Job satisfaction shouldn’t be seen as the only metric for identifying a person’s motivation. Autonomy, mastering skills and other factors also play a role.
If a company wants to ensure well-being among its staff, it shouldn’t only focus on job satisfaction. It should also take into account the level of commitment and the objectives and challenges the employee faces, and the interest s/he has in the work. This is one of the conclusions from the thesis of Karoline Kopperud, a PhD student at the BI Norwegian School of Management. Ms Kopperud uses quantitative and qualitative information from groups of employees in an effort to understand the mechanisms of well-being at work with a view to influencing those mechanisms. The findings of her thesis are shared by Cécil Dijoux, a blogger on Entreprise 2.0 topics. "It’s the notion of accomplishment coming from a person’s sense of autonomy, of his/her grasp of the necessary skills, and from the goals pursued at work, that are crucial," he told L'Atelier.
Well-being, a factor for good performance
It’s well-being that makes an employee able to contribute more to his or her company. According to Karoline Kopperud, companies are all of a sudden having to help increase not only job satisfaction, but also the general well-being of their staff. It may be commonplace to suppose that a programme developed by management would be able to improve well-being, but Ms Kopperud says that results achieved this way are much more modest than might be expected. She is of the opinion that management needs to develop its own skillset so that it can not only motivate staff but also enhance the entire relationship with subordinates. How? By setting up internal social networks, for example. "These are the drivers of commitment which allow everyone in the company to participate, to take initiative, to be part of the conversation in the company," says Cécil Dijoux, underlining: "They help the flow of information and even company organisation".
A question of culture
However, implementation of these tools also depends on the culture of the country and the company. In France, for example, the rather hierarchical mentality limits any initiatives that might be taken by staff. It’s perfectly clear to Cécil Dijoux however that "tools alone are of no value". In order to ensure the success of company policies, “you have to start out with a positive atmosphere,” he stresses. Nevertheless, according to Dijoux, France has already made its mark with a different type of company culture, thanks to the growth of companies developing free software - “a sector where France is very active”. These companies have a different culture, where "the value of an individual depends on his/her contribution to the collective task." And this is the kind of recognition that could well boost employee well-being.