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The nature of our jobs and work environment has become fluid and keeps shifting. For managers to know the pulse of how their team is feeling and how satisfied the employees are, the stark differences between a job and a career are worth knowing.

The two words, job, and career, often used interchangeably in everyday life, carry different meanings. A job can sometimes lead to a career, and a career can sometimes be put on hold to take a position? Interesting right?

As Steve Jobs used to say,

“Do what you love to do. That’s the only way to do great work. Keep looking, until you find what you love. Settling for anything else isn’t a choice.”

Successful managers who keep job satisfaction and employee morale high make employees transition from a job to a career. Let’s start by looking at each word separately.

What is the meaning of a "job?"

A job defines the work an employee does right now to get paid. They may plan to do it full-time or part-time for an agreed payment. It could be a gig picked to achieve a short-term goal.

For instance, working as a cashier at a cafe to make extra cash while going to journalism college is not a part of the career. As a manager, your job is to keep employees engaged and satisfied with their work. Building a sense of purpose and being inspired and motivated by a mission adds meaning to their day-to-day job.

The lack of motivation, purpose, and meaning is often the primary reason employees leave their jobs.

What is a career?

A career is a combination of the type of work done (teaching, writing, coding, and so on) over a while and a string of jobs related to that. 

A stint as a cashier is not a part of the career, but studies are if the ultimate goal is to become an accountant more like a means to an end.

A career fulfills the life purpose and is essentially tied to the identity and motivation of employees. Moreover, a job is built mainly from skills, experience, and interests. It stems from what one likes doing besides being good at. It is like an Ikigai.

A leader’s responsibility is to ensure that employees feel satisfied and engaged in their job and career.

How to increase job satisfaction in the workplace?

Here are twelve ways to increase job satisfaction regardless of the differences between a job and a career.

1. Set clear expectations

A survey by Gallup revealed that only 26% of employees felt they could maintain a healthy work-life balance. Ensure that your employees are not overworked, stressed, or overwhelmed as a manager. Be it a job or career, be mindful of your assigned tasks, even if you lead an ambitious team.

When employers regularly conduct employee engagement and lifecycle surveys, they get to gauge the employee’s pulse. Empuls allows organizations and HR teams to configure surveys for the employee lifecycle, including onboarding, wellness, learning, and exit.

You can also set the questions, anonymity, and audience to spot irregularities and areas that need attention. Data-driven tips for improvement help leaders and managers act proactively

2. Recognize good work

Managers must take time to make the team members feel seen and appreciated. Remember to celebrate small wins and bigger accomplishments and offer positive feedback.

Even during remote working, you should brainstorm ways to appreciate and recognize employees for their work authentically. The reason is that most employees don’t feel they get enough praise. Leaders have an enormous scope to make employees proud of their work.

Workplace Intranet, Empuls allows managers to give the team and individual praise. Consider specifying the task, project, and impact your employee had, which made you recognize and celebrate the good work.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) motivates its employees by publicly recognizing their contribution to the company on social media.

3. Focus on long-term goals

When teams and employees have visibility on the organization's long-term goals, vision, and strategy, employees can connect with the goals. They can understand how they can contribute to achieving the eye, leading to increased job satisfaction.

Make your team members feel they are a part of the bigger picture. Show them that you value their inputs by inviting their feedback.

4. Have an open channel of communication

Constant communication is crucial for building relationships in a job and career. Open communication ensures that important information does not get missed. Lead by example when creating a culture of open and honest communication.

As a manager, when you communicate your feelings, others feel safe expressing theirs. At all times, provide visibility into the information you have.

Frequently check in with your team to stay connected both personally and professionally. The Social Intranet feature from Empuls helps remove the silos and keeps everyone connected. This way, leaders and managers can align employees to a shared goal, news, and information

5. Care about your employee’s well-being

Whether it is a job or a career for an employee, one way to increase employee motivation is by showing that you genuinely care about their well-being. That includes motivating them to achieve their fitness milestones and even encouraging them to disconnect when they feel burned out.

Encourage managers to check on the team with 1-on-1’s for building a meaningful connection before jumping into work discussion. Healthy and happy employees will be efficient and satisfied.

6. Give them opportunities to learn

When employees stop learning, they will consider a job change for stimulation. Managers must encourage employees to hone their skills by attending conferences, webinars, and events. Keep the mindset of curiosity and learning high for interns doing a job and employees building a career.

The connect and align feature of Empuls enables you to speak with employees about their goals and objectives. When you know what they want to focus on, give them the information, resources, and job training for upskilling.

According to Harvard Business Review, Pixar University offers its employees training and optional classes in different disciplines.

7. Share feedback frequently

Whether an employee considers their work a job or a career, they crave feedback. This can help them be more efficient, work smarter and improve performance. When you give constructive feedback, they will value the time and effort you put in. Ensure that your feedback and inputs are phrased correctly to be well-received.

Constructive and healthy feedback sessions, done monthly or quarterly, are ideal.

8. Measure the engagement and employee satisfaction

The key is to host pulse surveys or eNPS frequently. Annual surveys aren’t enough anymore. Improving company culture requires an agile approach.

Empuls has pulse surveys that help managers measure real-time employee engagement through eNPS. Listening and understanding employee feedback helps in turning it into actionable insights.

9. Employee discounts

Employee discounts are a crucial perk that everyone appreciates. They could be in the form of formidable deals for the team on medicines, apparel, grocery, and merchandise.

Be it a job or a career, these discounts and rewards reduce attrition and improve productivity. They give your workforce an added advantage of working with you.

Microsoft gives a range of perks listed on its career page to help employees live healthy lives.

10. Foster relationships for better collaboration

Whether it is a temporary job for an employee or a career, having positive relationships propel overall job satisfaction. Managers can take a step ahead and encourage employees to bond about common hobbies even outside of work.

After all, strong, trustworthy relationships fuel better collaboration and build team trust. When people work better together, the business also runs better. Facilitate better connections between people in your team.

11. Provide a long-term career path

Help your employees plan for their long-term success. This shows that you are committed to seeing them progress, and you are willing to invest in their career growth. Help them map out their career goals to transition from a job to a career.

12. Rewards, recognition, and performance bonus

While monthly salaries are alright, great things happen when rewards and recognition are in the books. There is a direct relationship between rewards and the increase in efforts and results. For a motivated workforce, link their performance with monetary rewards and engage them in efficiently accomplishing the tasks.

The importance of performance bonuses is highlighted by IRF, which found team incentives to increase productivity by as much as 44%. Using Empuls, you can automate the process of rewards and recognition to build a culture of appreciation.

Wrapping it up

Jobs are multiple dots on a career trajectory. A manager’s role is to help employees utilize their best self, ignite the urge to learn and provide long-term work satisfaction. As a leader, assisting employees to map out their career aspirations is worth the job.

Whether the employment is a job or a career, the best leaders and managers improve employee engagement, motivation, and overall job satisfaction. An employee engagement software such as Empuls can assist in uncovering employee insights to pull the right engagement drivers to build a highly engaged workforce.

Concluding with the golden words of Henry Ford from the last century that holds even now, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. It all starts with doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

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Priyanka Desai

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Priyanka Desai is the CEO and Founder of iScribblers.