It’s time for the next part of our interview with Alexander Kjerulf. In the previous session, Alexander talked about how he works with the concept of job satisfaction and what it actually means. This week, we’ll look at how you easily can create job satisfaction.

ALEXANDER:

What gives you job satisfaction? I’ve asked many people around the world that question. Their answers are always in one of two categories. Either it’s about making a difference and getting results, or it’s about the people you work with and having good relationships with your colleagues and boss.

 

RELATIONWISE:

But satisfaction with results must be quite dependent on the work you do, right? For example, if you’re a nurse, you can directly see that you make a big difference in other people’s lives. However, what if you’re a telephone customer service agent? There must be a difference depending on what kind of job you have, right?

 

ALEXANDER:

There are certainly some jobs where it’s easier to see the difference. It was much more simple 50 years ago when most jobs were more physical. For example, if you were a bricklayer and there was no wall when you started work but by the time you went home there was a wall, one that you had built, you could see that you made a difference.
Today, most of the work takes place inside your head, the computer, in meetings, on paper, so it may be harder to see whether you make a difference or whether you’ve created something. What’s important in this context is that you get some feedback, that you get some recognition. This is to a great extent where you find out that you’ve made a difference, that you’ve done well, and that you delivered the goods!
You know that you’ve made a difference when your boss praises you for what you said in a meeting the previous day, your colleagues thank you for helping them, or when a customer lets you know that the advice you gave him was really helpful. Sadly, only few people get to experience this. We’re simply not good enough at acknowledging each other’s work!

 

RELATIONWISE:

I must admit that this is true when I look at my own business. You often forget to focus on the positive things. Instead, you tend to focus on all the things you could improve on.

 

ALEXANDER:

What’s interesting is that if you’re good at acknowledging people and things are going well, it also makes it easier to offer negative criticism. It’s much easier to say something negative when a positive atmosphere has already been established.

 

RELATIONWISE:

Are you able to help all companies or do you mainly focus on specific ones?

 

ALEXANDER:

It’s all of them: big, small, private and public. I’ve worked with everyone from CEOs to kindergarten teachers. Everyone wants job satisfaction.

 

RELATIONWISE:

And you’re saying that, overall, it’s all about making a difference and creating relationships?

 

ALEXANDER:

Yes, that’s what everyone wants. If you’re a CEO, your results look different than if you’re a kindergarten teacher, but when we go home, what we all want to know is that we’ve made a difference and that we’ve done something to be proud of.

 

RELATIONWISE:

I imagine that companies have an enormous job to do in this area.

 

ALEXANDER:

There’s a big difference. In some countries, like in Scandinavia, they’re doing well. There’s a big emphasis on the well-being of the employees so they don’t get stressed, etc. In the U.S., however, most companies still have a long way to go. On the other hand, they do have a few companies that are much further ahead than anywhere else that we could really learn a lot from.

 

RELTIONWISE:

Are there some good examples of who leads the way?

 

ALEXANDER:

The happiest workplace in the U.S. is Google.

 

RELATIONWISE:

What’s the best way to do it? Do you have a quick formula? However, I guess it takes some time to implement it.

 

ALEXANDER:

Yes, it takes time, but you must also be willing to make the sacrifice. After all, the returns are many times more than the cost. It’s not an expense; it’s an investment that makes its money back big time. You can really save a lot when the job satisfaction is there. The most important thing is to do something now.
It’s about getting everyone in on it. Again, everyone should be helping to create job satisfaction, not just the directors. If you want some specific examples of things you can do, start praising. Start creating a praising culture. It should be the norm that when someone is doing a good job they get credit for it. This is something you can do immediately. Another good example is something as simple as starting the day by saying ‘good morning’ and not just ‘morning’. Try a heartfelt and warm ‘good morning’ to everyone you meet in the morning instead of just ignoring each other.
It’s very simple, but it’s really something that works. Saying ‘good morning’ is especially helpful for creating great relationships straight from the get-go so people feel welcome and part of the community.

 

Get inspired by Alexander Kjerulf’s blog at www.positivesharing.com.