Job Satisfaction Exposed: 5 Keys to Improving Work Happiness

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imagePeople that focus on happiness and talk about happiness often end up making it elusive.

They chase it, but they can never catch it.

What is the truth about workplace happiness?

What are the real keys to improving job performance and satisfaction in the workplace?

In Social Psychology: Theories, Research, and Applications, Robert S. Feldman identifies key dimensions that influence your performance and satisfaction.

Don’t Focus on Making People Happy

It’s not about making people “happy.”

Instead, the keys to improving job satisfaction are: improving autonomy, skill variety, task identity, task significance, and feedback loops.

In plain English, it means empowering people with meaningful tasks where they can feel their impact, while growing their skills.   This is how people find their flow and improve, while enjoying the job they’re in.

5 Key Job Dimensions of Work Happiness

The key job dimensions are:

  1. Skill variety
  2. Task identity
  3. Task significance
  4. Autonomy
  5. Feedback

The 5 Key Job Dimensions of Work Happiness Explained

Feldman explains what the five key job dimensions are:

  1. Skill variety: the degree to which the job requires different skills underlying the activities that are part of the job.
  2. Task identity: the degree to which an individual produces a whole, identifiable unit of work (versus completion of a small unit which is not an identifiable final product).
  3. Task significance: the degree to which the job has an influence over others.
  4. Autonomy: the degree to which an individual holding a job is able to schedule his or her activities and decide on the particular procedures to be employed.
  5. Feedback: the extent to which clear, precise information about the effectiveness of performance is conveyed.

Improve Job Dimensions to for Higher Performance, Motivation and Satisfaction

Improving the job dimensions improves job performance and satisfaction.

Feldman writes:

“Improving the job dimensions improves higher productivity, increases motivation and job satisfaction, high-quality performance and lower-levels of absenteeism and turnover. The following table is based on Hackman & Oldham (1976).”

Feldman shares a summary of table of high job satisfaction:

Job Dimension Psychological States Outcomes
Skill variety
Task identity
Task significance
Meaningfulness of work High motivation and satisfaction
Autonomy Perceived responsibility High-quality work
Feedback Knowledge of results Low absenteeism and turnover

While I don’t think the categories are a surprise, I like the precision and the mapping.  If you’re feeling a lack in the “Outcomes” column, check the corresponding “Job Dimension” column to see what the underlying issue might be.

3 COMMENTS

  1. i really got screwed on providing feedback. It is not that i was not doing it rather the way i did. It was perceived as micromanagement and hurt autonomy dimension

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