Businesses have many challenges to deal with in the delivery of their service or product, and if statistics are to be believed, staff satisfaction can affect how fulfilled and engaged they are in their job.

A Curtin University making work absolutely human research report titled “happy workers: How Satisfied are Australians at Work?” (Curtin University | mwah. Research Report) included many aspects important to people in the workforce. Things such as job security, hours of work, occupation, to mention just a few.

The study looked at people working in nineteen various occupations and industries in Australia, and the result for overall job satisfaction was 28% being very satisfied and 53% satisfied. The remaining 19% were not so satisfied to totally dissatisfied.

What effects might those 19% of not so satisfied to totally dissatisfied workers have on a business? It could impact a business with things such as the number of workplace grievances, levels of absenteeism, staff turnover and levels of productivity. Let us look at one of those possible impacts; staff turnover.

Staff turnover costs more than most people realise because there are a lot of direct costs associated with it that tend to be overlooked as they are hard to quantify.

These direct costs include:

  • Costs of advertising the vacancy
  • Fees paid to recruitment agencies
  • Fees paid to consultants for conducting tests, checking references, pre-employment medicals etc.
  • Termination payout amounts, such as pro rata long service leave and pay in lieu of notice
  • Loss of productivity from other employees filling in for vacant position
  • Loss of productivity in early stages of employment
  • Loss of productivity in final stages of employment

This is not an exhaustive list but it does cover some key areas.

What are the costs of employee turnover? According to an article from Harrison Human Resources (Harrison HR | Blog Article), if those 19% of ‘not so satisfied’ and ‘totally dissatisfied’ employees represented a 10% staff turnover in a company with 20 staff, that is two resignations or dismissals per year, the cost to that company is $203,611.20 per year for those on a weekly wage of $1,506.00, and $118,570.40 per year for those on a weekly wage of $877.00.

So what influences greater satisfaction and a feeling of fulfillment and value in a worker’s mind? Is it the way they work – flexibility, hours, their occupation or the job itself? Is it their pay or job security? Does the size of the company they work for matter, or is it more about whether they own it or whether they work for someone else?

In America, as the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman recently discovered, when you plot happiness and life satisfaction alongside income, they overlap until $70,000-i.e., the point at which money stops being a major issue-then wildly diverge.¹² Once we pay people enough so that meeting basic needs is no longer a constant cause for concern, extrinsic rewards lose their effectiveness, while intrinsic rewards-meaning internal, emotional satisfaction-become far more critical. – (Diamandis, P. and Kotler, S. (2015). BOLD: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, New York, NY,. Simon & Schuster, pp. 79-80.)

We all live according to our individual unique set of values, and our lives demonstrate those values. Things that are highest on our values, we’re inspired and motivated by and can’t wait to do, and things that are lowest on our values, we procrastinate, hesitate and get frustrated about.

When an employee’s job description or responsibilities are linked to their top three highest values, their intrinsic rewards are met. Three in particular stand out: autonomy or the desire to steer their own ship, mastery or the desire to steer it well, and purpose or the need for the journey to mean something. Relating job descriptions or job responsibilities to an individual’s highest values creates a feeling of true job satisfaction and purpose.