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How to increase job satisfaction level

Elizabeth feels burnt out after working on her job for the past 4 years. Initially, she shrugs it off – citing the need to learn more while the environment is fast-paced.

The company offers her additional responsibilities with a bump up in her remuneration, and there is pressure to prove her potential.

Gradually, Elizabeth can’t keep up with the momentum.

She has to work after hours to complete her tasks while addressing day-to-day email communication with her team members who are expecting fast responses.

Elizabeth finds it hard to say ‘no’ as there is limited support from her Manager. With her mind bogged by relentless work, she finds it challenging to be truly satisfied in her job.

Sounds familiar?

You are not alone.

A Gallup survey of 7,500 full-time employees in 2018 reveals that the top 5 reasons for burnout are:

1. Unfair treatment at work

2. Unmanageable workload

3. Lack of role clarity

4. Lack of communication and support from the Manager

5. Unreasonable time pressure

Burnout (from unmanageable workload or insane time pressure) has a direct influence to cause a sharp dive in job satisfaction, as research studies have shown.

A woman mediates to clear her mind

What's the key to unlocking better job satisfaction?

Let’s have a deeper look.

In the late 1950s, Frederick Herzberg, considered by many to be a pioneer in motivation theory, interviewed a group of employees to find out what made them satisfied and dissatisfied with their job. He asked the employees two sets of questions:

1. Think of a time when you felt especially good about your job. Why did you feel that way?

2. Think of a time when you felt especially bad about your job. Why did you feel that way?

From the results, Herzberg theorized that there are 2 dimensions to job satisfaction – "Hygiene Issues" and "Motivators".

Table below shows the factors influencing "Hygiene Issues" and "Motivators".

What's the key to unlocking better job satisfaction?

Inevitably, organization culture and delegation of responsibilities take time to change.

We aren’t here to remove the cogs.

But we can grease the wheels to enable a smooth ride.

It takes time and progressive effort to understand the underlying implications that contribute to a heightened state of job satisfaction in workplaces.

Firstly, shortlist the top 3 Motivators (Satisfiers) by using Frederick Herzberg’s Theory.

If Elizabeth feels that "Work Itself" becomes a chore due to the overburden of tasks (that results in burnout) and her Manager is not taking ways to address it, she may need to explore the rest of the other variables under "Satisfiers".

Let's assume Elizabeth chooses "Achievement" as one of them out of the three.

What is specifically in her job that makes her competent, leading to measurable accomplishments?

For example, if making deals with senior leadership is her expertise, Elizabeth needs to find out if her current role is largely focus on this, or distracted by other tasks.

If Elizabeth is unsure about her capabilities, this is where she needs to be clear where her inner work talent is. Assessment tools like Knowdell Card Sorts (Motivated Skills) is useful to yield results that will lead to deeper self-reflection.

The goal is for Elizabeth to optimize her specific abilities (in this case it's deal-making with C-Suite) to realize her "Achievement". For her to shine through, she needs to have the platform, time and space to showcase her skills.

So, it's also a matter of communicating back to her boss.

Gradually, Elizabeth will find her level of job satisfaction increases drastically, simply because she enjoys what she do and able to taste success.

Where should Elizabeth seek support?

On the other hand, if Elizabeth will like to get independent advice, a qualified and independent Career Coach can guide Elizabeth through a 1:1 coaching session.

The subject matter can be sensitive to her Supervisor or HR Manager.

Speaking to friends will result in well-intentioned but contrasting (and sometimes one-sided) views that may cause more harm than good.

Consulting with a Professional to work things out helps.

For instance, if Elizabeth’s overall definition of "Achievement (Satisfiers)" is making deals with senior leaders, she can discuss with the Coach to get advice on talking to her boss about job re-design - signals to spot, how to pop the question, discuss alternatives etc.

She can work closely with the Coach to prepare a doable strategy.

With this, Elizabeth can then bring this up to discuss with her internal stakeholders with a prepared narrative that includes facts or evidence-based insights.

Since she is in deal-making, she can easily pull out the average value of her opportunities for the past years.

This is a simplistic illustration of the end goal of helping an employee increase her job satisfaction level. Every situation is different.

A virtual Discovery Call may just be the initial step forward.


Burnout is a real issue. While we can’t change the way a company operates, we can have control over how we feel, and what we can do to level up our current job satisfaction level.

We won’t get 100% results, but we can fine-tune to achieve a realistic benchmark.

Using proven theories like Herzberg helps to remove the fog by discovering where the moving parts of job satisfaction are, and what this means.

Identify the core trigger points around it. Finally, work out a feasible plan to engage with your internal stakeholders for a measurable outcome.

If you are still confused, feel free to book a complimentary 30 minutes 1:1 Virtual Discovery Call with me now.

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