A 2010 survey on US job satisfaction by the Conference Board found only 45% of Americans were satisfied with their jobs. This was down from 61% in 1987 when the survey was first done. In other words, we’re becoming increasingly discontent with our jobs.
Research continually tells us that employees need three things in order to feel fulfilled in their jobs. These are basic psychological needs at work.
People need to feel like they have control over their day and their actions are important to the entire organization. I don’t like it when my schedule is hijacked, and I bet you don’t like it either. Thankfully, I work in an environment where I have a good bit of control over my schedule. I know I’m at my best when it comes to writing in the morning, so I have the ability to push most meetings and conversations to the afternoon.
People want to feel good at what they do. That’s why carving out time and space for helpful training and advancement is a good thing. Notice I said HELPFUL training, because a lot of forced training is intended to meet company standards but really isn’t helpful to the employee. When I was a school teacher, I didn’t particularly enjoy the training meetings, because they weren’t always taught by practitioners and come with real world application. I’m a fan of giving people a training budget and allowing them to seek out the training, events, relationships, etc that will benefit them the most.
People want to feel connected to other people. Even the Introverts and Mavericks don’t want to feel like their job is an island. There needs to be a sense of community on the team. It doesn’t mean everyone has to be best friends at work, but I do believe everyone needs to have a best friend at work. People who are alone may get the job done, but they won’t feel fulfilled in their jobs.
How is your work environment, whether it’s a church, office, shop or store? When it comes to autonomy, competence, and relatedness, how much do you feel?