Job satisfaction in today’s workplace has decreased in the past few years and has caused employees to be up in arms and wanting more. When team members aren’t satisfied with their jobs, they begin to shut down due to lack of engagement! As calculated in the 2009 book “How Extraordinary Leaders Double Profits”, lack of engagement in today’s workforce is costing companies $300 Billion in lost productivity. So how can we increase overall job satisfaction?
Bryan Banville, president & co-founder of Institute for Mastering Success, shares 10 Big Ideas on how using Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory can impact our overall job satisfaction.
1. Smiles Are Miles Away from the Workplace
A recent Gallup Poll measured job satisfaction in today’s workplace. The State of the American Workplace Report found that 70% of Americans were dissatisfied with their jobs. When participants of the study were asked why they were dissatisfied 50% answered they were disengaged, meaning they continued on with their work but were not excited by it and 20% were actively disengaged, meaning they were vocal about their negative experience about the company and participated in lots of “water cooler talk”.
2. Staffing Needs? More Like Basic Human Needs
Today’s workforce has different needs than they did even 5-10 years ago. With the “office” taking on new shapes and forms and the majority of work tasks requiring high levels of thought processing, critical thinking, and problem solving, the support that staff desire has changed. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we know that at the basic level humans need to have food, shelter, and water. However, humans also need safety, freedom, a sense of belonging, appreciation, recognition of achievement and mastery, and experience fulfillment and self-satisfaction. These directly apply to the needs of staff members and employees and can impact their overall job satisfaction.
3. Are We Engaging Staff Correctly?
Most companies are currently working against their employees needs to thrive and be satisfied with their work. Currently, the focus of most businesses is to address only the physiological needs through compensation and benefits programs that address needs like food, shelter, health, and warmth. However we need to find ways to support those other needs. This can be accomplished by increasing the following in the workplace:
- Autonomy – Support individuals in being able to choose how they complete tasks, the timing to complete tasks, and whom they do the tasks with!
- Mastery – Support individuals in life-long learning practices that will allow them to grow and be recognized and respected for their work.
- Purpose – Support individuals in finding fulfillment in the work they do by building trust and connecting them to their work.
4. Go With the Flow!
One way to reengage individuals is to address autonomy in the workplace related to the tasks we are completing as part of our jobs. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who is best known for his concept of “Flow” theorizes that people are happiest when they are in a state of “flow” or when a person is totally absorbed in the task at hand, or are fully engaged in what they are doing. It is when you reach this state of “flow” that you can achieve heightened senses of vitality, alertness, strength, control, satisfaction, and transcendence. The graph below shows how you can reach this state of flow measured by the level of challenge and skill a task requires. As Mihaly states, “Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.
5. Flow in the Workplace!
Mihaly’s research showed that most professionals were experiencing states of flow more often during work hours than when they were taking time off. This demonstrates that enjoyment can in fact come from the work you do and may be where you get most of your enjoyment. Think back to why you took the job you are currently in, in the first place. There must have been something that attracted you to it? So what prevents you from staying engaged at all times then at work? Mihaly states that in today’s workforce professionals “disregard the quality of an immediate experience and instead base their motivation on the strongly rooted cultural stereotype of what work is supposed to be like.” The stereotype of the satisfaction we’re supposed to get out of work has been misjudged as having only one dimension. You can instead reach a level of flow when work tasks involve challenges, are deeply interesting or relevant to the employee, and when the employee feels a sense of meaning & empowerment in completing the task.
6. Bringing Multiple Intelligences Into the Workplace
So how can you get your employees and yourself into a state of flow more often? By bringing multiple intelligences into the work place. This allows for us to reengage our employees and ourselves in the work we do by feeding our intelligences through our work tasks and increasing the amount of time we are in a state of flow! Just as every person has aspects of all 8 intelligences, no job uses just one. It is possible to utilize your strengths in any position including the one you are in now.
7. MATCH/MISMACTH Test
In order to find out how your multiple intelligences can impact your overall job satisfaction, lets measure how you “MATCH UP” with your current position.
- The first step is to take an inventory of the work tasks that you have to complete for your current job. This will help you in organizing everything you do as well as potentially seeking help in areas where you need it most.
- Order these tasks by what is most important/what your main job responsibilities are. For example if you are sales rep, you may be required to hit a sales goal each month (primary importance) and you may also have to file away paperwork on a quarterly basis (less important).
- List next to each task the primary intelligence that is required for that task based on the information from my previous course. If you are unsure, follow the link below for an overview of all 8 intelligences.
- Next compare your top 5 work tasks and see if they match your top 3 intelligences. If at least 3 do, you have a “MATCH”, if less than 3 do you have a “MISMATCH”.
- Once you have completed this exercise try to think if your answer of MATCH or MISMATCH coincides with your overall job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
You can definitely have a MISMATCH answer and still enjoy your work just as you may have a great MATCH but be dissatisfied in your current position. There are also additional work place stressors that can cause someone to struggle who loves their job and is using their top intelligences.
8. Find Ways of Indirectly Expressing Strongest Intelligences
Sometimes we can carry out our job responsibilities in a modified fashion that can refocus the task through one of our top intelligences. As an example you may be more developed in both kinesthetic and musical intelligences and spend a lot of time on the phone. Perhaps you can request while on a conference call to go for a run or pace back and forth throughout your office. Find ways you can integrate your intelligences into your daily work tasks
9. Change Physical Surroundings to Reflect Your Strengths & Interests
Changing your physical surroundings can be a huge game changer for individuals and is typically an easy/simple fix. For example if you are used to working alone but are stuck in an open concept/bull pen work environment, see if you can work with your team to find a space that is more removed/quite for your working style. On the other hand if you love interpersonal interactions and you are stuck behind a closed office door all day, set up small brain dumping sessions to increase productivity, clear your ideas by others, and effectively feed your intelligence. Nature lovers can take their office breaks outside when possible or decorate their office/cubicle with inspiring outdoor photos of their favorite vacation spot or dream destination! Even bring in a fichus plant if you are a plant lover!
10. Use Work Breaks to Express Your Strongest Intelligences
How we use our “break-time” can also be very efficient for increasing job satisfaction. First, agree to take a work break at least twice a day for 15 minutes. For the kinesthetic learner, download this great 7-minute workout app (link found below) to get your blood flowing and mind cleared. For the linguistic learner, bring your favorite book or spend time doing the daily crossword puzzle. Find ways to engage your top intelligences when on breaks to get reenergized, refocused, and engaged in the work you are doing!
Interested in finding out more? Check out President, Bryan Banville, at en*theos Academy teaching this course live! Follow the link below: https://www.entheos.com/academy/classes/how-to-increase-your-overall-job-satisfaction?c=6844
by Bryan Banville, President & Co-founder for Institute for Mastering Success
(c) 2014, Institute for Mastering Success