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Key Ingredients For Work Satisfaction

Welcome to my Blog, Key Ingredients For Work Satisfaction.    This article was written by Michael W Wierderman, Ph.D, and is actually called The Recipe for Being Happy at Work.  He says there are three key facts.

  1. Research has identified the key ingredients for work satisfaction, including purpose, respect, and autonomy.
  2. The recipe for work satisfaction can serve as a standard for evaluating your experience and making decisions.
  3. No single workplace likely contains all six ingredients, but the recipe serves as an aspirational blueprint.

Research in psychology has identified several core needs that pertain to humans generally, and how these needs can be satisfied or thwarted in the workplace. Unfortunately, simply identifying what people want and need at work doesn’t automatically translate into a healthy work setting, for several reasons. Sometimes an individual’s attempts to meet their unique needs are disruptive to the group. Many times the structure, history, and goals of the organization are at odds with providing an ideal context in which people can work. And any time people come together on a regular basis, group dynamics can get in the way of optimal work conditions.

So, what is the value in articulating a recipe for work satisfaction? Well, without such a recipe the likelihood of making progress toward the ideal is much less likely. Also, the recipe can serve as a guide for evaluating a work setting, and deciding whether you want to join (or stay). Last, knowing the recipe empowers you to possibly create ways to meet at least some of the core needs for yourself, and perhaps even your coworkers.

  1. Meaning and Purpose

Satisfying work is purposeful; it makes a difference. It doesn’t have to be world-changing in impact, but it’s necessary and contributes to some larger goal. Ideally, your work clearly makes a difference to someone somewhere. However, many of us work in specialized areas within large organizations. In those cases, it is important to be able to identify how what you do at work fits within the larger context, and the value of what you do as a contribution to the end goals that are meaningful.

  1. Respect and Fairness

In a satisfying work setting, everyone feels respected as an individual and believes that everyone is treated fairly. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to like each other, or even get along, but there isn’t the perception that some people are put down or treated unequally. As a result, people feel safe being themselves. A key ingredient of an unhealthy workplace is the experience of a blame culture. or the perception that some people are treated differently because they are either scapegoats or “favorites” of management or the group as a whole.

  1. Autonomy and Choice

Generally, we prefer more rather than less choice and control over what we do and how we do it. In fact, humans tend to actively resist encroachment on their autonomy. So, a great way to discourage people is to insist that they have to do something, specifying when and how it has to be done in a rigid, limited way. Depending on the work, such specification may be necessary. In that case, it’s important to emphasize that the rigidity is necessary because of the nature of the work or final product, and not simply because of a supervisor’s needs for power or control. Ideally, workers are given as much latitude as possible as to when and how their work is done.

  1. Camaraderie and Teamwork

Humans are social creatures, and working in a socially supportive setting is important for work satisfaction. Ideally you like the people with whom you work, share some degree of affinity or fellowship, and the group functions well as a cohesive team with a shared identity and mission. The antithesis of camaraderie and teamwork is the formation of cliques and widespread gossip.

  1. Improvement Focus

People performing meaningful work want to do a good job. So, a satisfying work setting includes a shared focus on excellence and continued improvement. Ideally, everyone on the team is invested in doing their best, and helping each other develop professionally. So, candid constructive feedback is the norm, and is provided and received comfortably and appreciated.

  1. Recognition

We need to be “seen” as, and in a satisfying work environment, people feel valued as individuals. Each person’s contributions are recognized by management and the group as a whole. In a healthy work culture, excellence and successes are openly celebrated and rewarded.

In Closing

It’s easy to see how particular aspects of the most satisfying work settings are dependent on each other, and synergistically result in a happy, healthy workplace. For example, respect and fairness are prerequisites for camaraderie and teamwork. And an improvement focus and recognition are ingredients that enhance each other.

How might you use this six-ingredient recipe in your work? How might you share it with coworkers to assess the extent to which your work entails these six ingredients, and what might be done to improve in these areas?

The recipe describes an ideal, so it’s unlikely that any particular workplace excels in all six areas. Still, the closer to the ideal, the greater the job satisfaction, employee retention, and overall productivity and success.

How I Can Help As A Psychotherapeutic Counsellor

As a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, I can help you by offering you the space and support required whilst exploring any work related issue you may have, or one or more of the six pointers given in this article by Michael W Wierderman, Ph.D, or indeed any of the questions he raises under his heading “In Closing”.  Together we can explore your thoughts and feelings that are creating the experiences or turmoil in your internal world.  When this happens, you will find you have the time to reflect and understand yourself better, you will feel heard and listened to.  This alone will enable you to feel valued as an individual.

From here you will reach new understanding of yourself and/or of your situation which will enable you to view things, including yourself, differently but in a more constructive light.  As your perspective changes with regard to your work situation, it will also change in your life.  This will enable you to grow and evolve moving forwards in a more confident and positive way.

Give me a call now on 07973 410375 or email