There is a definite correlation between employee job satisfaction and overall business success. The connection? The person’s work attitude and how they feel about being in the workplace. It impacts the outlook of the team, state of the office, and general productivity.
What Are Work Attitudes?
Work attitudes are the varying feelings and emotional impressions that people have towards different aspects of the work environment. The concept is derived from organisational psychology and covers a wide range of ways in which job satisfaction can be defined.
Two of the most essential attitudes are job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Job satisfaction entails the feelings people have toward their job, while organisational commitment refers to the emotional attachment employees have toward the company they work for.
Why Are They Important?
When employees have positive work attitudes, they're more likely to perform better and be good ambassadors of the company and its values.
Most importantly, positive attitudes result in less employee absenteeism and staff turnover within a short period.
Companies that successfully create cultures that yield positive work attitudes usually also provide better customer service and enjoy high levels of employee productivity. Highly committed employees quickly embrace the company's values and strive to achieve its goals.
These attitudes are of utmost importance because of their impact on a company's overall performance.
How Do We Determine The Attitudes Of Employees?
Work attitudes are influenced by several factors such as personality and an individual's ability to fit within an organisation. Other significant factors to impact attitudes are characteristics such as perceptions of organisational justice, relationships with colleagues, company policies, and the stress levels associated with the job.
These characteristics vary in significance for each person. Some people value growth and are more fulfilled and satisfied when their jobs help them develop new skills and enhance their professional repertoire. Other employees value autonomy at work or thrive on performing significant tasks that allow them to use various skills.
The University of Minnesota's book on organisational behaviour notes that people's perception of equity and the unwritten ground rules of an organisation are two significant determinants of work attitudes.
Equity in the workplace refers to organisational justice, and it influences work attitudes based on how fairly employees are treated. Fairness of company policies and procedures is usually assessed through how supervisors treat their subordinates, as well as fairness in remuneration, recognition, and rewards.
According to the book, organisational justice can be classified into three categories:
- Procedural - fairness based on policies and processes such as the delegation of duties.
- Distributive - fairness based on the allocation of resources, compensation, and benefits.
- Interactional - fairness based on the extent to which people are treated with respect and dignity.
The foundation of organisational justice is built on trust, and is easier to break than to repair once it has been negated.
Unwritten Ground Rules
Unwritten ground rules are referred to as ‘the psychological contract’ and allude to the informal understanding that an employee will contribute certain things to a company in exchange for certain things in return. Under this contract, an employee usually assumes and believes that if they work hard and receive good performance evaluations, they will receive a bonus, a raise, or a promotion.
Additional factors such as relationships at work and stress also have tremendous effects on work attitudes.
Relationships with coworkers and managers are strong predictors of an employee's happiness at work and commitment to a company. Friendliness, social acceptance, and respectful treatment are all essential gauges of an employee's frame of mind.
Employee relationships with managers can be judged in terms of how considerate the manager is towards the employee and whether a trust-based relationship can be formed between the two. These are critical requirements for job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Managers that listen to their employees show that they value them and, in turn, make them feel good and get the best out of them.
The stress levels induced by a job are equally as significant as relationships with managers in determining employee commitment and satisfaction. These levels can be affected by several factors such as environmental conditions that range from noise to heat or interpersonal factors such as organisational politics or conflicts with coworkers.
Organisational factors such as the pressure to avoid making mistakes or worrying about job security also contribute to stress. Clarity concerning an employee's role is another source of stress that manifests when an employee is uncertain about their responsibilities or notices contradictory demands at work.
More often than not, high stress levels are tantamount to low job satisfaction.
How To Assess Work Attitudes
One method of assessing work attitudes is through surveys administered from within a company.
Of course, the success of surveys is contingent on management's credibility in the eyes of employees. If you do not take action in response to the surveys, employees may develop a cynical attitude towards the company and regard the surveys flippantly.
In Regular Feedback Sessions
Managers should use regular feedback or performance review sessions to gauge how each member of their team is coping in the workplace. Pay close attention to how they respond to you and feel about their job.
If it is obvious that there is a problem, give the person the floor and try to get to the bottom of what is on their mind. From there, you will be in a position to collectively work out a way to move forward into a space that is positive and beneficial for everyone involved.
At The Exit Interview
Exit interviews involve a meeting between a departing employee and a member of human resources or senior management. The aim of the interview is to glean insights about employee satisfaction and use them to help management make better decisions on improving company culture and practices.
It is crucial to keep a finger on the pulse of how satisfied and committed your employees are to your business. If you believe that any one person is falling into a negative space, put aside some time to get to the bottom of the problem and support them through it. Doing so will ensure everyone on the team stays on their A-Game and is able to give their job their all.