By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
A phalanx of employment satisfaction surveys find employees are far from happy at work. Reasons range from inadequate hourly pay, to the lack of career advancement, to an erosion of benefits, to the mistrust of management.
A total of 32 percent of baby boomers cited "lack of trust in leadership" as a key trigger to leaving a company, according to findings published by Deloitte earlier this year.
Another survey published in March by Accenture found that 47 percent of women and 44 percent of men feel they are underpaid.
A third, the "What's Working" survey published by Mercer, found that 32 percent of U.S. workers are seriously considering leaving their company.
MetLife's "Study of Employee Benefits Trends" published in May discovered that more than one-third of 1,400 full-time workers are so unhappy that they expect to change jobs within the next 12 months.
The results all point to a disengaged workforce that shows up for work in body but not in mind. Perhaps it's not surprising, what with huge layoffs in the wake of the Great Recession and companies of all sizes asking the remaining workers to do more with less.
"Employees see a 'disconnect' between what employers are promising and what they are delivering," said Mindy Fox, a senior partner and U.S. region leader at Mercer.
EPLI EXPOSURE TOO
The disputes are turning up in the form of class-action claims and wage-and-hour lawsuits.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) lawsuits increased to 9,038 in 2010 from 8,944 in 2009, according to the 2011 edition of the Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report published by Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm representing companies in workplace disputes.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) disputes jumped to 6,761 in 2010 from 6,120 in 2009, the report said.
To keep employees engaged, Fox said, companies need to re-examine the so-called "traditional and nontraditional elements" of hiring and support workers with "consistent, authentic communication that fosters a sense of belonging and helps employees make better rewards choices and career decisions."
True enough. But it's also worth giving the statistics a closer look. The Mercer survey, for example, found that 32 percent of U.S. workers "are seriously considering leaving his or her organization at the present time."
That's up nine percentage points from 2005, when the economy was humming along. Given the depths of the most recent recession and the sluggishness of the economy, that increase may not be so bad.
And then there are the young and the miserable. According to The Conference Board's last job satisfaction survey, 64 percent of workers under the age of 25 said they're "unhappy" at work--the highest level of job dissatisfaction for young workers since 1987, the year the study began.
June 28, 2011
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