How Can Job Satisfaction Impact Employee Productivity?

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A September 2011 article in the New York Times written by a professor at Harvard Business School and an independent researcher points out that job satisfaction of employees has a profound effect on productivity. When employees are dissatisfied, they become apathetic, and productivity plummets.

The New York Times article cites a 2010 study by James K. Harter titled "Causal Impact of Employee Work Perceptions on the Bottom Line of Organizations." The study compiled data from 2,178 units of 10 large business organizations and came to the conclusion that low job satisfaction led to poor job performance. The article also cites the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which shows that, as of 2010, Americans are unhappier than they have ever been about their jobs. Gallup suggests that this leads to an annual loss of productivity of about 300 billion dollars. The New York Times writers go on to say that it is not expensive for managers to promote job satisfaction, and it has most to do with crediting accomplishments and making work seem meaningful.

A Forbes article written in 2012 posits that the key to productivity is not employee satisfaction but employee engagement and draws a difference between the two. According to the article, an employee can be happy at work but remain lackadaisical, while an engaged employee has an emotional commitment to an organization and its goals.