LifeXchange

New Study Finds The No 1 Thing that Boosts Job Satisfaction of Low-Income Workers

Turns out these 3 things boosts employee happiness and productivity – here are 4 strategies for rolling them out today

Positive feedback. Fair appraisal. And giving recognition. These are just some of the findings by a new study on what promotes job satisfaction in low-income workers in South Africa. We look at what makes employees happier and more productive, plus: Give you 4 strategies for implementing them in your business.

ABOUT THE STUDY

Researchers at the Tshwane University of Technology set out to find the best predictors for job satisfaction among low-income workers in South Africa. And it’s important because job satisfaction has time and again been proven to boost productivity and profits for companies. But, until now, very little research has been done on actual low-income workers in South Africa.

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And they found not only the No 1 booster of job satisfaction, but 3 ways to really get low-income workers on board and in the game. The study, “Performance management, vigour, and training and development as predictors of job satisfaction in low-income workers”, was published in the SA Journal of Human Resource Management in May 2020 – see it here

FINDINGS: WHAT IMPACTS JOB SATISFACTION IN LOW-INCOME EARNERS

After interviewing some 877 low-income workers in a Tshwane mall (specifically and intentionally outside of their normal workplace, to get better quality feedback), the study found that the No 1 indicator for job satisfaction among low-income workers is how companies manage performance. 

This was followed by the individual’s own vigour (health, drive and ability to work even for long hours). And, to a lesser extent, training and development from the employer. Here’s the breakdown:

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Positive Performance Management

The best possible indicator for job satisfaction was how the employer handled performance management. Giving positive and relevant feedback, through an appraisal process that’s fair and open, and recognising individuals for their performance was by far the best indicator for job satisfaction.

Note: It’s important to understand the study’s take on performance management. It’s clearly not coming from a negative angle of putting people under review and micromanaging. But more about giving recognition and being very clear about performance indicators.

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The Vigour of Employees

The study says that the employee’s own personal health and drive had a huge impact on their job satisfaction. And, while it initially seems that the employer doesn’t have much control over that, it reminds us that the employer can focus on employee wellness and that mental health also impacts physical health – and employers can influence that.

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Training and Development

The researchers got mixed signals when it came to training and development. When you used different types of statistical analysis, it didn’t always show a positive relationship to job satisfaction.

But the study does note that when employers showed workers how the training forms part of their personal development plan, it had a positive effect.

WHAT CAN COMPANIES AND MANAGERS DO?

The first recommendation the study makes is for employers to learn to engage with low-income workers. It cites examples: When SA bus organisation Nienaber and Martins in 2016 engaged with low-income workers, they felt more engaged and satisfied, supporting the organisation’s strategy and assisting it to be more profitable. 

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But, when Lonmin in 2012 refused to engage low-income workers, it caused a long, violent and unprotected strike. And the company lost revenue.

These are some key recommendations:

  • Learn to engage with low-income workers
  • Develop better/more relevant performance management methods
  • Invest in upskilling managers to better engage with low-income workers
  • Consider mentorship programmes to assist employees

HELP BOOSTING THE JOB SATISFACTION OF YOUR LOW-INCOME EARNERS

LifeXchange Solutions is a change management company, so we can help you introduce and implement some of these recommendations in your organisation: 

1. Engage and understand your people better

Neuroscience, psychology and human behavioural science is a valuable and hugely untapped resource for better understanding and engaging people at every level in your company. You can get expert insights into what really drives your people through neuromanagement, and even get to know each other better with a fun and highly interactive neuromanagement workshop.

ADVANCED PERSONAL MASTERY FOR BUSINESS GROWTH

2. A more advanced way to manage performance

Proven to boost employee engagement by up to 25%, increase performance by up to 18% and reduce attrition by up to 73%. An exciting way to grow understanding and manage performance at the same time is through Clifton Strengths and strengths-based development

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3. Equip managers with Agile skills for better engagement

Truly effective managers need much more advanced training on the people side than most of us realise. Engaging and motivating people is not the same as understanding business performance measures. That’s why it’s vital to invest in Agile management training.

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4. Consider a mentorship programme

We all know the importance of company culture, but you can’t overstate its impact on job satisfaction and overall performance. To really engage employees at every level and drive your company culture, it’s worthwhile to discover the benefits of mentoring through neuro mentoring training.

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What’s your strategy for engaging employees at every level in your company? Let us know.


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