Job dissatisfaction: A plague on our society and our economy

Jan 14, 2022

Only 15% of employees worldwide are considered to be engaged or satisfied at work. This is a major issue in today's society: how to be happy at work?

Generations Y and Z, who represent 59% of the working population, have very different needs in the workplace than previous generations (X and boomer). Companies often struggle to adapt to the needs of employees from more recent generations, thus leading to employee dissatisfaction. We have identified four factors behind this dissatisfaction.

An unsuitable working environment

Employees place great importance on flexibility in the work environment, with 90% declaring that they are looking for a job which offers them flexibility in working hours as well as the possibility of working remotely. In addition, 80% of employees say they feel the need for a pleasant working environment. With effort, companies can foster positive, supportive, and innovative spaces that enhance employees well-being and drive employee satisfaction.

Leadership and teamwork

One of the most frequently cited reasons for dissatisfaction is relationship problems with direct managers and/or colleagues. For example, an employee desiring independence and autonomy will not be able to feel fulfilled with a manager who is “micromanaging”. It is therefore essential to ensure that the leadership style of a given manager is compatible with that of their subordinates. After all, everyone knows that choosing a job also means choosing your boss, so it’s in companies’ best interest to match teams that drive productivity and long-term employee retention.

It is also important to build teams with compatible personalities. What does that mean? To be effective as a team, it is recommended to mix different types of personalities (See DISC Theory), including dominant (red), influential (yellow), stable (green), and conscientious (blue) personalities in order to capitalize on the strengths and complementarity of these different profiles.

Cultural ‘fit’

Communicating your company’s purpose plays a pivotal role in determining employee engagement levels. The most engaged employees are consistently those who are ‘emotionally attached’ to the products or services the company provides.

We often hear that an employee must know how to adapt to the culture of his company and share his values, but what does this mean exactly? For example, a company whose fundamentals are based on modesty, humility, and respect will find it difficult to welcome those employees who are competitive or arrogant.

Another important factor that is often underestimated is a company’s internal conflict management style, which helps to ensure a good ‘fit’ between the company and its employees.

For example, a company managing internal conflicts with a ‘collaborating style’ which includes finding a solution that will completely appease all involved parties will struggle to engage with employees driven by individual achievements and competition.

Finding value in work

One thing that employees often consider in feeling satisfied at work is whether their individual contributions are being respected and valued. Job dissatisfaction is very often linked to a company’s lack of appreciation for the contributions of individual employees. When surveyed, 48% of employees reported that their employers underestimate their skills, which are not exploited in their work, and therefore feel undervalued within their company.

Another major problem that companies face is the large number of positions that anthropologist David Graeber describes as " bullshit jobs ". More and more employees feel useless and as though they have been hired for superfluous reasons (hierarchical power, useless projects, etc.).

These are the top four reasons for employee job dissatisfaction and, consequently, are also a drag on business growth. Employee dissatisfaction and company performance are directly correlated. Companies therefore have no choice: they must transform themselves in order to attract the talents of tomorrow. As proof, the companies that are outperforming today are also those that have higher satisfaction levels among their teams.

The balance of power between employees and employers is reversing, unemployment rates are going down in developed economies, and companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit. Today’s employees hold the power to select their ideal employer, thus companies must prove that they can satisfy employees by offering an attractive working environment in line with the shifting needs of today’s workforce.

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