A new study has linked employee satisfaction to both management style and corporate attitudes towards employees. In an article published in Springer’s Journal of Business and Psychology, researchers from the Universite Francois Rabelais in Tours, France, revealed new evidence that meeting employees’ basic needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness leads to improved job satisfaction.
According to Dr. Nicolas Gillet, when employers use the threat of punishment as motivation and give employees the impression that their contributions are not valued, employee well-being goes down. Past studies have shown that over a fourth of the variation in performance among individual employees is due to differences in their feelings of well-being. As a result, employee well-being has increasingly become the focus of corporate attention as businesses strive to improve performance for economic reasons.
For this study, the researchers investigated how employees’ perceptions of their organization as valuing or devaluing worker contributions , as well as supervisors’ management styles affect employees’ feelings of well-being.
Employees from French companies of various sizes were surveyed about the management styles of their immediate superiors. They were also asked how supportive their employers were. The researchers found that those employees who had managers who supported their autonomy reported higher levels of satisfaction. In addition, those employees who believed their companies valued their contributions were more satisfied.
When supervisors utilized a punitive management style, or when employees felt unappreciated by their organizations, they reported lower levels of satisfaction. The investigators concluded that businesses should consider the needs of employees in order to improve productivity.
According to Gillet, “We have shown, for the first time, that the fulfillment and frustration of these needs plays a central role in the improvement or reduction of well-being at work. Therefore, to satisfy employees’ needs, supervisors should provide subordinates with options rather than use threats and deadlines.”