How does job satisfaction impact intention to leave?

Posted on March 16, 2012 by Katherine Razzi

Job satisfaction is the defined as the feeling that an individual has toward his or her work. We have all experienced both sides of the spectrum at some point in our lives. How did feeling dissatisfied impact your work? What were your feelings toward your job? Did you feel inclined to look for another job?

A study by Liu, Zhang, Ye, Zhu, Cao, Lu, & Li (2012) examined how job satisfaction levels impacted nurses intention to leave their current job. The results indicate that level of education (bachelors versus masters degrees) influences the likelihood that a nurse will experience levels of dissatisfaction. The researchers observed a negative correlation between level of education and presence of dissatisfaction.

Among nurses that had a low level of job satisfaction, 68% had intentions to leave the organization. This high percentage requires attention in the medical field. Some may argue that this number is not surprising given the profession, but medical offices and hospitals are likely losing good employees because the employees are not feeling satisfied with their job. The researchers make a great argument that there is currently a nursing shortage and hospitals and medical offices cannot afford to have such high turnover rates.

How does an organization fix a lack of job dissatisfaction among its employees? It is important to realize that there are several aspects of a job that can influence an employees’ job satisfaction. There is not one defining feature that can always fix job satisfaction. Every employee may have a reason for feeling dissatisfied. The role of the organization should be to catch employees when they are in the dissatisfied stage and work with them to fix the problem before turnover occurs.

Using surveys is a great tool to gather information about existing levels of job satisfaction among the organization as well as to understand what the organization may be missing. Using surveys with open-ended questions can allow employees to make suggestions and indicate why or why not their job satisfaction level is where it is.

Focus groups are also another valuable option in collecting information from employees. The key during focus groups is to make employees feel comfortable enough to speak their opinions without fear of retribution.

Reference: Liu, C., Zhang, L., Ye, W., Zhu, J., Cao, J., Lu, X., & Li, F. (2012). Job satisfaction and intention to leave: a questionnaire survey of hospital nurses in Shanghai of China. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21255-263

About Katherine Razzi

Katherine Razzi hails from the Midwest and holds a B.A. in Applied Behavioral Science from National-Louis University, Evanston Campus. Coursework in cultural diversity, management, organizational dynamics, morals and ethics, group interaction, and psychology.

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