There is a common misconception that job satisfaction is measured by a paycheque.  However, it is more likely it is about the quality of team relationships or feeling fulfilled for the work you do.  It’s essential to get under the skin of why you are happy and satisfied with your job. To do this, you need to understand the intrinsic and extrinsic factors which are driving you. Understanding these factors will help achieve job satisfaction more readily.  

Intrinsic vs extrinsic job satisfaction

Intrinsic job satisfaction derives from the tasks performed and the kind of work being done. While extrinsic job satisfaction comes from external factors like work conditions, working relationships with coworkers and management and even your paycheque of course.

The great news is you have control of all of these factors intrinsically and extrinsically. The bad news is it’s not so easy to manoeuvre these aspects to work in your favour. Even harder is to support your employees.   Once you can identify, address and overcome intrinsic and extrinsic obstacles, true job satisfaction can be possible.

Identifying the negative impact

The first step is to identify which factor is negatively impacting you or your workforce the most. The questions that need to be asked are “Am I unhappy with the type of work I’m doing?” or “Am I unhappy with the organization, people, pay I’m doing the work for?”

If you’re unhappy with the work you’re doing, but love your office and the people who make it up, then you’re intrinsically dissatisfied. If you absolutely love the work you’re doing but wish you were compensated more. or got along with your coworkers better, then you’re extrinsically dissatisfied. So if you’re unhappy with both factors, then this list is definitely for you!

Fixing Intrinsic dissatisfaction

1. Define work values

How can you peg what’s bothering you or your workforce?  It’s difficult if you don’t understand your work, the employees or the company as a whole value. You can use work values assessments to do this.  These allow you to identify aspects of work you value most. They also help to assess how satisfying you find your organization and employees as well.  If you are a leader, it’s better to have as much information around what motivates you and your workforce as humanly possible.

2. Weigh the pros and cons

Pros and cons lists will not work in every situation. However, if you find yourself really hitting a wall, divide the paper into two columns and note the ups and downs of your current gig. If you’re seeing more negatives around a particularly difficult project, then holdfast. Chances are you’re going through a rough patch. All you might need is some support from other leaders within your organization. If the cons outweigh the pros in the type of work you’re doing, then it may be time to speak up! Set up a succession career plan with your manager. Be patient. If you love where you work, take the time to see through the career plan your manager has created for you.

3. Put things into perspective

Being realistic about the work you’re doing can be hard, especially if you’re unhappy. Take a step back and look at how your work contributes to your organization. As a leader in talent acquisition, your work not only supports the organization, it makes all accomplishments possible. Any performance awards or sales goals met are a direct correlation to the hires you’ve helped make and retain. Also, make sure you how your organization is giving back to the community or society as a whole. Sometimes, that’s the type of reminder you need on particularly bad days. Others will appreciate it too. Some 61% of employees say it is important for them to work at an organization that is socially responsible. 71% of today’s workers want to work for an employer whose CEO is actively involved in corporate responsibility and environmental issues.

4. Note your timing

Intrinsic dissatisfaction is more than just that frustrating week when quarterly reports are due. If you are frustrated and unhappy on a regular basis, you’re dissatisfied. If you only find yourself making lists and surfing for new jobs every few weeks, you might be able to tie it back to a difficult deadline, client or task within your overall job.

Fixing extrinsic dissatisfaction

5. Understand your employees

The conflict between coworkers and upper management can be a result of miscommunication. Also, it can be because of misunderstandings of each other’s personalities and work preferences. As an HR professional, you are no stranger to that. Thankfully, with assessments and tests, you can pinpoint differences. You can learn how to compromise and work best with employees who are different from you. This also helps when facilitating a solution between two conflicting team members.

6. Learn what you’re (really) worth

If you have a problem with how you’re being compensated, you might want to do your research. Did you know PayScale conducted a recent study and found that 79% of employees paid above market rate actually believed they were paid at or below it? This compensation misperception is all too common, and you might be thinking you’re more than you’re actually worth (sorry, but it’s the truth). While it’s great to believe in your abilities and be confident, an inflated perception of compensation could be damaging to your extrinsic satisfaction. On the other hand, if you do find out you’re being paid below market rate, as 17% of employees in that PayScale survey were, it might be time to negotiate a new pay increase.

7. Find or be a mentor

Studies show that employees who participate in mentoring programs have higher job satisfaction, and the good news is you don’t need a formal mentorship program to find a mentor! Find a mentor in your department who has been with the company for a little longer and can show you the ropes, connect you with other employees in your department or cross-departmentally and give you tips and tricks for getting the most out of your work environment that they’ve generally picked up on. Be open to mentoring others as well; you never know what you stand to learn from a fresh perspective.

You don’t have to work at a job you hate but you will have to manage people whose values don’t align with your own. Use career matching tools, compensation sites and personality assessment tools to figure out how you can get the most out of your team. Be sure to use these new approaches to your job satisfaction when speaking with dissatisfied subordinates. If they come to you with similar concerns, recognize they have taken the time to consider how they align with your organization and want to make it work.

Image courtesy of Depositphotos

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer, writer and business builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. Founder and CEO of Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and outsourcing and thought leadership to HR and Recruiting Technology and Services organizations internationally, Hogan is a consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques. She has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies and been a thought leader in the global recruitment and talent space. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog Marenated.