When you hire a new employee, you want to be sure that they are fully equipped to do the job - that they have the right skills, the right knowledge and the right personality to fit in with the relevant team.
Too often overlooked though is how happy they’re likely to be in their employment, which can make all the difference between doing a job and doing a job well.
This is where we talk about job satisfaction and the idea that what an individual takes from their work is just as important as what they put in. The problem is that, as such a personal concept, it’s hard to predict which of your applicants will find the most satisfaction in the job you have to offer.
One way to meet this challenge is to focus not just on the candidate's ability, but overall job fit. In this article, we look at what it means to hire for job fit, and how it can increase job satisfaction.
Why job satisfaction matters
In simple terms, job satisfaction (or job dissatisfaction as the case may be) refers to how an individual feels about their employment. Those that experience a high level of job satisfaction are happy and content in their work, whilst those at the opposite end of the scale experience negative feelings around their job.
There are various factors that contribute to job satisfaction. The nature of the work, organizational culture and relationships with colleagues can all be influential.
There is no magic formula though. Everyone is unique, and how satisfied someone is in a job depends on what they are motivated by and how well that job meets their needs. Factors that commonly contribute to job satisfaction include:
- Financial reward
- Job security
- Development opportunities
- A sense of purpose
- Creativity and innovation
- Work-life balance
- Task variety
There are plenty of statistics on job satisfaction that show just how important an issue it is for today’s workforce. It’s a primary concern when considering a new role and a lack of it is what prompts many employees to leave in the first place - findings from the 2022 CIPD Good Work Index show that 47% of UK workers currently planning to quit their job are doing so because they are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with it.
From an employer’s perspective then, increasing job satisfaction is a key part of a good employee retention strategy, but that’s not the only benefit. When you improve the job satisfaction of employees you’ll also see:
Higher productivity - job satisfaction typically prompts an employee to work hard and achieve both personal and business goals.
Employee loyalty - not only are satisfied workers more inclined to stay put, they’re also more likely to speak highly of you as an employer, boosting business reputation and helping to attract new talent.
A positive culture - a satisfied employee is a happy employee, so when you increase job satisfaction among your whole workforce you nurture a high-spirited environment and a positive company culture.
For the employees themselves, the benefits of job satisfaction are many. They experience less stress, better well-being and a greater sense of life fulfillment. Most importantly, they actually enjoy getting up and going to work every day.
Measuring for fit when hiring
We’ve shown the importance of job satisfaction - and the benefits it brings to both employer and employee - but how do you identify those most likely to experience it when hiring for a vacant position?
Measuring for job fit is key. This means building a more rounded candidate profile. You need to know they have the skills and knowledge to actually do the job, but you also need to understand what drives them and what they take satisfaction from.
Start by narrowing down your applicant pool using the relevant aptitude and soft skills tests. This will help you identify the most promising talent to focus your recruitment efforts on. Then you can turn your attention to where they find their motivation.
Use the Drives test
The Drives test is a short assessment that uncovers a candidate’s motivating influences - or drives. It does this by asking them to award 20 points across the nine areas of:
How they award their points will show you what they deem as most important in their professional life and thus what they need from a job to feel a deep rooted sense of satisfaction.
Compare drives with the job role
Using the results of a candidate’s Drives test, you can better determine how well matched they are to what the job role has to offer.
For example, a candidate that ranks responsibility as their top drive is highly unlikely to find satisfaction in a job where they have little ownership over their work. However, a candidate that cites learning as their main motivational influence is likely to be satisfied in a role that offers continual training and development.
Of course it won’t be just one factor here. It will be a combination of motivators that carry different weight, and together make up the candidate’s ideal scenario. When you hire for job fit, the reality of the role should match this as closely as possible.
Discuss drives at interview
The Drives test is a good indication of how satisfied a candidate is likely to be in the job. Discussing their test results at interview gives you a chance to make sure everyone is on the same page.
For example, if we take responsibility again, it’s important to establish how both parties interpret the term. Does the candidate see responsibility as managing their own workload, or are they after a position of authority? How does their interpretation fit with yours, and does the role suit?
The same discussion should be had around all the candidate’s top drives. It's an effective interview strategy that will give you real insight into the potential for job satisfaction.
Drives alignment and job satisfaction
Job satisfaction does not rest on one single factor, but a combination of factors which hold varying degrees of importance to an individual - like money, purpose, security and recognition. When you evaluate which of these factors, or drives, are most important to a candidate you can better judge the level of satisfaction they’ll experience in the role you’re hiring for.
Our own study on Person-Job Fit has shown that employees are 3.1x more likely to be satisfied with their job when their drives align with what their job offers.
By using the Drives test you can ensure this alignment to increase the job satisfaction of future hires, improving productivity, loyalty and employee retention.