Few would argue that stress in the workplace has increased in recent years and that the relationship between employers and employees is changing dramatically. There is less loyalty on both sides of the equation. The result of these trends is that employees are less satisfied. And that dissatisfaction can affect productivity.
Randstand USA a global provider of employment services conducts extensive research on business issues, workers and the workplace. Their 2006 Employee Review was recently published and brings to light some interesting findings.
The study concludes that there is a growing level of employee dissatisfaction. The data indicate that many employees believe their career advancement is non-existent. Work/life is out of whack and workers feel unvalued. And they expect management to fix the problems. Add to all that the facts that there is a large discrepancy between what employees want and what managers believe they are doing to solve the problems.
“When it comes to career development, 73 percent of employers said fostering employee development is important, but only 49 percent of employees said leadership is adhering to this practice. Likewise, 86 percent of employees cited feeling valued as an important factor for happiness while only 37 percent said it exists in their job.”
This inconsistency can adversely affect productivity. Employees become less loyal and more disgruntled. While not willing to leave a position in uncertain times, the employee stays with a job they dislike and productivity suffers from low morale.
The survey also shows diverse opinions from the different generations in the workplace. Generation X and Y are looking to develop their career and learn more skills. They seek personal growth while overwhelmingly Boomers and Matures are looking for recognition and appreciation.
When it comes to taking time off, the Generations X and Y are almost twice as likely to take a day off to relieve stress and almost 4 times more likely to take a sick day for personal errands. The Matures by far take the least time off.
In a stressful business climate it is essential to understand the varied demographics of your population and to listen and believe what your employees are telling you either openly or with their behavior (increased absenteeism or turnover). Open discussions and efforts to respond are valuable not only for morale but also for productivity and the bottom line.