Monday, April 21, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Biggest Employee Complaints

According to many experts, workplace dissatisfaction is at an all time high, and that should be a concern for employers – and human resources professionals – everywhere.

Although the worst of the Great Recession is over, many are still feeling its effects, and though the economy is improving, its recovery is far from complete. With the job market still shaky in many sectors, many employees feel that they’re “stuck” at their current jobs, and many aren’t happy. This should be a matter of concern for employers, even if they feel they have a captive labor pool. It should definitely be a concern for employers in industries where the job market is improving, as those disgruntled workers will be more likely to jump ship.

What makes employees unhappy? Over the years there have been many workplace surveys and studies about this very subject. Here are five of the biggest complaints that emerge in survey after survey.

1.   Super stress. Toiling for one’s daily bread has always been stressful to some extent, but during the past few years, on-the-job stress has gone through the roof. In a trend that actually began years before the latest economic meltdown, increasing numbers of employees have been asked to do more; especially in industries racked with layoffs. Whether or not the extra duties include a raise in salary (and often they don’t), being asked to do the job of two people is a significant stressor for the average worker. In addition, many employees have family obligations, such as childcare or eldercare challenges, which are exacerbated if there’s no workplace support (e.g., company policies to accommodate caregivers, or at least an understanding boss). Office politics are also a frequent cause of unnecessary stress among employees.
2.   Sluggish salaries. Lack of timely raises and salary inequities (real or perceived) are major causes of employee dissatisfaction. Gender wage disparity still exists, and many companies are beset by budget crunches that preclude regular salary increases. Over time this can have a devastating effect on morale.
3.   Shrinking benefits. Due to market forces largely beyond their control, the trend over the past decade or so has been for employers to increasingly offer fewer benefits for staffers. Health insurance (or lack thereof) has been a big area of concern. In the US, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has attempted to address some of these problems, but it remains to be seen how this will work out. Many workers have also seen reductions in other benefits like stock or bonus programs and retirement plans. Not surprisingly, this has been a significant cause of employee dissatisfaction.
4.   Bad bosses.  Some of the top employee grievances concern bosses who are arrogant, incompetent, or – much worse – both.  Workers can't relate to bosses who don’t communicate to employees about what is expected of them, or treat employees disrespectfully (humiliating or bullying them, not sticking up for them, or disregarding the fact that they have private lives).  And morale suffers among employees working for bosses who over-manage good employees, as well as bosses who under-manage problem situation on the job.
5.   Jittery job security. Perhaps the worse stress for workers is knowing that their jobs might not be there tomorrow. Though the situation has stabilized in some workplaces, others are still in a state of flux, with many employees worried that they will be the next one to get the dreaded pink slip. And with good jobs in short supply, it’s a pretty scary situation for some.

While employers don’t have the power to control global forces or local factors that cause such turmoil in the job market, and while they may not always have the authority to shape or change policies that create employee frustration in the workplace; they are far from powerless. Bosses still have the power to influence the corporate culture and make it more pleasant and productive for staffers at all levels. HR departments can help to ensure that an efficient, confidential, and equitable system is in place to handle grievances. Bosses can set the tone for open communication and fairness, and they can work to minimize the negative influence of office politics. And sometimes, little things like a sympathetic ear and a little bit of respect can work wonders.

Author Byline:
This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for She welcomes your comments at her email:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the best blog. it was very useful for me.keep sharing such ideas in the future as well.
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