The Great Resignation: Job Dissatisfaction and How to Combat It

It’s hard to miss the headlines.

Number of People Quitting Their Jobs Hits Record 4.4 Million (U.S. News)

The Great Resignation is Accelerating (The Atlantic)

And even a different take on the situation:

The CEOs of Microsoft and LinkedIn Agree: We’re in the Middle of the ‘Great Reshuffle’, Not the ‘Great Resignation (Inc.)

The simple fact is that employees are leaving their jobs because they want something else. Job dissatisfaction can develop for any number of reasons. Often, employers chalk it up to an employee getting better pay elsewhere, but it’s not always that simple. For many, this dissatisfaction is about more than pay.

In a recent Inc. article, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky says people “are rethinking not just how they work, but why they work, and what they most want to do with their careers and lives”. But when an employee is dissatisfied, how do employers know where the dissatisfaction is coming from?

The first step to combatting possible employee attrition due to job dissatisfaction is to recognize what dissatisfaction or disengagement may look like.

How to tell if employees are experiencing job dissatisfaction:

  • Employees disengage, and performance declines

When an employee is unsatisfied with their job, they quickly lose connection or dedication to their employer. For example, instead of showing up to a meeting prepared, they may just show up and wing it. Or, perhaps you notice it takes them longer to complete ongoing tasks; a standard task that normally only takes them an hour may take three.

  • Employees are constantly stressed or distracted

We all have days that feel overwhelming, but when an employee is dissatisfied, they may seem perpetually stressed. This might be a response to the ongoing workload or simply because they know their performance has declined and are worried about negative repercussions. Further, constant stress may even lead to further distraction, procrastination, and subsequently more diminished performance.

  • Employees stop showing up

Employees that are dissatisfied with their job likely find it fundamentally difficult to even show up to work. Initially, this may look like habitual tardiness, but it’s likely to ultimately result in absenteeism. Whether an employee becomes uncharacteristically tardy or absent, it may be difficult to identify as disengagement because they may simply have other reasons for the behavior. However, if these behaviors are seen combined with other behaviors discussed above, it’s very likely the employee is experiencing job dissatisfaction.

It’s likely that an employee won’t immediately start seeking new employment when they begin to feel dissatisfaction with their job. After all, many people find a fundamental comfort in a situation they know and know how to manage — changing jobs can shake up their whole world. But, if the dissatisfaction continues and the employer doesn’t step in to address the situation, it’s likely that the employee will ultimately find a new opportunity.

How to improve job satisfaction:

  • Utilize frequent, clear, and authentic communication

This does not have to be a direct conversation with an employee who is showing signs of dissatisfaction. (But it can be!) Often, employees become dissatisfied or disengaged because they don’t feel connected to the larger organizational goals or understand their performance’s impact on the team’s success. Implementing monthly or weekly updates can give the team a chance to come together and touch base. Communication isn’t just about communicating information from the top-down but also allows an opportunity for employees to communicate up. When an employee tries to convey a concern, remember to show that you are actively listening to what is said. Leave the conversation with an action item, whether gathering more information or doing something and be sure to follow up with the employee to let them know the result.

  • Be flexible when possible

It’s true that some jobs, such as those in the service industry, inherently offer less flexibility than others, but the pandemic highlighted just how flexible teams can be when necessary. When possible, creating a culture of workplace flexibility is one of the easiest ways employers can communicate they view employees as people rather than simply workers. There are many ways employers can offer increased flexibility, such as (but definitely not limited to):

Flextime and allowing employees to adjust their schedules for external commitments that don’t require the employee to use PTO

Alternative or condensed scheduling to allow employees the option to work best on their schedule and to support other obligations

Allowing and encouraging remote or hybrid scheduling so an employee can develop an in-office schedule that works for them and the organization.

  • Regularly recognize success and hard work

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day busyness, but recognizing an employee’s work is one of the easiest ways to keep an employee engaged. Often when employers think of employee recognition, they think of some large event or complicated recognition system. Sometimes keeping employees engaged can be as simple as saying “good job” and “thanks” on a regular basis. Sometimes employees do such an outstanding job that you may want to do something more — that’s where an employee recognition program can be beneficial. Considering the record number of employees leaving jobs for better alternatives, it may be time to evaluate your rewards and recognition strategy. When researching partner options, make sure the platform can both meet your company’s current needs and grow as the business grows. Many reward platforms can be costly or complicated to implement and actually create an added challenge for managers or HR departments. Alternatively, some programs may not even offer rewards tailored to the employees that will resonate with them or communicate that you appreciate just how much they do.

Looking ahead, it’s hard to predict what the world of work will look like, but one thing is for sure — engaged employees will be essential to your organization’s continued success. At Prizeout, we offer employers a free and easy way to give employees rewards that they actually want.

Find out more about how Prizeout Perks can fit your organization.

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