poor work.

Relationship Building

Taking time to build relationships with employees through personal interaction is a first step managers can take to keep morale high. Employees need to feel trust and respect from their managers. Employees desire feedback from management to understand that their work matters. Many motivational issues stem from the inability of a manager to confront employees to build relationships and offer appropriate feedback.


There is an intrinsic issue within organizations -- passion. Too many organizations simply hire bodies. Managers hire employees to take positions that fill voids rather than hire individuals with the passion and conviction needed for the job. In his book First Break All the Rules, Marshall Goldsmith states that talent is innate. If the proper employees were hired for the right positions, job satisfaction and morale would be higher.

Intrinsic motivation states that employees must feel good about the jobs they do. Good examples are nurses who build relationships with patients and customer service representatives who know numerous clients by first name. In order to do a job well and in order for motivation to be high, employees must love it. Managers cannot be responsible for passion, but they can hire for it. That said, it is imperative to hire right. Hire individuals that complement each other, the customers and the culture within the organization.

Extrinsic Motivation

There is however some degree of management involvement in workplace motivation known as extrinsic motivation. This type of motivation uses recognition and reward as factors. Mentioned earlier, employers must build relationships with employees. Individuals enjoy and feel safer when relationships are built. Additionally, feedback is vital to employee success. The concept of job satisfaction and motivation is twofold: employees desire recognition and reward and managers need to understand motivators that provide this purpose. Employees want to be a part of the team, and they want to share in the successes and failures of the organization. Therefore, feedback and recognition are active ingredients to motivational success.

Just as important to recognition is reward. In fact, they go hand in hand. Employees are analogous to children, they want recognition for a job well done. Gift cards, corporate announcements, even a simple thank-you card are tactics that illustrate the ultimate prize: success. The ability to become one with management gives the employee a sense of purpose and need.

Today’s employee desires to be happy on the job. In order to be happier in the family and in the job, an employee wants to reach the top, personally and professionally. They want kudos for a job well done and will go through a great number of means to reach it. Recognition and happiness are the catalysts that drive this change. However the stimuli lie within management that build relationships, know their employees, and seek means to acknowledge them. The manager therefore is not only one element of motivational theory, they can practically be the driving force.