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What Is the Connection between Motivation and Job Satisfaction?

Sandi Johnson
Sandi Johnson

Employee motivation and job satisfaction are symbiotic concepts. High job satisfaction is directly tied to high motivation and vice versa. The more satisfied and content employees feel in a particular job role, the more motivated employees are to manage job responsibilities effectively. Surveys of various industries suggest that employees with a high sense of motivation also report a stronger sense of job satisfaction. Increased job satisfaction, therefore, leads to a heightened sense of both personal and professional motivation, and likewise, strong motivation results in more satisfaction in a particular job.

In terms of motivation and job satisfaction, employers have searched, studied, and discussed a variety of concepts for improving both. Based on numerous workplace studies and surveys, factors impacting job satisfaction include work environment and organizational culture, compensation, as well as opportunities for professional growth. An employees' ability to balance the demands of both career and personal commitments are also important. If an employee feels an employer meets their needs in these regards, they are more likely to feel motivated to perform at or above company standards and report feeling happier with their career choices.

High job satisfaction is directly tied to high motivation.
High job satisfaction is directly tied to high motivation.

Studies show that low motivation and job satisfaction adversely affect morale, employee attitudes, and subsequently, the further desire or motivation to be productive. Unhappy employees have little reason to help an organization to succeed and therefore display little motivation or interest in organizational goals. Focusing on increasing job satisfaction will encourage higher levels of productivity, reduce employee turnover, and cut back on culpable absenteeism. Likewise, not only do such measures improve attrition, absenteeism, and productivity, but also the mental and physical health of employees, further reducing issues with valid absenteeism as well as drops in productivity related to stress and job burn out.

Increasing motivation and job satisfaction might go a long way toward reducing stress and burn out.
Increasing motivation and job satisfaction might go a long way toward reducing stress and burn out.

Motivating employees and thereby increasing overall job satisfaction is as much art as it is science. Understanding human psychology better equips managers, supervisors, and human resource professionals to address issues of motivation and job satisfaction. Pay rates, benefits, and physical work spaces are all examples of extrinsic or externally sourced motivating factors, which, according to numerous workplace studies, have the least effect on motivation and produce the least job satisfaction. Alternatively, intrinsic motivation, such as personal or professional goals, self-respect, and challenging or interesting work, have been shown in numerous studies to have a larger impact on employee motivation and job satisfaction. As such, employers who focus on self-motivating factors rather than external motivations are more likely to retain employees who report satisfaction with their work environment.

Discussion Comments


I had a boss once who really didn't care about his own job. He would ignore it when people didn't work as hard as they could, or even close to it, and never tried to get us to reach the goals we were supposed to be aiming for.

As a result, everyone hated the job. Which was ironic really, as it was a super easy job, since he wasn't trying to get us to do anything difficult.

I guess if you have to be there anyway, you might as well be doing something. Otherwise the time just drags.

Of course, this was before people were able to just go on the internet all day, which I hear they do in offices now.

It sure wouldn't do much for personnel motivation, but maybe it helps with satisfaction.


@indigomoth - I really think it's that simple. Make sure your employees are happy, and give them a little bit of competition and they will go the extra mile for you every time.

I know in every job I worked in, if I ever lost motivation it would be because the job wasn't very satisfying. I didn't feel like I was achieving anything, or that anyone appreciated what I was doing.

The best jobs I've had have been ones where I felt like I really made a difference to the people around me, as well as the company.

In those cases, I'd look for extra work I could do, and felt better at the end of the end of the day, than in easier jobs where I wouldn't bother to.


The job I felt most motivated to do as best I could was a simple retail job working in a bookstore.

But, our manager was very enthusiastic and would set us goals, and the company itself would reward us if we reached certain milestones each week.

Our job performance was just really motivated. We each had a different area of the store to tend to, and we had a bit of healthy competition going between each section. It felt more like a family than a workplace.

Unfortunately, it was bought out by another company and our store had to close down after a while. But even then, they took care of us, making sure we all had new jobs with other stores if we wanted them, and letting us keep our discount cards for over a year, even if we decided to leave.

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    • High job satisfaction is directly tied to high motivation.
      By: Karin & Uwe Annas
      High job satisfaction is directly tied to high motivation.
    • Increasing motivation and job satisfaction might go a long way toward reducing stress and burn out.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Increasing motivation and job satisfaction might go a long way toward reducing stress and burn out.