On business: Not happy at work? You’re not alone
Ryan Summerlin September 20, 2013
While many are clamoring to a find job, there are a large number of workers who aren’t happy with the ones they have. According to a 2013 job satisfaction survey conducted by The Conference Board, a global business research association, less than half of workers say they are satisfied at work. More often than not, these workers are unengaged and unproductive. Many of them seek new jobs using company time and resources to do so. Job tenure in today’s workplace is slightly more than five years, a far cry from the gold-watch days of yesteryear. But why is there so much turnover and why is job satisfaction at an all-time low?
Positive leadership provides direction and motivates employees to solve problems and find solutions for a common goal. It encourages participation and inspires new ideas. When it comes to leadership flaws, communication usually tops the list. Workers cite not only a lack of communication in many cases, but also the non-motivational style the communication they do receive is delivered. Workers criticize incomplete, inconsistent, untimely and conflicting facts, adding that they don’t feel valued by their superiors. They complain about an absence of incentives for a job well done. Poor performance, on the other hand, is often not addressed timely. Open communication, mutual respect, and constructive feedback are vital to an employee’s success. Behind every satisfied staff is a good leader.
More Work, Less Pay
Employees are working harder, putting in longer hours, receiving less perks with little praise. Raises? Forget about it. Many feel they are underpaid with compensation that hasn’t kept up with inflation and the rising cost of living. With employers trimming “fat,” jobs are being reconfigured and combined. What used to be a two-person job is now the job of one. Water cooler discussions create more friction and discontent. “Bertha is being paid more than Bob and she’s paid more than me, too!” These conversations, inappropriate as they may be, are common. Attitude issues ensue affecting work performance and morale. Another consideration worthy of mention is the disparity between CEO pay and worker paychecks. Some reports cite more than 300 times more pay for the executives. This gap has increased dramatically over time causing workers to feel exasperated, angry and demoralized.
Inadequate training or lack of training can lead to frustration and negativity. It’s unfair and unsettling to place a worker in a situation where it’s difficult to succeed. Training is expensive for employers but if done properly it offers a good return on their investment. Outdated training without a system for evaluation is also problematic. Trainers themselves are sometimes improperly trained, exacerbating the problem. A well-trained employee is a happier one. Those who are not are more likely to be non-cooperative and defensive.
Benefits are important. Healthcare coverage can make or break a family’s budget. A lack of sick leave creates problems when workers report to work ill. Without benefits some workers can’t make ends meet. In light of today’s economy, employers avoid paying benefits by hiring part-time workers. This is happening increasingly more often. It’s cost-effective for the employer, yes, but not apt to create a happy workforce.
Absence of Promotional Opportunities
Many workers aspire to achieve success in order to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. The carrot at the end of the stick motivates them. When there is no carrot and sometimes not even a stick, one can easily lose enthusiasm and feel trapped. Managers should make advancement opportunities available whenever possible and ensure that workers know how to seek them out. They should actively identify and encourage those with leadership potential. New employee orientation is a good place to start the conversation. It sets the stage of expectation and plants the seed of motivation. If opportunities for upward mobility don’t exist, restless workers take the stage.
Changes In Technology
Rapidly changing technology has created a continuous shifting of jobs duties. Some jobs have been eliminated in favor of computers or robots. Although many embrace change, for some workers not only is it stressful, they feel a sense of loss. Ownership of job functions is a thing of the past. One must know and accept this and be willing to evolve.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers between the ages of 25-55 spend on average 8.8 hours per day at work. Improving job satisfaction is a key quality of life issue. Solutions to improve it must not be overlooked.
— Gloria Sinibaldi is a career professional who has worked in the employment field for more than 20 years. She is a trainer coach and job developer. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.