By Kurt Webber, TPG Consultant
I was watching the national news the other night, and they had the story about the Jet Blue flight attendant who slid down the emergency slide, beer in hand, after yelling at his passengers. His reason for doing so was that he was fed up with his job. At the end of the story, the reporter referenced the recent Conference Board study about current employee satisfaction. The research the Conference Board released in January 2010 found that only 45% of all American workers are satisfied with their current job. Their findings are in line with the Right Management study that came out in November, 2009 that found that 60% of Americans plan to leave their job in 2010. According to this study, the number one reason for this dissatisfaction is the way they are treated by their employer.
The interesting thing about the two studies is the fact that now more than perhaps ever before, the American worker is becoming more dissatisfied with their job and whom they work for. In fact, the Conference Board results are the lowest since the inception of the study in 1987, where 61.1% of the American worker was satisfied with their job.
It’s high time for organizations to take a hard look at how they treat their employees. And if they aren’t treating them well, it’s also high time to do something about it.
It is amazing to me that organizations don’t see the value of their people. At a time where company profits are shrinking and costs are rising, the question I ask myself is, “why don’t they see the value?” Senior managers are paid great money to identify issues within an organization, and for the most part, they are very smart people. One would think, or assume, that the focus would be on employee satisfaction.
However, based on the two current studies, that is not the philosophy of many US corporations. In hard times, I firmly believe that you can still grow organically, or through your best asset…your people. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to instill a culture that focuses on employee satisfaction. What does take time and effort is the ability to recognize the issues at hand and the guts to do something about it.
The long-term effects of employee dissatisfaction are devastating. Not only will employee moral continue to decline, as will employee retention. Once the job market starts to open up, these unhappy employees will leave in droves…especially the “stars.” And where will they go? They will go to those organizations that have a company culture of excellence, a company that recognizes their most important asset is its people. It’s high time for organizations to take a hard look at how they treat their employees. And if they aren’t treating them well, it’s also high time to do something about it.
Excellent insights Kurt. I wholeheartedly agree that our organizations grow based on how we treat our employees. It’s a challenge for many leaders to realize that when they support their employees and provide opportunities for growth and fulfillment then they will have a happier workforce which will benefit the bottom line. Companies that get this concept enjoy more positive and productive work environments.
These two studies confirm what I hear from my clients all the time. When you are unhappy at work, this unhappiness carries over into all parts of your life. Contrary to what so many have been taught, you don’t have to endure job misery or become a workplace hostage to earn a living. It’s definitely possible to create meaningful work you love, but you have to be willing to invest in yourself to do it. As a career change coach, I know it takes time, creativity, and effort to transition from “corporate veal calf” to successfully self-employed — but it’s worth it.
In the current economic environment, EVERY JOB is temporary. Everyone needs to start developing a Plan B, just in case. and there’s no reason why that Plan B shouldn’t be making a good living doing what you love.
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