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March Question of the Month – What do you value most highly for job satisfaction?

Whether we are searching for our dream career or as a manager on the hiring side of the table, everyone wants to understand what makes a job fulfilling. Knowing what makes a thriving business and the positions they offer so competitively coveted can encourage us all to think about why we enjoy (or don't enjoy) the fields we are in. So, this month, we threw the question over to you! What do you value most highly for job satisfaction?

Results

Company culture 16.5% Salary 15.1%
Training opportunities 11.2% Chances of promotion 10.4%
Flexibility 9.2% Good line management 9.4%
Leadership opportunities 8.7% Location 8%
Friends at work 6.8% Other 4.7%

 

Respondents could answer more than one option

This received rather mixed responses and the results and comments are interesting to examine. Training opportunities, for example, ranked higher than location – it seems that people are willing to quite literally go the extra mile in order to take up a job that allows them to progress. Rapidly changing markets are at the moment, both in terms of international economies and the technology boom, perhaps making people keen to improve their skills within their companies in order to stay in tune and ahead of the game.

But two key values were the definitive winners for job satisfaction; although salary seems a rather natural driver taking 15% of the responses, it was company culture that outstripped the others to be the biggest consideration by many. 

But what does this mean for people? Often this refers to people being able to after a company culture that could allow them to develop and be part of a collaborative team. Company culture can summarise somewhere that they can feel at ease with colleagues and bosses as well as trusted to carry out tasks independently and come up with creative solutions. Perhaps this could also be a company with a vision and values that they can contribute towards.

Overall, the mixed spread of results and the fact that each value was usually chosen in conjunction with others shows that elements of all of the above go towards job satisfaction. It's all very well if a job has a great salary, but if the company culture is bad or the commute is long, then this will affect a worker's opinion on their career choice.

Equally, jobs where company culture is innovative and exciting will only go so far towards satisfying a person if they are not being adequately paid. What people really value, is a balance between each of the factors, rather than one far exceeding the other.

Amongst the other high ranking values such as ‘training opportunities’ and ‘chances of promotion’, there were a few other interesting factors which people detailed. We had a look at these in more depth and how they can create a good sense of job satisfaction.  

Work life balance

This is a perennial problem for most jobs, particularly the fact that going up the career ladder means increased responsibility and therefore more hours. Companies that offer flexible work and unlimited holidays are perhaps moving in the right direction, especially as more work can be done remotely with access to the Cloud for office files etc. See our article 'Does the 4 day working week work?' for more detail.

Group morale

Teamwork is essential in business, but it is not simply the organisation of people to achieve results; the members of the team need to feel like they are sincerely appreciated and that their opinions are valued by bosses and other team members. If team members feel safe to be creative without harsh criticism then you are more likely to get brighter, innovative ideas as everyone feels valued and working towards a common goal. This in turn makes employees enthusiastic and more passionate about what they do and feel like they are making a difference.

Diverse and challenging work

In general, we’ve seen that employees enjoy having variety in their schedules so that they maintain an interest in the company and don't feel 'stuck' in one position. Challenges were indicated as something exciting to work towards and employees relished the opportunity to put their minds to the test to come up with new ideas and solutions.

Quality of the workplace

We have looked at how workplaces have become more and more imaginative to cater to the needs of 21st century business people in our previous article on 'The millenial workplace', and again it can be that the office itself could, in some places, make a big difference. For example, open architectural spaces can be more conducive to collaborative work.

Content matters

However, it’s the content of the work which is what drives the business and the job offered so people must be hired that actually want to contribute towards the vision. It’s therefore important for both the manger, and for the person accepting a role, that the employee is enthusiastic about the position. 

Desire for Autonomy

A response we received quite a lot was that people wanted to be trusted to carry out their own tasks and really own and lead a project. They wanted the creative and operational freedom to carry out tasks and develop their ideas, the chance to innovate and bring something new to a business.

Sense of progress and growth

Everyone wants to feel like they are contributing to both the progress of the company and themselves as a professional. People want to feel empowered and trusted in the advancement of the company, having a stake somehow in its development.

So, although company culture and salary were the highest ranking aspects, we can see that it is not just one factor in isolation, but a balance of these which will really be drivers to create a fulfilling career.  

 

Read the next instalment of the Question of the Month series asking what is the biggest driver of business success throughout different industries here

Have your say in our latest Question of the Month here!