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02/10 2011

Are Your Employees Happy At Work — Should You Be Concerned?

Recent research shows that even in today’s troubled economy, job satisfaction numbers are lower than at any time during the past 22 years.

Survey research conducted by The Conference Board in 2009 showed that just 45% of US respondents indicated that they were satisfied with their work — down from 61.1% in 1987. Satisfaction scores are down 4% even from 2008, when 49% of respondents reported satisfaction at work.

Researchers indicate that workers have grown steadily unhappy for a number of different reasons:

  • Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting
  • Incomes have not kept up with inflation
  • The soaring cost of insurance has eaten into take-home pay

In addition, fewer than half of the respondents feel secure in their jobs, and only about 50% like their co-workers or their boss.

Employees under 25 years of age reported the highest levels of job dissatisfaction in the survey – a whopping 64% indicate that they are not happy at work.

Why is this important? Researchers state that such low levels of satisfaction may result in lower levels of engagement and involvement at work, which will ultimately impact levels of innovation and productivity.

For an individual organization, levels of dissatisfaction are important because they can impact employee retention rates. Replacing employees can be costly, particularly for jobs that require extensive training periods.

In addition, we know that in most instances, employees do not quit an organization – instead, they quit their immediate supervisor. In other words, the relationship that an employee has with his/her immediate supervisor is the biggest predictor of turnover in an organization.

Therefore, the above statistics regarding satisfaction with supervisors is particularly troubling, and points the need to provide ongoing training and development for supervisors, particularly in the areas of communications, interpersonal style, delegation skills, and teambuilding skills.

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