Sports coaches and staff can use the Job Characteristics Model to increase job satisfaction and performance.
This model was developed by Hackman and Oldham and it suggests that there are five core job dimensions that impact job satisfaction: task identity, task significance, autonomy, feedback, and opportunity for growth.
While we often state that coaching or working in a youth sports organization is different than a “regular business”, it doesn’t mean that these same principles aren’t important. Applying these dimensions to youth sports coaches and staff can help create a more positive and productive work environment.
Task identity is the degree to which a job entails a complete, identifiable work identity with responsibilities and expectations. In order for coaches and staff to feel a sense of ownership over their job, it is important that they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. When everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal, it is easier to maintain a positive attitude and a high level of job satisfaction.
Task significance is when a job has a direct, significant impact on the lives of others. Coaches and staff who feel like they are making a difference in the lives of those they work with are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Youth sports organizations have the unique opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people and help them develop important life skills. When coaches and staff feel like they are playing a role in this larger mission, it can increase job satisfaction.
Autonomy provides the individual with discretion over planning, scheduling, and executing work activities. When coaches and staff have more control over their work, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their job. This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any structure or rules, but it is important to give coaches and staff some flexibility to do their job in the way they see fit.
Feedback is the degree to which your staff receives clear information about the effectiveness of their performance. Coaches and staff who receive regular feedback are more likely to be satisfied with their job. Feedback can be positive or negative, but it is important that it is timely and accurate.
Opportunity is when a job provides pathways for personal and professional development. When coaches and staff feel like they are able to grow and develop in their roles, they are more likely to be satisfied with their job. Youth sports organizations can provide opportunities for growth by investing in coaching education and professional development.
The Job Characteristics Model can be a useful tool for coaches and staff who are looking to increase job satisfaction and performance. Obviously, how we’ve described each area is overly simplified, but by understanding the five core job dimensions, you can identify areas where changes can be made to their work environment. When everyone is working towards the same goal, it creates a positive and productive work environment that leads to success both on and off the field.