Does Job Satisfaction Affect Performance?

Conventional wisdom suggests that happiness in the workplace can influence job satisfaction and performance.

Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction is the thoughts or feelings that are stimulated when you think about your job. If you think about your job and feel happy and fulfilled, you could be said to have high job satisfaction. If thinking about your job fills you with dread, you could be said to have low job satisfaction.

It is generally believed that happy workers work harder and get more done. They feel confident about their decisions and their role with the company, and when they complete a task, they are sure that they have produced their best work since they are happy to work hard for the company.


There is some evidence to suggest that even if you are unhappy at work, you may be working harder to make your job bearable. Irritating colleagues, demanding clients and disquiet about job security can encourage a worker to just work harder. By taking on more work, a worker can avoid colleagues, show that they are at least trying to meet the demands of clients and demonstrate that they are irreplaceable.

The problem is, if a person can't keep up the hectic pace, that they will increase their likelihood of burning out. No matter how hard you work, if there is no other position to promote a worker into, they will just have to keep working at a frantic pace, possibly not making enough money to compensate for all of their additional work.

In addition to burnout, the very colleagues that the person avoided may now actively resent their hardworking colleague for making them look bad. If the worker merely disliked their attitude, now they may become a target for their colleague ire, an uncomfortable position. If the worker becomes entirely cut off from their colleagues, it is easy to cut a loner out of the loop. People who don't have strong networks at work, no matter how hard they work, can sometimes find themselves on the lay off list, mainly because they have no allies who are willing to speak up for them, or because people aren't aware of just how much work the person is doing.


Retention refers to the ability of a company to keep workers and to keep turnover down. Even during a recession, when it appears that there are many people willing to step into a new job, companies can still continually lose qualified staff, which cost a great deal to hire and train. A company with a high turnover rate is probably spending lots of money that is shouldn't have to lose, if only managers would address job satisfaction issues.

If you hate your job, you are going to look for a way to escape it. Some workers will escape the work environment by working as industriously as possible to turn out the noise from the office. Once you can no longer keep up the pace, workers will burnout, and either ask for a leave, or start firing off resumes over the lunch hour. Even in a down economy, there are certain professions and skills sets, such as accountants and researchers, who are highly specialized and not easily replaced. A company that doesn't investigate and improve job satisfaction may have a hard time keeping workers, which only increases human resource costs, and affects the overall reputation of the company.