What if I can't give my employees what they want for job satisfaction?


Phil:  All right, Jenna, I have one of the questions that came up in our MedBridge career burnout and getting your ideal career webinar.  "Do you have any suggestions if you're on the employer side of the issue, where an employee is saying that there is something that they really want for job satisfaction, which just can't happen?  Practically all of our employees say that they don't want to work weekends, but as a rehab unit, weekend therapy is necessary.  If we allow one employee to work only Monday through Friday, then all the employees would want this, and inpatient rehab doesn't work that way."  Man, that's a great question.

Jenna:  It is a good question because I think it gets to something that we don't want to draw attention to all the time.  But certain things can't happen.  There are certain things, if you're in a rehab unit and you need coverage on the weekend and part of the role is that therapists cover that, then can you let a therapist just never work weekends?  That actually might not be possible.  But I think when you look at this either from employee side or employer side, the big question to ask is, can you do something to make this more appealing? 

We talk about this a lot in our course about job demands and job resources and how you figure out that weighing of things.  And it's like if working the weekend is really lousy, how can you tip the scale?  And maybe it's flex time at another time.  Maybe you work a weekend so you get a longer weekend.  Maybe it's more money.  Maybe it could be a lot of different things.  But just because the one thing that everybody says they want can't happen doesn't mean you don't do anything.  Just like if you're going to your employer and you're saying, I want this, and they're saying no, you don't just throw up your hands and say, oh, well, I can't get what I want.  There's often other things that we do want.  There's that ideal thing that if I had this, it would be great.  But sometimes we don't recognize the other smaller, equally as effective changes that can be made.  What do you think?

Phil:  Actually, it's great to just listen to your answer there, several things come up.  There's like five issues right here, believe it or not.  So it's the idea of that, first of all, that balance concept, right?   Like, I live in Evansville, Indiana.  Evansville, Indiana is not where I would choose to live.  I would be in a log home in the mountains of Colorado.  But there are enough other things here that I value, and it's not changeable because of the values I've set.  We want to be by family, and there's enough other things we value that offset not being able to live in the mountains right now.  Though I think a lot of times we tend to focus on the thing that we know is not changeable, and that is the reason that we're dissatisfied.  And frequently it's just pointed to.  And now, don't get me wrong, working weekends probably would be a dissatisfaction point. I get that.  I'm not in denial there.  But I think we just point to it because we know it can't change.  And so we just keep blaming the thing that can't change versus trying to find the things that might make that on balance. 

But we have to acknowledge that all of these other things do make it on balance and make it a good thing.  The other thing is I've actually been in this situation as a rehab director in an acute care hospital.  We need to consider that if we start with the premise that we have to do it this way and there is no solution, it guarantees no solution. Right?  And again, I'm certain this person has thought outside the box and all that, but let's not start with that there is not a solution to it because what if we said, hey, could there be someone in the community who has a family and only wants to work weekends or wants to travel all week and doesn't want to work during the week and would just love to work two weekends a month?  You find two people like that. Again, that may, may or not be possible, but when we start that it's non-negotiable, then it's almost like we just need to flip it and go, if we were to wave a magic wand, how could we solve this?  Not thinking whether it's possible or not, just like our dream big exercise in the career.  Don't think tactics until you think of all the solutions.  So, yeah, I think there's a lot of issues there.

Jenna:  I like that, though.  It's a good question. 

Phil:  It's a real world. Absolutely.  And again, you can fill in the blank on that question. It can be the salary can't increase, the time off can't increase, the hours can't change, the location can't change.  But there are fixed things in everything we do, and we either have to determine truly that they are fixed. Is it a fixed thing or not?  And if it is, then we have to look at it and go, all right, do we have enough? Or what else could we do that would balance that out?


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