Happy employees are productive employees.” “Happy employees are not productive employees.” We hear these conflicting statements made by HR professionals and managers in organizations. There is confusion and debate among practitioners on the topic of employee attitudes and job satisfaction even at a time when employees are increasingly important for organizational success and competitiveness. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to provide greater understanding of the research on this topic and give recommendations related to the major practitioner knowledge gaps. As indicated indirectly in a study of HR professionals (Rynes, Colbert, & Brown, 2002), as well as based on our experience, the major practitioner knowledge gaps in this area are: (1) the causes of employee attitudes, (2) the results of positive or negative job satisfaction, and (3) how to measure and influence employee attitudes. Within each gap area, we provide a review of the scientific research and recommendations for practitioners related to the research findings. In the final section, additional recommendations for enhancing organizational practice in the area of employee attitudes and job satisfaction are described, along with suggestions for evaluating the implemented practices. Before beginning, we should describe what we mean by employee attitudes and job satisfaction. Employees have attitudes or viewpoints about many aspects of their jobs, their careers, and their organizations.
However, from the perspective of research and practice, the most focal employee attitude is job satisfaction. Thus, we often refer to employee attitudes broadly in this article, although much of our specific focus will concern job satisfaction.