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Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace
WHAT DO EMPLOYEES LIKE LEAST ABOUT THEIR JOBS?

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

Employees have 4 major complaints about their jobs.

Part 1 - MANAGEMENT DOESN'T LISTEN

Fewer than 1 in 3 employees believe that their organization's management acts on their suggestions. They also feel that management does not involve them in day-to-day decisions that affect them.

Recommendations:

  • Manage by walking around.

    The visibility of senior management can greatly improve employee-management communication. It is important that senior management spend time with employees at all levels of the organization.

  • Ask for suggestions.

    Employee suggestions are often not used because management never hears them. Employee surveys and frequent informal conversations between senior management and workers can get employee suggestions into the minds of the people who can do something about them.

  • Complete the feedback loop.

    When management DOES use employee suggestions, they should make sure the employees know that their suggestions were used.

Part 2 - THE PAY IS TOO LOW

The dollars look greener in other organizations. Over 60 percent of employees feel they are underpaid. Also, most feel that their pay is unrelated to how well they perform their job.

Recommendations:

  • Establish a "pay philosophy" and clearly communicate it to both employees and prospective employees.

    The philosophy should state whether your organization pays at, above, or below the prevailing wage level. If you pay below, you should identify the other types of rewards or benefits you DO provide such as scheduling flexibility, stock options, better work life balance, superior training, or the opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause.

  • Develop improved methods for linking pay to performance.

    This is especially important for organizations that cannot pay at a high level. If employees feel their specific contributions are recognized, they will focus less on their actual pay level.

Part 3 - COMMUNICATION IS POOR.

Fewer than 1 in 3 employees feel that communication is good between different departments. Also, most feel that information does not flow well through the organizational hierarchy.

Recommendations:

  • Enforce top-down communication.

    Middle level managers often leave management meetings with direct or implied instructions to communicate the results of the meeting to their direct reports. However, this rarely happens. Make sure that it does.

  • Focus on improvement.

    Interdepartmental communication can be improved through a simple problem-solving exercise. Have all employees develop a list (along with action plans) for what THEY can do to improve communication with other departments.

  • Senior management must take more responsibility.

    Poor communication is often the fault of senior management. For example, departments are given competing goals, the appropriate communications equipment is not provided, the work procedures between departments are unclear or illogical, and department heads don't get along.

Part 4 - GOOD PERFORMANCE IS NOT RECOGNIZED

Over 60 percent of employees are dissatisfied with the advancement opportunities in their organizations. Indeed, most feel that the wrong people are generally promoted. Also, the majority believes that poor performers are tolerated.

Recommendations:

  • Set realistic expectations.

    Employers mistakenly lead employees to believe that everyone will eventually be promoted. This practice should be avoided, since it is simply not true.

  • Move employees around.

    Employees often become bored with their jobs. Move employees around so that they can experience more variety on their jobs.

  • Avoid using pseudo-promotions.

    Avoid promotions in which the employee's title changes but their responsibilities don't.

  • Eliminate dead wood.

    Failing to discipline or remove ineffective performers sends the wrong message to all employees. It makes it clear that neither effective nor ineffective performance is recognized.

I am very much interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and suggestions to .

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