Good Jobs Overview

To reduce the occurrence and impact that common health problems have on an organisation it is important for all workers to have good jobs. This part of the toolbox gives you a full understanding of what is needed. It will help you make sense of the relationship between health and job quality, and gives guidance on what can be done.

Making sure jobs are as good, satisfying, and comfortable as they can be is an aspirational goal for every workplace. It's something we need to continuously work towards. Providing your workforce with good jobs should be your default position. It applies to all the people in the organisation – all the time. Stated simply, everyone in your workplace should be able to say 'I have a great job'. If they can, then they will enjoy better health, as well as being happier and more productive.

A good job is where your people say things like 'I’m happy with my job' or 'I love my job and I like doing it here'. It’s quite possible for people to like their job but not their colleagues or workplace. It's also possible to like the people and workplace but dislike the job. The trick to making good jobs is to ensure your colleagues find both aspects agreeable – maybe not perfect, but acceptable and satisfying. Having a good job is about this job, not the general idea of ‘good work’.

 

Good jobs help people to be ‘resilient’. This means the structure of the job and the way it’s organised helps people deal with unavoidable discomfort and irritation.

5 Things You Need to Know About Good Jobs

 

  • A good job is not the same as an ideal job. Not all jobs can be perfect. It is a matter of making the working conditions reasonable within the context of the job: it’s a question of balance. Although people have different preferences, for the most part, most people agree on the features that make up a good job.
     

  • Job satisfaction is important to us all – good jobs are satisfying jobs. A satisfying job has a sense of purpose, gives enjoyment, and meets expectations. You know you’re providing good jobs when your workers say they would choose the same job and workplace again!
     

  • It’s the simple things that make for good jobs, starting with open communication across the organisation, and treating workers and co-workers with respect. Workers need to feel they have a say in how things are run, and that management will listen. They need to feel appreciated and part of a team with a common goal. Good jobs are fair jobs. Good jobs resist an ‘us and them’ culture.
     

  • Good jobs come from good management. Senior management needs to be overtly committed to ensuring the organisation provides the best jobs it can. In providing good jobs you should find that what you get back is more than you put in! All the organisation’s line managers need to show the same commitment - line managers hold the key to good jobs.
     

  • The characteristics of good jobs are:

    • Balanced demands and a safe work environment

    • Effective and supportive line management

    • Feeling of being a valued and respected member of a team

    • Opportunities to use and develop skills

    • Support and opportunity for workers to solve their own problems

    • Support to make improvements to the job

    • Opportunities for social interaction

There are others things of course, but these are the features that people say make a job comfortable, agreeable and satisfying. Importantly, they are also the things that help people to be resilient, so they can cope at work with with common heath problems and minor injuries. Provide good jobs and you will get less sickness absence.

 

How this Works

 

Commitment to the Work↔Health culture leads to workplaces that are healthy and safe and this helps to reduce both the occurrence and impact of common health problems.

Good jobs encourage workers to develop skills and coping strategies to deal with the unpleasant and uncomfortable aspects of every job that are unavoidable.

Providing good jobs is an initiative aimed at groups of workers. It’s about managing things so that everyone in the organisation has a good job. It’s primarily to do with creating the right infrastructure to benefit groups of workers, yet recognising the needs of individuals.

Senior Management sets the approach. Line Managers make it happen. Workers contribute to the process.

There are key actions for each of these groups: senior managers, line managers, and workers.

 

Actions

 

Senior Managers

In larger companies and organisations creating the infrastructure may be delegated to others, e.g. HRM, but senior management involvement is essential to set the aspiration.

  • Initiate the process and be proactive about providing good jobs

  • Incorporate the good jobs aspiration into line manager training and support

  • Ensure everyone in the workplace has contributed to finding the best combination of approaches to providing good jobs throughout the different parts of the business or organisation

  • Review regularly and seek to improve

 

Line Managers

  • Find out whether you are providing good jobs. Use guided questioning to determine whether the jobs you manage are sufficiently comfortable and engaging.

  • Identify potential improvements and make changes, recognising that creating good jobs is an aspirational goal to keep working toward.

  • Identify where skills need to be developed to help workers cope with unavoidable aspects of jobs that are unpleasant or uncomfortable.

  • Communicate effectively to senior management and workers about what can be realistically achieved toward providing good jobs.

 

Workers

  • Participate in open communication about how to make good jobs

  • Question line managers when the process of providing good jobs is not occurring

  • Respect and support your colleagues

RUTH'S STORY

I work in a call centre, and I love my job. People are surprised by that. They think call centres are really stressful and not somewhere you’d want to work. Well, all I can say is it depends on who you work with. That’s a big part of it for me: I feel that I work with the company not for it. Sure, it’s stressful sometimes – I work in returns and obviously the callers are irritated and can be demanding. But, the way I was trained to look at it was that they have a problem that only I can solve – they need someone to guide them through the process of getting the right replacement, fast. Our managers take the time to talk about the job and like us to suggest improvements to the scripts and things. We get regular breaks and if we get stressed out with a really dodgy customer, we’re encouraged to take a couple of minutes out for a walk around or a grumble with a colleague. So, stress is controlled and we don’t get many people on long-term sick leave. Yes it’s a good job with a good company.