A Look at Self-Esteem and How it Relates to Job Satisfaction

A Look at Self-Esteem and How it Relates to Job Satisfaction
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Self-Esteem Studies & Research

I’ve read many articles on self-esteem and job satisfaction including a whitepaper from Claudia Garcez published in 2006 on HR Consulting Services by CG’s website.

Many researchers find that if a person is satisfied with their work, their self-esteem increases. Others say one must possess high self-esteem in order to feel satisfied in their career choice and job field.

As a business owner, I believe both of these are true and self-esteem and how it relates to job satisfaction are topics you should consider when looking at your current or potential employees.

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The Outgoing vs. the Introvert

Dealing With Introverts

I often use my own employees to help my readers understand how things at the office do indeed work in real-life situations. An outgoing person will perform at higher levels, be happy with their accomplishments and hence, achieve great job satisfaction. On the other hand the introvert may also be happy with accomplishments and be satisfied with their job, even if they work at a slower pace or are afraid to ask for help.

But, and there’s always a but—those workers who find themselves in a hostile environment where emotional intelligence is not forefront, will lose self-esteem, no matter how much they like their jobs.

If this is all true what can employers do about self-esteem and how it relates to job satisfaction?

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How Self-Esteem Develops

No matter what research reveals, if a person has low self-esteem, that level can come from learned experiences, life situations, peer pressure and the environment where a person was raised. So, does that mean a great job makes one satisfied and content will raise their self-esteem? If one has always had a low self-esteem level, raising it by obtaining the job of their dreams will not raise it.

Societal factors can also affect self-esteem—we are only good if we look like that model on the magazine cover, or the star football player who won the Super Bowl.

As an employer or HR manager, you can do things to raise self-esteem and increase job satisfaction.

Analyze & Improve Your Work Environment

Improve Your Work Environment

If I take a look at my employees there are some with high and some with low self-esteem. A single mother with three children always seems stressed, unhappy and unsure of her abilities. A man who constantly receives telephone calls from his wife about what’s he’s done wrong each day, and a manager that feels intimidate by his subordinates. All of these are examples of people that may have or are developing low self-esteem—inside or outside of the workplace.

We all spend many hours doing our jobs and here’s where you, as an employer, can help.

  • My Single Mom Solution – As stressed as she may be, she’s a great asset to my company and I often tell her that. Over the years she has worked for me, I can see she is happy with her job duties, performs them well and does like her job. Encouragement from superiors and even co-workers can improve anyone’s self-esteem level.
  • Man With Nagging Wife – Setting personal call limits was a solution that worked best for this employee. Without the nagging calls from his wife, he was able to increase productivity and his mood improved while at the workplace.
  • Scared Supervisor – This employee had the knowledge, but not necessarily supervisory knowledge. By sending him to seminars about managing difficult employees and using a mentor to encourage and work alongside him, he was able to feel confident about his decisions and lead his team.

So, it’s all solved right? You make some workplace changes and you’ve got high self-esteem and people satisfied with their jobs! Here, is where you’d be wrong.

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Outside Forces

Outside Forces

In our three examples above, only the scared supervisor’s problem was internal and could be fixed entirely through guidance and training. The other two have outside forces that affect self-esteem levels.

As an employer, you can’t be a marriage counselor for an employee with a nagging wife or hire a nanny for your busy single mom, but there are things you can offer to help self-esteem levels increase.

Many companies offer wellness or employee counseling and assistance programs. The expense of these benefits far outweighs what you’ll receive in return. Most people with low self-esteem won’t discuss problems or feelings with a co-worker but will do so with an unbiased counselor—or people that can help them get their life back on track and feel the value in life.

The University of Denver offers an employee assistance program (EAP) where employees can receive up to 5 sessions a year to deal with personal problems including family and child issues, grief, career decisions, financial problems, peer pressure from co-workers including workplace bullying, alcohol and drug abuse, general stress, marital problems and even how to be a better manager.

These types of EAP programs can help your workers with low self-esteem more content in life/work situations and in turn, job satisfaction will be increased. Consider starting an EAP—start by calling your employee benefits carrier and see if they can help you set one up.

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Final Thoughts

When considering self-esteem and how it relates to job satisfaction, even an EAP may not be enough for some employees. There will always be the naysayers, the whiners, the bullies, and those who feel defeated about life in general. If an employee assistance program can’t help these people, do consider replacing them to keep job satisfaction and self-esteem levels high in your work environment. If you do replace a bad apple, make sure you go through an exit interview so the employee has a chance to understand their problems and perhaps make improvements before they tackle a new career or job.