18 Tips For Maintaining Job Satisfaction And Productivity

18 Tips For Maintaining Job Satisfaction And Productivity

Share post:

Job satisfaction and productivity correlate with each other. Satisfied employees are more motivated to pursue excellence and productivity. Conversely, earning awards at work can fulfill the desire for success and enhance motivation. Satisfaction and productivity have close ties. Work environment is also a significant factor. A work environment that hinders productivity is frustrating, inhibiting performance.

So how can we maintain job satisfaction and productivity? Businesses need to understand and tap into intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation. People flourish in a supportive environment that acknowledges good performance. An external merit-based reward system also helps push people to be better.

Motivation from work can come from intrinsic factors directly related to task completion. People naturally feel good about accomplishments, especially for challenging and high-impact work. Extrinsic rewards such as awards, promotions, and bonuses are also crucial for maintaining motivation. Finally, a work environment that supports excellent performance helps bring in ambitious talent and encourages teams to bring their best into the game. 

Tapping Into Internal Motivators

Intrinsic motivation is defined by J.T. O’Donnell, Founder of Work It Daily, as “the internal mindset that will make you want to get up every day and want to do the best work possible.”

Internal motivators are intrinsic to the work itself. They drive people to perform well and help them find satisfaction in their duties. That’s not to say that money is not a factor. People work for their daily living. However, many people have a drive to improve themselves or contribute to a greater mission.

A benefit to internal motivators is that leveraging them tends to be cost-effective. Fostering internal motivation is often highly personal. Doing so has many aspects, such as ensuring that employees understand why they have a specific task or duty. Many items in this list are also essential to proper project management. Reviewing this list can help employees and managers identify points for further improvement.

1. Set SMART Goals

Work is always done in pursuit of goals, whether short-term targets or long-term outcomes. Continuously working without clear goals is a recipe for burnout and disappointment. Hence, employees must regularly assess their goals and how they can meet them as they work.

A good framework for setting goals is the SMART framework. The SMART acronym lists the five characteristics of effective goals: 

  • Specific: Goals should have clear definitions. They need to describe the desired end outcome after finishing the relevant tasks. It should be easy to tell if a team or employee met their goals.
  • Measurable: Goals should have clear metrics to help with monitoring and evaluation. For example, “more audience reach” is vague. A better goal would be “30% higher average page views for the last month.”
  • Achievable: It’s good to aim high. However, goals should be reasonable. Excessively difficult or overwhelming objectives can disempower and frustrate work teams. Aim to set goals near the edge of current capabilities to maximize productivity and motivation.
  • Relevant: Goals should also apply to higher-order objectives and lead to desired changes within the company. Managers and executives are responsible for aligning team goals to the company’s vision.
  • Time-Bound: Goals that have indefinite timelines can confuse and discourage prompt action. At the same time, goals with stringent timelines can increase difficulty. Aim for plans that have definite and reasonable deadlines.

2. Ensure Work-Life Balance

Workers should not be required to dedicate most of their time to work. However, many still neglect important aspects of their life to work longer. It’s true that some jobs demand more time. Regardless, it’s unsustainable for workers to sacrifice other parts of their lives for their jobs’ sake.

Many companies are formally implementing work-life balancing. Employees need to be able to set boundaries around their work and personal lives. Conversely, managers should understand that a work-life balance is critical for their employees to perform well.

3. Build Supportive Networks

Most people are naturally inclined to form connections with others. Positive social bonds with officemates helps create a support system for employees. A network like this significantly improves job satisfaction and productivity. After all, work is more enjoyable when you have friends in the office.

However, note that people form connections differently. Some office activities, like office parties, can help. However, they might not work for more introverted employees. It’s therefore best to have multiple methods of interaction. Also, the more organic, the better. Rather than force or require attendance, it’s best to allow employees the agency to join. Alternatively, create interactions with smaller groups, such as going out to coffee.

4. Increase Employee Agency and Foster Creativity

Having agency at work means having some influence over how you work. Healthy levels of agency empower people and encourage them to engage their roles. Exploring unique and creative work methods allows people to express themselves. Increased agency typically also improves employee efficiency.

Creativity works best when it’s an internal motivator for your people. The actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, said, “if your creativity is driven by a desire to get attention, you’re never going to be creatively fulfilled.”

5. Align Competencies to Responsibilities

A crucial element of intrinsic job motivation is alignment between people and their jobs. That’s why it’s valuable to have a skilled HR department and robust hiring policies. It’s best to have people in jobs where they can excel. However, it’s possible for people to end up with jobs that don’t match their skills.

People who consistently feel inadequate in their roles should receive support from the company. This support can take the form of upskilling through training. Upskilling can help them handle their responsibilities. It’s also beneficial to realign their expectations and conduct internal role reviews. Sometimes, the reason an employee feels inadequate is because they’re doing tasks outside their role.

On the other hand, employees in this situation should also reflect on what they need to improve. It can also help the company help them if they can define the kind of support they need.

The opposite scenario can also happen. Consider the problem of an overqualified employee. Someone overqualified for their role may feel bored in it. The role might also stifle the employee’s growth. If an employee receives duties below their skill set, they might grow to resent the job. It’s valuable to help employees identify opportunities for advancement.

This includes promotions, pay raises, or horizontal movement within the company. Competent people may feel inspired to go beyond what you expect of them as they take on more responsibilities. However, remember to compensate them for it!

For a more in-depth look at the value of job satisfaction, read our article, “Job Satisfaction vs. Job Performance”.

6. Align Employee and Company Values

Alignment is more than just matching skills with duties. People do their best when their goals are similar to the company’s objectives. People take jobs for multiple reasons. Chief among them is typically compensation, but they may have other goals too. For example, they might be aiming to gain more experience in a specific industry. It’s also possible that they support the company’s mission, vision, or values. Duties that don’t align to these other goals may sap employee motivation and productivity.

People should evaluate what it means to work in a specific company and industry. Regularly assessing if there are values alignment can reinforce their motivation to stay at their current work. However, mismatched values aren’t the end. People can still find job satisfaction in different ways.

7. Find Or Create Meaning

It is important for everyone to find meaning in their work. Why are you working in your current role? Why did you choose a specific company? Constant self-reflection helps you draw strength from your work and to continue pursuing your goals.

Leveraging External Motivators

External motivational factors are also important aspects of job satisfaction and productivity. A positive work culture won’t replace proper compensation. No one will want to work in a job where they are overworked and underpaid.

Cost-effectiveness is important, but a company’s greatest asset is its people. It’s in a company’s best interest to invest in its most potent asset. That can come in the form of competitive compensation and other benefits. Showing that employees are valued and recognizing their efforts helps encourage teams to do their best at work.

8. Recognize Success

The most basic advice for external motivation is to ensure that successes are appropriately recognized. Rajat Singhal, the founder of Black Basil Technologies, says, “by focusing on what each individual brings to the table and encouraging them to tap into their strengths, you can help your team to achieve their full potential.”

Recognizing top performers and effective actions requires careful analysis. It’s not unusual for management to ignore an effective team and favor people adept at self-promotion.

It’s a good idea for management to dedicate time and resources to recognizing employee efforts. Relying exclusively on internal motivation is a trap. Doing a good day’s work for its own sake isn’t sustainable and shouldn’t be an expectation.

A message after any significant task is an excellent way to recognize success. Leaders should also highlight employee strengths during review and coaching sessions. More formal methods of recognition are also helpful. These can include awarding ceremonies, or even employee-of-the-month posts.

On the employee side, it’s a good idea to find time to celebrate your achievements. Seeing where you did well helps you focus on what you enjoy about work. It can also help keep you motivated to pursue your other goals

9. Use Feedback

Feedback is a powerful tool that more teams should utilize. Many employees view feedback negatively, especially if they only receive it after a mistake. Managers also often see positive feedback as unnecessary. However, positive feedback has a critical role in improving employee performance. It highlights what people should do more of and creates an incentive to do well.

It also helps to reframe mistakes as something positive. Instead of punishing an employee, it can help to use their mistakes as an avenue they can take to improve. That doesn’t mean sugarcoating feedback. Instead, it means identifying employee weaknesses. The context for this is to help them improve and perform better overall.

According to Ian, founder of Workcrib, “accepting failure means recognizing that it is a part of the learning process and that each failure is an opportunity to try again, to learn and grow, and to eventually reach success.”

10. Evaluate Performance Holistically

A comprehensive performance evaluation goes back to the importance of SMART goals. Specifically, having measurable and relevant goals helps measure job performance. It’s true that results matter. But it also helps to analyze employee behaviors, practices, and attitudes. Find out what they did that helped them perform well. A single-minded focus on results leads to inconsistent performance. Conversely, rewarding a good work process and output helps replicate and scale employee successes.

11. Review Pay

Compensation is a central part of why people go to work. Therefore, managers should make it a top priority when it comes to external motivators. Some things to consider:

  • Is it competitive with the job market?
  • Does it match what your competitors offer?
  • Are the job responsibilities and requirements equivalent to compensation?

Another system that may help is creating a merit-based reward system. A well-designed system ensures fair wages, and can encourage high performance. A robust compensation structure acknowledges everyone’s efforts. More importantly, it gives recognition to top performers. It does increase some expenses, but those costs are more than offset by the value your people can give, and the increase in job satisfaction your teams feel.

12. Consider Providing Benefits

Benefits and non-monetary rewards are also effective ways to compensate your people for their time and effort. Many people would like a high salary. However, benefits such as more leave days, bonuses, gym memberships, or conveniences like a company car or phone are equally valid. It’s vital that employers offer benefits that provide value to their employees.

Companies can often provide a broad suite of benefits. As such, job seekers and employees should be able to negotiate compensation packages that suit their needs. As an employer or manager, be ready to try unique ways to compensate your people — especially your top performers!

Work Environments for Productivity

Work experience is more than just balancing job responsibilities with perks and benefits. The physical working environment of an employee has a large effect on their performance and job satisfaction. Attention to work environment has increased, especially with the push for work from anywhere. Companies with physical offices should take note that people working from anywhere can optimize their homes for how they work. It may be a good idea to devote resources to help teams design their office space in a way that suits them best.

13. Create a Positive Work Culture

Many companies advertise positive work environments, but positivity may vary from office to office. As a general rule, employees like offices that care for them and provide them what they need to perform well. This typically includes:

  • Clear communication
  • Aligned expectations
  • Merit-based compensation
  • Recognition for performance
  • Effective support systems

All these things can help create a positive work culture.

According to Harvard Business Review, “well-being comes from one place, and one place only — a positive culture.”

14. Encourage Innovation and Creativity

With the competitiveness of today’s economy, the ability to innovate is an emerging skill that can make or break companies. As such, any organization would benefit when the culture of innovation permeates through all levels of its hierarchy. No matter the role or position, there will always be opportunities to find creative solutions and implement innovative methods.

A good working culture encourages people to take measured risks, experiment with improvements to their work, and constantly find ways to improve.

15. Improve Communication

Being able to communicate complex concepts is an underrated skill. Communication allows employees to understand what is expected of them and how they can play their roles within the company. Communication also allows teams to act agile and to navigate changes.

Everyone at work should strive to be better communicators. Using concise and specific language while communicating with understanding can defuse conflicts, improve collaboration, and enhance efficiency.

Learn how communication and other factors impact positive work experiences, especially in remote settings, through our article, “The Importance of Employee Experience in a Remote Work Environment.”

16. Always Present Opportunities

Many people crave opportunities for improvement, development, and advancement. Unfortunately, some leaders need more time to be occupied with the never-ending list of deliverables that they need to craft strategies for improving their teams and their people.

Identifying opportunities should be a key focus of any company, and systems for identifying and utilizing improvement strategies should be internalized in corporate policy. Employees themselves need to keep a sharp eye on opportunities to improve their skills and the value they bring to the company.

17. Develop Mentorship Programs

Mentorship is one component in ensuring that the workforce obtains and develops relevant skill sets. People with supportive and effective mentors can grow their behaviors and competencies to qualify for more impactful roles. Mentors can also help diagnose job satisfaction and performance issues, allowing employees to solve any underlying problems and achieve their goals.

18. Encourage Neatness and Organization

Messy workplaces are a bane to efficiency. Much of how traditional offices are arranged, including the use of cubicles and the enforcement of clean desks, were implemented to keep workplaces tidy and reduce distractions.

Workplace organization remains relevant even in the age of remote and non-standardized workspaces. While companies no longer benefit from forcing employees to clear their desks, encouraging customization orderly helps reduce clutter and makes it easier to do great work.

Learn more about the impacts of remote work on motivation in our article, “Work From Anywhere Impact on Job Satisfaction and Productivity.”

Who are the people most responsible for ensuring job satisfaction and productivity?

Everyone has their roles to play in making work more fulfilling and productive. Employees can take many tips in this article to improve their relationships with work, find happiness, and increase the value they bring to themselves and others. Management is responsible for implementing policies and procedures to bring out the best in their employees and create effective work environments.  

Why do some people think job satisfaction and productivity are incompatible?

This line of thinking stems from the mistaken belief that people always want to take it easy. Under this framework, tasks that bring more value to the company are also ones that require more responsibilities. Work difficulties are unavoidable in high-impact work; therefore, employees naturally have to trade satisfaction for productivity. However, the tips in this article prove that it is possible and desirable for people to pursue fulfillment and efficiency simultaneously. Learn about these two concepts through our article, “Job Satisfaction vs. Job Performance.”

Share post: