Increasing Job Satisfaction: Work Traits of Happy Employees

Job satisfaction is a key ingredient for a happy and productive workforce. When there is happiness in the workplace, employees are more likely to stay motivated, engaged, and committed to their work. But what makes employees happy in their jobs? While the answer may vary from person to person, there are some common work traits happy employees tend to share. Here, we’ll explore these work traits and how they contribute to job satisfaction. And, we’ll touch on how employers can cultivate a work environment that promotes these traits and boosts employee wellness.

1. Autonomy

Happy employees often have a sense of autonomy in their work. They are free to make decisions and solve problems independently, without micromanagement or strict oversight. This autonomy can lead to a greater sense of responsibility and ownership in one’s work and a sense of pride in one’s accomplishments.

For Employees

First, employees should clearly understand their role and responsibilities in their job. This can help identify areas where they have the freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their work.

Then, employees can begin to implement autonomy in their job functions by:

  • Communicating with a manager about the process
  • Taking the initiative to demonstrate autonomous abilities
  • Seek out resources needed to perform the job effectively
  • Prioritizing tasks and taking ownership of deadlines

For Employers

By setting clear expectations, employers can begin to create—and foster—autonomy among their employees. Then, employees can better understand what is expected of them and give them a framework within which to work.

Employers can create an environment for autonomy for employees by:

  • Delegating tasks
  • Providing resources
  • Encouraging creativity
  • Offering feedback
  • Trusting employees

2. Meaningful work

Employees who find their work meaningful and purposeful are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Whether it’s a sense of fulfillment from helping others or the feeling that their work contributes to a larger goal, employees who feel that their work matters are more engaged and motivated.

For Employers

By communicating a clear purpose, employers can help foster meaningful work among employees. Moreso, they can retain top talent and reduce employee turnover by empowering employees, offering training and career development, fostering positive relationships, and providing recognition and accolades.

3. Positive relationships

Happy employees often have positive relationships with their coworkers and managers. A supportive and friendly work environment can foster a sense of community and belonging, improving morale and job satisfaction.

For Employees

Employees can create a more enjoyable work experience through their working relationships by taking the following steps.

  1. Communicating effectively with coworkers, listening actively, and expressing themselves clearly. This can help build trust and understanding in the workplace.
  2. Practicing empathy and putting themselves in their coworkers’ shoes to better understand their perspective. This can create a supportive and compassionate workplace.
  3. Treating coworkers with respect, dignity, and professionalism.
  4. Collaborating with coworkers and working together to achieve common goals can create a sense of teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace.
  5. By building social connections and getting to know coworkers on a deeper level, employees can contribute to a sense of community and support.

4. Opportunities for growth

Employees who are given opportunities for growth and development are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. This can include training programs, mentoring, or opportunities for advancement. Knowing that their employer values their professional development can lead to a greater sense of loyalty and engagement.

For Employers

Employers can offer training and development opportunities to employees, such as workshops, online courses, or mentoring programs. This can help employees build new skills and expand their knowledge, leading to career advancement, personal growth, and employee satisfaction.

Here are a few ways employers can begin offering growth opportunities:

  1. Provide “stretch assignments”: Challenging employees to take on new responsibilities and learn new skills encourages their development and can offer valuable experience.
  2. Encourage goal-setting: Employers can encourage employees to set goals for their professional development and provide support to help them achieve those goals, leading to better focus and motivation.
  3. Offer feedback and recognition: Employers can better acknowledge their accomplishments by offering regular feedback and recognition to employees. Further, employees can better understand their strengths and weaknesses by guiding improvement. This allows them to identify areas for growth.
  4. Create career pathways: Creating clear career pathways for employees starts by outlining opportunities for advancement and providing guidance on the skills and experience required for each level. From there, employees can better envision a path for growth within the organization.

5. Work-life balance

Happy employees often have a healthy work-life balance. They can take breaks when needed, maintain reasonable work hours, and have time for personal interests and hobbies outside of work. Employers prioritizing work-life balance can reduce employee burnout and increase overall job satisfaction.

For Employees

Work-life balance doesn’t happen by chance, it happens by choice. And, these efforts have to be taken intentionally. Employees can pursue a better work-life balance by following these six tips.

  1. Set boundaries: Create and enforce clear boundaries between work and personal life, such as establishing specific work hours or designating certain days as off-limits for work-related activities.
  2. Prioritize self-care: Exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
  3. Get flexible: Explore flexible work arrangements, such as remote working, flexible schedules, or using a coworking space, to help balance work and personal responsibilities.
  4. Managing time: By prioritizing tasks, delegating responsibilities, and avoiding multitasking, employees can more effectively manage their time.
  5. Learning to say ‘no’: This could be the most crucial step in enforcing boundaries around work. When projects are not aligned with priorities, employees will likely overload their schedules.

Happiness at work starts with job satisfaction

Creating a satisfying work experience for employees is critical to their overall happiness and productivity. When employers and employees prioritize these work traits, job satisfaction can increase, leading to a more fulfilling and rewarding work experience for everyone involved. Finding and creating community at a coworking space is another way to achieve happiness at work. Try coworking for teams and get employee memberships, meeting room credits, and countless amenities. Or, try coworking for just $149 your first month for individual memberships.

Meet the author

Headshot of Nancy Patterson

Nancy Patterson

Haven Member, Social Media Manager

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