Discuss the different ways management can increase job satisfaction within the organization. Look at unique ways besides simply increasing pay or bonuses.
My apologies for the late post, substantial travel, predictably poor United Wifi, a 68-hour contiguous work day and 90+ hour work week left me with limited options. For as long as I can remember the satisfaction I received from working on puzzles and solving complex problems has always overshadowed the pain endured getting there.
I recently received an email from our VP of Human Resources thanking me for my dedication and leadership. I responded to this email stating the following:
I really love this stuff and I am a very lucky individual. I just spend my days trying to inspire others to love it as much as I do (or to get somewhere close).
Thankful to my parents for that TRS-80 and the acoustic coupler they bought me in the early 80s, the phone bills they let me run up, their tolerance of me sitting in front of the computer for hours-and-hours as a kid and the fact that I grew up in a time where they didn’t take me to a doctor because of it.
Thankful for the latitude I have been given much of my career to just execute.
In reality, it’s pretty easy for me, because I love it, there’s truly nothing I would rather be doing than sitting in front of a computer, I’d be worried if I wasn’t at least OK at it.
I think it’s important to start by defining job satisfaction. “Job satisfaction is defined as the extent to which employees like their work.” (Harter, 2002 p. 27) The text states that job satisfaction and job involvement, the degree which an individual identifies psychologically with their job. (Robbins, 2018 p. 37) I always have used employee engagement as the primary metric for job satisfaction. My belief has always been if I can increase employee engagement then I can increase job satisfaction. To be and remain relevant in my chosen profession requires immense personal investment, without employee engagement, success is out of reach. I believe something called the “Blue Button Moment” (Your Best Agile User Story, n.d.) captures the essence of employee engagement, and how the outcomes differ based on engagement. The “RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” (RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us., 2010) video also captures engagement when it discusses engagement and the importance of self-direction, autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The video uses the Open Source movement to demonstrate the shift from the profit motive to the purpose motive.
My organization does a number of things to drive engagement.
We leverage gamification and peer accolades heavily using platforms like DueProps (DueProps, n.d.) and HeyTaco (HeyTaco, n.d.) provide incremental rewards, focused on mastery, purpose and peer recognition.
My company has published and well-understood core values and every individual is expected to be aligned with these values. Our core values are: Customer Centric, Accountability, Teamwork, Integrity, and Adaptability. (FusionStorm Culture, n.d.)
We also have a corporate mission statement which is: “As experienced technology leaders we are committed to always executing for our clients. We are passionate about solving clients’ unique business problems through innovative solutions. We evolve, reinvent, and push boundaries of what’s possible through our community of employees, clients, and partners.” (FusionStorm Culture, n.d.)
Each division of the organization is challenged to create a mission or vision statement that aligns with the corporate messaging but also fosters thought and alignment with divisional objectives. The mission statement of my team is: “To operate each and every day with such belief, heart, and grit that it inspires and compels our peers, prospects, and customers to see things our way.” (Bocchinfuso, 2018)
We challenge people with fun team-oriented activities like hackathons and SolveIT Days, modeled after Atlassian ShipIt Days (ShipIt Days, n.d.).
Earlier this month we conducted a team meeting which included a Raspberry Pi hackathon, here a time-lapse video from the FusionStorm Expert Services Kickoff 2018 Meeting. (FusionStorm Expert Services 2018 Kickoff, 2018)
All the prep for the Raspberry Pi projects was done on discretionary time, not much discretionary time exists when you work a job that routine demands twelve to fifteen hours days, but the team was highly committed and driven by purpose and mastery. There was no reward other than personal fulfillment, following the completion of all the presentations we conducted a peer vote to identify who demonstrated the best vision and execution. The top two finishers will attend OSCON 2018 in Portland, OR with me in July for a week of learning and they are super excited, but they didn’t know this until after the projects were done, this was not their motivation.
It has become nearly impossible for unengaged employees to survive in our culture, and we relentlessly pursue a culture rooted in autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These drivers have become pervasive throughout the hi-tech sector and were summed up very well in a passage from an article published in the Winter 2017-2018 issue of 2600 Magazine. The snippet from the article reads as follows:
“If you want to enter the world of hackers, programmers, hardware/software/network engineers and the like as a profession, you better do it with passion and with a mindset that is not of a regular office worker. Live it, breathe it, learn it – build your experience, think outside of the box, tinker, design, test. It cannot be a job – it must be part of your life. If not, there’s the door. Do it as a hobby, or find something different to do. This is not just a job for many of us. It is our world, our life’s work, our passion, our dream that for some has become reality. Don’t devalue it by just making it another job. If you want to treat it as just a job – as I said before – leave! And don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” (Ells, 2017)
Your Best Agile User Story. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://www.alexandercowan.com/best-agile-user-story/
DueProps. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://dueprops.com/
Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: a meta-analysis. Journal of applied psychology, 87(2), 268.
Ells, S. (2017). The Problem with IT Certifications and Their Contribution to the Devaluation of Technology. 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly, 34(3). Retrieved October 9, 2017, from https://www.amazon.com/2600-Magazine-The-Hacker-Quarterly/dp/B004GB1WF6/2600magazi-20
FusionStorm Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from http://fusionstorm.com/company/culture/
FusionStorm Expert Services 2018 Kickoff. (2018, March 03). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://youtu.be/9lwK-nqRMXk
HeyTaco! (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://www.heytaco.chat/
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. (2018). Essentials of organizational behavior. New York, NY: Pearson.
RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. (2010, April 01). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc
ShipIt Days. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://www.atlassian.com/company/shipit
I enjoyed your response but there are distringuishers between job satisfaction, job involvement, and engagement. Personally, I am not a fan of the term ‘engagement’ as it doesn’t really focus on what is needed for an worker to be involved in the work they do. Engagement means that one has some level of satisfaction and is committed to achieving the goals of the organization; what is missing is the psychological part which raises one’s passions and motivation to tap into their skills and abilities and get the work done. Your organization sounds like it s committed to having happy employees.
As an aside, last year I was seeking some help for some marketing with my business. The high-level person I was meeting with asked me what my bottom-line, end-result was, to which I replied “happiness,’ This person scoffed and said ‘Who would buy that?” Needless to say, I did not return but I think it shows the mentality of some corporate in that happiness is an elusive concept, so more tangibles should be the focus, such as pray or productivity when, really, workers just want to be happy in their jobs. Considering that employees spend the majority of their time at work (the other majority is in sleep), and being with people who are not family or friends, why wouldn’t workplace happiness be the goal.
My Response to Professor
Professor, some excellent insights and I agree that a word like “engagement” is a bit nebulous. I also think that “happiness” is a great goal, and that happy employees probably produce the best widgets so there is a correlation between happiness and “who would buy that”. I have always mapped engagement to what one does with their discretionary time. Working in a highly technical field, it’s hard to be successful if you love cooking and would rather be in a kitchen crafting culinary delights rather than in front of a computer looking at source code. I’ve lived through the profit motive and in some ways I am still living it, ask some high-level folks within my organization what their goals are and they will respond with “more, more revenue, more gross profit, etc..”, the profit motive is clearly unmoored from the purpose motive. As a leader, I view it as my responsibility to ensure that those who respond like the individual who said to you “who would buy that”, know that human capital is the most important thing we possess, without the right human capital there will be nothing to sell. With said accountability should not impact happiness, this is why I think a true passion for what you do is important. In a high-pressure, fast-paced culture loving what you do makes all the difference regarding happiness, because check out to refuel often isn’t an option.
Scott, excellent post, as usual, you always do a nice job of personalizing your point which I enjoy. I think you hit a key point regarding job satisfaction; everyone finds different ways to identify satisfaction, the work, the people, the mission, etc… Sometimes these are tightly couples and other times they are mutually exclusive.
Want to hit on the “I like my job because I like the people I work with” topic because I am dealing with this at the moment, where an individual likes (“loves”) their job because they like the people they get to work with every day, but there is a problem. While this person is being honest and is also well liked it’s unclear if this individual enjoys the work, as time passes this becomes a more significant issue because it’s hard for this individual to invest the time required to perform the level being demanded of them. It’s a challenge. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂
I agree with you meeting point. I have adopted the Amazon six-pager (Jeff Bezos’s Peculiar Management Tool for Self-Discipline, 2017) and the “two pizza rule” (Giang, 2013) approach to meetings.
When I think about work from home I think about flexibility and autonomy; my philosophy is I am where I need to be. I fly 100K+ miles a year, I go to customer sites, the office when required, but if my calendar has me on video conferences all day I am not wasting the commute time, it’s just common sense. Being there is no longer 90% of the battle, there is significantly more nuance to consider when making these decisions. I would argue that with the dawn of the video conference, the smartphone, Email shifting to real-time chat platforms like Slack (Hulick, 2016) and HipChat the idea that remote worker is working less is probably coming from someone who has never been restrained by these technological shackles. When you can’t see someone you expect them to respond because you know they got the message, we’re way past an Orwellian version of 1984.
Giang, V. (2013, October 29). The ‘Two Pizza Rule’ Is Jeff Bezos’ Secret To Productive Meetings. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-two-pizza-rule-for-productive-meetings-2013-10
Hulick, S. (2016, February 29). Slack, I’m Breaking Up with You – UX of User Onboarding. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from https://ux.useronboard.com/slack-i-m-breaking-up-with-you-54600ace03ea
Jeff Bezos’s Peculiar Management Tool for Self-Discipline. (2017, Feb 04). Retrieved March 18, 2018, from http://blog.idonethis.com/jeff-bezos-self-discipline-writing/