Job Satisfaction

"No one on his deathbed ever said, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office.'"

Paul Tsongas (1941 – 1997), American politician
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This Business English lesson plan on job satisfaction has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

A survey of British workers found that 24% are unhappy in their job, 15% feel no sense of purpose, and 25% feel undervalued. This is hardly surprising; the division of labour means that our roles have become increasingly specialised and distant from the big picture. Seeing value in our work was so important to our ancestors that most of our surnames are actually professions from the past. These days, we are thinking more about our personal life as the source of our satisfaction, but with a poor work-life balance, even that can be difficult. In this Business English lesson plan on job satisfaction, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what gives them satisfaction in a job, how job satisfaction could be increased, and how valued they feel in the office.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

INC | 7 Ways to Improve Employee Satisfaction

The article explains the benefits to a company that improves the satisfaction of its staff, such as increased loyalty and productivity. It then goes on to suggest seven ways companies can achieve this, including giving employees more control, taking measures to reduce stress, and encouraging social connections. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TED Talk by Nigel Marsh called “How to make work-life balance work” which talks about some superficial ways companies try to increase job satisfaction, and how small changes in a person’s life can make a big difference.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including whether the students’ current job gives them satisfaction, how promotions affect job satisfaction, and how many extra hours they are expected to work.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with job satisfaction such as work-life balance, rat race and flexitime. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about job satisfaction. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how they feel when they are praised, whether their opinions count, and what makes them feel proud about their company.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write an email to their HR team to suggest ways job satisfaction could be increased. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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