Fulfillment at Work

Fulfillment at Work

A report by Randstad, a leading recruitment agency, has revealed that workers within Britain are amongst those who are least satisfied in Europe.  The report is entitled Fulfilment@Work and looks at satisfaction levels over the last 3 years, finding that in the UK, nearly 10 million workers are not happy with their employer.

Should this be surprising, given that in 2009 the UK was ranked ninth in terms of engagement levels within the GDP-ranked world’s twelfth largest economies?  It may not be surprising but it is concerning that this indicates a lack of progress and improvement.

Why should a business be concerned about lack of employee satisfaction?  There are some key factors that can answer this.

Employees who are dissatisfied with their work have a greater likelihood of becoming ill.  There are proven links between an individual’s job satisfaction and their well-being, particularly mental health with even a relatively small drop in satisfaction often leading to anxiety and depression.  For the organisation this means an increase in absenteeism and the financial impact that this brings.

Low job satisfaction has an effect on organisational retention which not only hits the organisation in terms of loss of skills and knowledge and the costs associated with recruitment and training, but high turnover creates a culture of dissatisfaction amongst those still in the organisation, who may then also consider quitting.

These are just 2 of the reasons for concern whilst others include the negative effect on innovation, customer service, problem solving and corporate citizenship all of which can impact on organisational performance and the bottom line.

What can businesses do to try and minimise employee dissatisfaction?

The Fulfilment@Work report suggests increasing job variety, and individual autonomy and interestingly employing higher numbers of women as well as younger and older people as these are shown to have higher rates of professional fulfillment.

There are other important considerations when faced with employee dissatisfaction.

  • Address the situation

If it gets ignored it won’t just go away; instead be open about it and talk to staff about it – a great first step in resolving things.  Make it OK for people to talk about what the problem is and only by knowing can you do something about it – or at least try.

  • Give employees the opportunity to make suggestions

Involve them in coming up with ideas for making things better.  This in itself gives autonomy and responsibility and makes them part of the solution. Identify ways in which employees can see they are adding value which might be about reframing a task.

  • Make sure employees know how they are contributing

Link what they do with the contribution it is making to organisational objectives such as improving quality and its link with customer satisfaction.  Wherever possible, give them sight of the end of the product or service chain – meet the customer, see the product or service in use – to bring meaning to what they do.

What actions have your organisation taken to address job satisfaction levels?


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