Job satisfaction: Does your workplace meet these needs? – Business Daily
If we could peer across a linear timeline of our lives, we undoubtedly would notice different periods in our history that we would not mind redoing to achieve different outcomes. We may wish we could reach back into the past and advise our former selves when and how to make more wholistic or meaningful choices.
Perhaps we languished in mediocrity in a job because we lacked the proactiveness to seek more challenging and rewarding positions.
Maybe we suffered in silence with a boss that took the joy, meaning, and growth out of our roles without utilising our voice or whistleblowing to stand up against bullying, incompetence or micromanaging. Or we could have missed an entrepreneurship opportunity because we failed to take appropriate risks or challenge standard processes.
Psychologist and author Michael Wiederman highlights four core post-survival universal needs that people crave to flourish. The needs prove worldwide and ecumenical across ages, cultures, and geographies. We should seek the following out in our work lives.
First, as humans, we crave autonomy. We severely dislike being told what, how, and when to do something. We like to figure out the best way to reach goals without being pressed into techniques, styles, and procedures that do not fit us.
Therefore, look for positions that give you as much choice over your work life as possible and control over your methods and approaches.
Second, most people hate the feelings associated with imposter syndrome. We want to do work that we can excel in and be our authentic selves. Find employment in which you are not only capable but also where you can grow your competency to learn and grow your skills over time.
Third, no two people are perfectly alike. Inasmuch, how each of us defines meaning, purpose, and our calling varies from person to person. As examples, a teacher may feel significant fulfillment knowing that they empower the next generation.
A police officer ideally might find purpose in making his or her community safe. An executive likely derives meaning from generating shareholder wealth and providing gainful employment. An entrepreneur gains excitement from innovating and coming up with interesting solutions.
Fourth, people desire respect and acceptance in our communities as well as our workplaces. Employees trapped in low-task identity positions often feel embarrassed about where they work.
Or sometimes high task identity roles come with colleagues and leaders who do not give respect and look down on others. Seek economic activities and jobs that provide connections, a sense of belonging, as well as build your social capital.
Will we get each of the four universal needs from our jobs?
Not necessarily. There are other aspects to our lives including family, friends, communities, learning, travel, investments, side hustles, among others.
While sources vary on the average number of hours spent at work per week by Kenyans, the consensus revolves around markedly more time in our jobs than Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.
So, given the considerable amount of effort that we Kenyans put into our work and careers with so much time spent at workplaces, then it is logical that we search for employment that satisfies some or all of our universal needs. It enhances our job satisfaction and thereafter our life satisfaction.
When you evaluate your current employment situation, include rating how it meets each of your four universal needs on a scale of 1 being very low fulfillment up to 5 equaling very high fulfillment, if you do not rate yourself at least a 3 on each need, then consider actively searching for a new position.
As we age, we realise that life exists in too short a timeframe for us to fail to be proactive in finding need fulfillment or to remain stuck with employers, careers, or managers who do not meet our core needs and expectations.
Dr Bellows is an Assistant Professor of Management at USIU Africa