With the free market determining the labor costs (salaries) in most products and services, the most important value-added component a company can offer its people increasingly will be job satisfaction.
Extensive research has been done on what's important to us in our jobs. The conclusions of most studies are that the main components of job satisfaction are:
- Recognition for a job well done – Mark Twain said he could live for two months on a good compliment.
- A healthy working environment – clean, well-lit, adequate space; the proper equipment; and a space inhabited by people who care and who communicate in an honest, timely fashion.
- Meaningful work – trading your time in life to help achieve something worthwhile.
- Responsibility – a belief that people are responsible for their own actions, and indications that they are trusted.
- Accountability – a feeling of ownership of outcomes; a sense of the proverbial buck stopping with every single person and not in the lap of someone far down the line.
- Equitable compensation – linked not to longevity or rank, but to performance; being treated like partners; possible equity in the business can be important.
- The chance to learn – opportunities to grow into more significant positions with greater responsibility and ultimately, to increase one's value to the organization.
- The chance to do great work – not just work that meets minimum standards and expectations, but quality work: A+ work!
- Understanding – knowing how the work relates to the realization of the overall goals of the business.
- The chance to work with interesting, motivated, responsible people – whose personal and professional goals are in alignment with one's own.
Two other elements that will continue to become even more important are job flexibility and personal freedom.
Now, take just a moment to review the list again. It becomes obvious that the concept of a self-directed worker deployed on a self-directed team is a natural system for making sure many of these needs are met.
As you read further, you'll find even more evidence in support of the contention that the needs outlined above are satisfied by deploying people in self-directed teams.