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What is Job Satisfaction? Meaning, Elements & Complete Guide

Author: Emma Williams
Author: Emma Williams

Chief Research Officer at HIGH5

Table of Contents
Stop guessing your natural talents. Find out your strengths now.

While the concept of job satisfaction is frequently discussed, truly understanding what drives it and how to foster it remains a challenge for many organizations. Job satisfaction is an essential objective that significantly impacts organizational performance, yet its achievement often eludes employers. A powerful solution lies in the HIGH5 strengths assessment. By illuminating the unique motivations and talents of each employee, the HIGH5 empowers organizations to cultivate a strengths-based culture primed for engagement, productivity, and fulfillment. This data-driven approach provides invaluable insights for structuring roles, development plans, and the overall employee experience in a way that unlocks potential and maximizes satisfaction.

That is why HR professionals need to understand the factors that could boost employee satisfaction. It is also crucial that they learn more about how job satisfaction may contribute to its overall achievement.

This article will delve into what job satisfaction stands for and how to improve employees’ job satisfaction. We will also be looking at the different factors that affect job satisfaction and how you can measure job satisfaction.

What Is Job Satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is described as how employees feel engaged and fulfilled in their work. It is the employees’ level of satisfaction with their job. Job satisfaction occurs when employees feel that their job is secure and safe.

Employees’ career development and comfortable work-life balance affect job satisfaction levels. Furthermore, job satisfaction is also affected by employees’ ability to perform their essential duties, the organization’s quality of communication, and how management treats them.

There are two levels of job satisfaction – effective job satisfaction and cognitive job satisfaction. Effective job satisfaction refers to an individual’s holistic emotional reaction to their job.

Cognitive work satisfaction refers to how fulfilled an individual is with their employment. These include areas such as income, working hours, or perks.

Why Is Job Satisfaction Important?

Job satisfaction should be a top priority for all HR professionals, as it directly impacts key outcomes like employee retention, productivity, and overall organizational success. One effective way to boost satisfaction is through leveraging the HIGH5 strengths assessment. By identifying employees’ unique talents and motivations, organizations can tailor roles, responsibilities, and development opportunities to their inherent strengths. This personalized, strengths-based approach helps ensure better employee-job fit, increasing engagement and fulfillment. The HIGH5 assessment provides invaluable insights for aligning individual needs with organizational objectives in a manner that unlocks potential and drives performance.

A satisfied employee is loyal to the organization and acts as the organization’s brand ambassador to others. Employees happy with their jobs are more devoted to the organization and its goals.

They are willing to go the additional mile to complete their assigned tasks and responsibilities. Satisfied employees also take pleasure in their work, contributing selflessly to achieve the team’s goals.

List of 10 benefits of job satisfaction:

  1. Decreases employee turnover.
  2. Reduces employee absenteeism.
  3. Boosts employees’ work performance and productivity level.
  4. Reduces the level of unionization.
  5. Reduces the number of workplace accidents from happening.
  6. Creates a conducive working environment.
  7. Generates faster and more sustainable growth as well as increased revenues.
  8. Increased customer/client satisfaction.
  9. Improves employees’ ability to handle pressure and change.
  10. Retains talented employees and top performers within the organization.

10 Proven Ways to Increase Job Satisfaction


Communication is crucial for sustaining satisfaction on an organizational and individual level. This is illustrated by empowering employees to be honest and participative in discussions in the workplace.

A safe work environment allows employees to express their opinions openly without fear of being punished.

Organizational Culture

Building an excellent organizational culture will impact job satisfaction positively. A great working culture highlights the organization’s core values, vision, and mission to all employees.

Furthermore, it also provides guidelines on areas ranging from the organization’s objectives to suitable levels of inter-employee engagement.


Once the culture has been established, a sense of security and stability can improve employees’ job satisfaction. Security may come from believing that you are working for a growing organization with long-term ambitions. Knowing this will also allow employees to instill a sense of belonging towards the organization.


Leadership plays a vital role in keeping employees satisfied and happy. Leadership can increase employees’ motivation and inspire them to achieve a common goal.

This is done by ensuring employees accept and understand their communication and instructions. Employees’ job satisfaction levels increase when they believe their leaders can lead them through any challenges.


Job satisfaction increases when employees are given opportunities to try challenging tasks. Employees can participate in new and exciting projects while moving away from their daily routine with these opportunities.

Career Advancement

Job satisfaction may increase when employees work with their managers to develop a personalized career development plan. Aside from the usual performance review, employees may be satisfied and happy to stay in the organization with many growth opportunities.

Workplace conditions

Job satisfaction increases when the workplace environment is flexible and collaborative. Such an environment includes a workplace that values differing opinions and perspectives and genuine and constructive feedback.

Furthermore, employees also prefer working in an organization free from discrimination and prejudices.

Personality of the employee

Most of the factors associated with job satisfaction lie beyond the employees’ control (such as management leadership and communication). How about the employees themselves? It has also been found that an employee’s proactiveness may influence job satisfaction.

Is the employee proactive in seeking feedback from their manager? Does the employee go above and beyond to perform their tasks? Does the individual strive to adhere to the organization’s rules and regulations?

Is the employee taking the initiative to lead meetings and ask for clarification when in doubt questions when unclear how to perform a task? If yes, these employees are more likely to be satisfied at work.

Being proactive in the workplace can result in favorable performance ratings. When employees feel that the organization values and acknowledges their efforts, this can increase job satisfaction.

Compensation and benefits

Employee views of sufficient compensation and benefits are also related to job satisfaction. Yes, compensation and benefits are not the only reasons employees are satisfied at work.

However, research dating back more than 30 years reveals that employees ranked compensation and benefits high on the list among all the other job satisfaction factors.

Reward and acknowledgment

Aside from monetary gain and competitive salary, job satisfaction for employees implies that the career promotion process is straightforward and consistent with their expectations.

It has been shown that job satisfaction is not just related to salary. But it is also linked to the employee perceptions of how fair the organization is to recognize and reward them for their successes.

Pro Tip From HIGH5

After taking the HIGH5 assessment, have employees list out 2-3 specific ways their top strengths could be better applied at work through adjustments to responsibilities, collaboration opportunities, or flex projects. Engage managers in creatively reworking roles to align with strengths. Also consider implementing “strengthsffield days” where employees temporarily swap roles to tap into different strengths. Continuously evaluate how to accentuate strengths.

Factors of Workplace Satisfaction

Competitive salaries and perks are not sufficient to keep employees motivated and happy.

The following is a brief overview of some factors that may influence job satisfaction:


According to the SHRM research, being respectful to employees is essential for job satisfaction.


Employees mentioned that trust between themselves and top management was another critical element in job satisfaction. Perhaps, this may be due to the workplace uncertainty caused by the Great Recession.


It can be highly stressful if you go to work every day wondering when you will get fired. Organizations could offer a sense of security by being open and honest about their organization’s health.

In addition, organizations can also provide quarterly updates or news about the organization to the employees.

Healthy work environment

A healthy work environment is free of tension, hostility, and discriminatory behaviors. Such workplaces may foster a harmonious and happy atmosphere for everybody.

The clarity in job roles and opportunities for career advancement

Organizations have to communicate their expectations clearly to the employees. Only through understanding what is expected of them can employees add value and make the most impact in their jobs.

Invest time to understand what their career goals and aspirations are. Then, work together to set milestones to help them progress toward their goals.

Salary and benefits

Salaries aren’t the only reason employees are satisfied with their work. However, they are usually at the top of the wishlist of every employee.

Competitive salaries and benefits can help in making employees feel appreciated and satisfied. They will also have less motivation to look for another job that pays them well.

Pro Tip From HIGH5

Leverage the HIGH5 results to map out potential career paths and milestone roles for each employee based on their strengths profile. Identify skills to develop and experiences to gain that would make them an exceptional fit for future opportunities. Collaboratively set development goals anchored in applying strengths, while gaining supplemental knowledge. This proactive strengths-based advancement planning increases motivation and retention.

How To Measure Job Satisfaction?

Measuring the pulse of your organization was mainly confined to the annual engagement surveys or performance reviews. However, the world of work is changing. The workplace is becoming more competitive and agile.

An annual engagement survey or review is not a practical method anymore. If checking your employees once a year is all your organization does, you may want to reconsider this more frequently.

All organizations nowadays emphasize the importance of real-time data. Metrics for job satisfaction are no exception. The benefit of real-time data allows managers to respond to any problems that arise instantly rather than waiting until the end of the year.

You may consider using the following methods to measure job satisfaction among employees:

Schedule one-on-one meetings

1-on-1 meetings allow you to grasp the needs and problems of each employee better. Employees will feel more supported and express their thoughts during a face-to-face meeting. You will obtain valuable information about the workplace when you listen to them.

Scheduling frequent one-on-one meetings with your employees can also help you gauge your employees’ morale and overall workplace culture. You can consider scheduling one-on-one sessions regularly for the best outcomes.

Conduct Surveys

Surveys are one of the most effective ways to measure job satisfaction among employees and the culture in your workplace. Pulse surveys are one approach that companies are currently using to obtain employee data.

The method is comparable to annual surveys, but it delves deeper into your employees’ feelings. Because pulse surveys are not as detailed as annual surveys, they require less time to finish. It is critical to make sure that these surveys are anonymous.

This is to ensure that the responses are genuine and give meaningful information. Employees will be eager to highlight problems or express worries if their names are not tied to their feedback.

Employee Performance Review

Employee performance reviews are essential for both employees and the organization. Employee performance reviews have several advantages when effectively implemented.

It helps in tracking your employees’ progress and performance objectives for the overall success of your organization. Performance management software can show you which employees are the top and least performing.

It can enable you to address poor performance in your team and boost your team’s overall productivity. Such software also helps you have constructive performance appraisal meetings with your employees.

A crucial thing to remember is that employee performance reviews should be focused on your employees. The objective of performance reviews is to find out how you can help employees become more productive and achieve their potential.

How to Improve Job Satisfaction?

Focus on The Culture

The behaviors of an organization’s leadership team have an impact on its culture. Employees desire that they are all treated with respect and fairness by their leaders.

Senior leaders serve as role models by treating others with respect and holding others accountable for doing the same. Effective communication and employee-friendly organizational policies are examples of showing respect to others.

Build Trust

Senior management must build trust with all their employees. For an organization to be successful, employees need to have faith in their leadership team.

You can earn your employees’ trust by acting with integrity and reliability in all that you do. You need to show that you can be trusted by putting their words into action.

Increase job benefits

Find out the benefits that your employees value and desire. You can also benchmark your compensation package to see if the one you offer is competitive.

Pay attention to health and medical benefits, annual leaves, work-life balance, and family-oriented perks.

Provide job security

You can alleviate any job insecurity among your employees by engaging with them. Share about your organization’s financial condition, strategic visions, and overall performance. Employees feel more secure in their jobs when they know the organization is financially stable and performing well.

Enhance employee relationships

Job satisfaction is also linked to the employee’s relationships with their coworkers. You can organize your employees into teams to develop new ideas to solve challenging problems. Organize team-building exercises to create and deepen the connections.

Concentrate on employee engagement

Invest time and effort in fostering a culture where employees can grow and enjoy working. Keep an eye on your organization’s employee engagement surveys.

Look at what your employees enjoy or don’t enjoy about the organization. Then, devise a plan to tackle the areas lacking and strengthen those that encourage engagement.

Create opportunities for career progression

Employees are looking for opportunities to grow and progress in their careers. You can create coaching and mentoring programs or leadership skill development to develop your talented employees.

Developing succession planning can ensure you have a healthy pipeline of talents ready to be promoted when higher-level job positions become available.

Provide on-the-job training

Employees appreciate organizations that invest in providing on-the-job training to their existing employees. As a result, employees are more engaged in their jobs, and their performance and productivity levels also increase.

Provide opportunities for professional growth

Investing in your employees’ career development will make them feel appreciated and have opportunities to grow in their careers. Professional development includes providing them with training to upskill their existing skills and expertise.

Organizing them to attend courses will help improve employees’ knowledge in a particular field.

Outline a specific career pathway

Create a personalized development plan for your high-performing employees. A personalized development plan will ensure that your employees are ready for promotions and greater job responsibilities.

Use employees’ performance reviews to help them identify any skill gaps and design a skill improvement plan. If they want a different career path, feel free to suggest them free online career aptitude test. Nobody doesn’t want unhappy employee on their team.

Improve relationships with direct managers

Job satisfaction is strongly related to employees’ relationship with their immediate boss. You can provide proper training and a road map for employees promoted to managerial positions.

It will help the newly promoted managers to form healthy relationships with their team members.

Acknowledge and reward employees’ performance

Employees want to feel that the management appreciates their efforts and achievements. So, make sure that you make it a habit to show your appreciation and recognition regularly to your employees.

15 Examples of Job Satisfaction

  • Convenience, comfort, and appeal of working locations.
  • Employees commute to work locations.
  • Habits, norms, and expectations of the organization and team.
  • Political environment within the organization.
  • The pace of change at the organization.
  • Hybrid working mode or flexible working hours.
  • Employees’ sense of job security.
  • Career progression and career development opportunities.
  • Travel requirements of a job.
  • Excessive workload or lack of meaningful/challenging work.
  • Policies, rules, and regulations of an organization.
  • Transparent communication across all levels within the organization.
  • Mutual trust between organization and employees.
  • Compensation and benefits package of the employees.
  • Opportunity for work-life balance.

FAQ About Job Satisfaction

What are the five components of job satisfaction?

There are five major components to job satisfaction. These five factors are engagement, respect for employees (showing you appreciate their work), motivating employees, home/work balance, and agreed-upon compensation.

All of these components allow the employee to feel comfortable at work and keep them motivated. Both compensation and appreciation, for instance, boost employee confidence and in turn increase satisfaction.

What causes job satisfaction?

Many factors can contribute to an employee’s job satisfaction. They need to be recognized and feel appreciated for their work. This is usually done through praise and compensation as well.

Independence and calmness at work, such as with adequate breaks, boost satisfaction. Additionally, they must feel like their work is truly meaningful. This is done by connecting company goals with individual goals.

Finally, achieving their goals and seeing the positive impact of their work also boosts job satisfaction.

Case Studies, Academic, and Research-Based Sources:

  1. Judge, T. A., & Bono, J. E. (2001). “Relationship of Core Self-Evaluations Traits—Self-Esteem, Generalized Self-Efficacy, Locus of Control, and Emotional Stability—With Job Satisfaction and Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Applied Psychology.
  2. Spector, P. E. (1997). “Job Satisfaction: Application, Assessment, Causes, and Consequences.” Sage Publications.
  3. Greenberg, J., & Baron, R. A. (2000). “Behavior in Organizations.” Prentice Hall.
  4. Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). “Motivation through the Design of Work: Test of a Theory.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance.
  5. Vroom, V. H. (1964). “Work and Motivation.” Wiley.
  6. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). “Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being.” American Psychologist.
Author: Emma Williams - Chief Research Officer at HIGH5
Author: Emma Williams - Chief Research Officer at HIGH5

Emma is a certified strengths and career coach with more than 25 years of international experience in helping individuals and organizations achieve success by nailing and maximizing their unique value propositions. She is an entrepreneur, proud mother and a C-level executive at HIGH5TEST, where she leads its coaching and research programs.

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