Understanding why employees are unhappy, and its consequences


In a survey conducted by Right Management in 2012, 65 per cent of the individuals surveyed were found to be either partially or totally dissatisfied with their jobs. Another study, a Mercer study of 30,000 workers worldwide, showed that 28 to 56 per cent of the workers surveyed wanted to leave their jobs.

Such staggering statistics are a clear indication that job dissatisfaction is a matter of serious concern. An unhappy work environment affects managers, customers, and most of all, employees. Such an environment is characterised by an unpleasant atmosphere that clouds workers, robbing them of their self-confidence and inducing a sense of inadequacy in them. This doesn’t just affect employees at an individual level but can lead to adverse consequences on the overall business performance of an organisation.

Dissatisfied employees lack interest in their work. They tend to find several problems with their job and become increasingly inefficient over time. Their negative feelings can spread quite fast, affecting the morale of other employees. This triggers a chain reaction that can offset the organisation’s equilibrium, and the resulting restlessness among employees can cause financial losses and endanger the future of the organisation.

The important issue here is for employers to understand what causes their employees to be dissatisfied. Needless to say, there are multiple dimensions to this problem. But an important issue appears to be that several of these employees aren’t really sure of their purpose in their organisations. Many employers have big visions for their companies and have elaborate plans to achieve their dreams, but their employees have a hard time understanding what exactly it is that they are working for. And even if they do know what they are on board for, they don’t understand how, and more importantly, why they need to contribute to their organisation, making them indifferent to their employers’ visions.

Underappreciation is another crucial factor that drives dissatisfaction. Often, inadequate training and unreasonable expectations cause employees to underperform, and they begin their jobs with a sense of dejection, gradually growing to accept this as a norm. Still other employees perform exceptionally well, only to be ignored by their superiors. When their work goes unappreciated for a long time, they learn that their efforts don’t really matter. All of this creates a culture of indifference, dejection and a general sense of aimlessness.

So what can employers do to ensure that their employees are motivated? For starters, they can address this problem right at the employment level. For example, online clothing store Zappos conducts two sets of interviews while hiring potential candidates: one interview to test a candidate’s job skills and work experience, and another interview to test the candidate’s cultural fit.

But finding the right candidates is only the beginning of the solution. Employees need to be consistently motivated if you want them to deliver. Extrinsic motivation in the form of bonuses and company perks can work for some time. But what works even better is providing them with intrinsic motivation in the form of acknowledgement and appreciation. Once you do this, employees automatically feel like delivering their best.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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