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Measuring Job Satisfaction and Stress at a Community Corrections Center: An Evidence-Based Study

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Magazine Volume: 68 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2006 Pages: 70-73
Kevin W. Whiteacre
Date Published
June 2006
4 pages
This article describes the development, administration, and results of a job satisfaction survey by the Salvation Army Correctional Services Program (SACSP) in Chicago.
Job satisfaction among employees is a crucial factor to organizational success and even employee happiness, health, and longevity. Opportunities exist to enhance employee satisfaction in the corrections industry but in order to do so, management needs to understand current staff workplace attitudes. The SACSP developed and tested a valid, reliable survey of employee workplace attitudes for use in its community corrections center. Development of the survey involved a careful review of the research literature and the identification of survey items and scales that have previously been proven reliable and valid. The completed survey measured global job satisfaction along nine specific facets of the job, including pay, benefits, and duties. The survey also measured job involvement, job-related stress, satisfaction with supervision, organizational operations, perceived opportunities for promotion, assessment of teamwork, and professional orientation. The six-page survey was administered to staff at SACSP’s community corrections center during 2 monthly all-staff meetings and via e-mail to those not attending the meetings. Surveys were completed by 54 percent of the staff and indicated relatively high levels of employee job satisfaction. Employees identified problem areas that included feelings of stagnation in their careers and problems with both teamwork and employee autonomy. Employee stressors were identified as frequent contact with residents and a concern for respect. Challenges to survey usability included a low response rate, incomplete surveys, and difficulty in establishing the causes of job dissatisfaction. Despite the challenges, the survey provided meaningful information to corrections leaders and identified areas where improvements could be made to enhance employee job satisfaction. Endnotes