workplace satisfaction

What creates job satisfaction? 11 contributing factors

Written by Investors In People

More and more people want to leave work feeling filled with purpose. But purpose may not be your cup of tea.

Your people need to leave work feeling the emotions that matter to them, not the ones that don’t.

And the best way to understand what emotions they want to feel is to understand what creates job satisfaction.

So here are 11, to kick things off to achieve the ultimate workplace satisfaction:

What determines job satisfaction?

1. Like they’ve earned their pay cheque

They go home exhausted, covered in dirt and with a stinking headache – but they’ve worked damn hard and earned their money and feel proud of what they’re putting in and getting out.

2. Like they’re ‘on top’ of their job

They feel aware of all the moving parts of the job and how they fit together – they aren’t overwhelmed by them and have a clear sense of what they’ll be doing tomorrow, the next day and the week after.

3. Like they’re professionally developing or being challenged

For some people, being bored at work or feeling like they’re professionally stagnating is intolerable. This positive emotion is about leaving work feeling like they’ve ‘leveled up’ – better than they were yesterday in some small or big way.

4. Like they’re ready to transition to ‘home’

They leave work, the sun is still high in the sky, they’re feeling good about their life and work is being put back in its ‘box’ until tomorrow.

5. Like they’ve succeeded – and moved the dial

This is about feeling successful, like they’re good at their job and are making a difference – that achieving what they’re employed to do.

6. Like work occupies the place in their life they want it to

Whether work is central to their identity or something they do in between weekends, they leave work feeling like it’s not underrepresented or overrepresented in their life.

7. Like they’ve processed the day’s emotions

Leaving work with unresolved tensions is nasty: their body’s checked out and their mind’s still at their desk. But it feels great when the ‘whole you’ gets in the car and goes home.

8. Like they’ve bolstered or improved your workplace relationships

They leave work valuing the relationships they have there. Maybe someone had their back or helped them out. Maybe they asked someone to mentor them. Or perhaps their team is just firing on all cylinders.

9. Like they’ve made a contribution to your industry

They’re working on something that will define the automotive sector, or physics, or engineering, for years to come. Or maybe it’s nothing so grandiose, but it’s still adding to your industry, little by little.

10. Like they’ve made a contribution to their family

They’ve had a tough day, but they picture their family in their mind and feel proud of their hard graft – it’s all for them.

11. Like they’ve made a contribution to society

They work for a charity. Every day at work, in everything they do, they’re trying to build a better future for those in need.

Job satisfaction: two practical tips to using this list wisely

There is a cost to everything – finding your balance is key

No job can provide everything. Often the more a job delivers on one dimension, the more likely it won’t on another.

Jobs that provide a powerful, intrinsic sense of purpose – those in the charity sector – pay less than in the private sector.

And jobs that deliver on pay may underdeliver on work-life balance – being able to switch off at the end of the day.

But of course this takes out the control you have over the situation. There are ways to help employees switch off, for example.

Think about what you need first, then the best place to get it

Work doesn’t need to, and in fact can’t, deliver on everything you need.

You crave purpose – that’s why you volunteer every weekend. Does work need to give you purpose too?

Maybe. But maybe not. It comes down to your individual emotional needs.

So start thinking about your own work and life. What do you need to feel to be satisfied?

Trust at work helps drive some of the emotional outcomes in this article. Here are five critically-important facts that help you develop and maintain trust at work.

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Beginner – your journey is just starting…


Thanks for completing our workplace wellbeing assessment! Don’t be disheartened by your result, the fact you’re considering employee wellbeing is a huge step in the right direction.

Here are some common themes we see when organisations are only just starting out on their wellbeing journey:
  • No strategy or poor buy in from executives
  • No goals or objectives or they’re poorly defined
  • No budget assigned to wellbeing
  • Company doesn’t consider all areas of wellbeing
  • Company doesn’t collect any data on wellbeing
  • Company doesn’t understand how to measure success


It’s great to see that you’ve made the commitment to start your wellbeing journey. If you take the time to plan, execute and measure your strategy you’ll start to see positive results.

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Intermediate – you’re taking wellbeing seriously!

Thanks for completing our workplace wellbeing assessment. You can be pleased with your result, you value your employees wellbeing, your approach needs refining to get to the highest level.

Here are some common themes we see when organisations are making the right steps but need to refine them:
  • There is a strategy and execs buy into it, but it needs developing further to achieve your ambitions
  • There may be goals and objectives but they need refining
  • There is a budget assigned to wellbeing
  • Company may not consider all areas of wellbeing
  • Company struggles to collect and use wellbeing data
  • What defines success may be a little blurry


It’s great to see you’re making positive steps with your wellbeing plan. If you take the time to refine your strategy you’ll start to see even better results.

We’re here to help you every step of the way – complete our enquiry form and our team will get in touch to see how we can help you!

Advanced – your strategy is flying high!

Thanks for completing our workplace wellbeing assessment. You should be ecstatic, employee wellbeing is a key driver at your company and you’re doing everything on your own to promote it.

Here are some common themes we see in top organisations:
  • There is a clear strategy and executives actively promote it
  • There are clear goals and objectives – you know what you want to achieve
  • You have a budget that’s dedicated to wellbeing
  • You deliver in all areas of wellbeing
  • Your company collected data and uses it to inform your strategy
  • You have stealer KPIs and understand how they contribute to success


It’s great to see you’re making positive steps with your wellbeing plan. However, wellbeing can always be improved – so you’re in the perfect place to undertake our official wellbeing assessment!

Complete our enquiry form and our team will get in touch to talk you through our wellbeing accreditation.

Thanks | #MAKEWORKBETTER

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