Recent Studies Show U.S. Workforce is Dissatisfied

by: Nichole Gunn April 29, 2011

Things are looking up: The unemployment rate is decreasing as the economy begins to improve. But, there may not be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for employers.

Research from the American Psychological Association (APA) and Globoforce show that U.S. workers are not happy campers, in fact, they are quite unhappy, and the forecasts demonstrate that this condition will continue unless employers take action.

According to an APA survey conducted January 31st through February 8th, 20ll, results demonstrated that 36 percent of employee respondents stated they are stressed by work on a regular basis. Other statistics from the study showing workplace factors leading to increased employee stress levels are:

  • 49 percent of workers are significantly stressed by an inadequate salary
  • 43 percent of workers noted that workplace growth and advancement are lacking
  • 43 percent of workers are stressed by burdensome workloads
  • 40 percent of workers noted that management’s job expectations are unrealistic
  • 39 percent of workers feel their work hours are too long

Along with this, non-monetary employee rewards are found lacking, adding to employee dissatisfaction and stress. Additional APA statistics reveal:

  • 57 percent of the respondents were “satisfied with their employers' work-life practices"
  • 52 percent noted that management does not value their workplace efforts.
  • 66 percent noted their employers didn’t have any reward program in place
  • 32 percent of the respondents noted they will be seeking other job opportunities in 2011

Reinforcing the APA’s findings, Globoforce conducts the semi-annual Workforce Mood Tracker, and CEO Eric Mosley explained, “The findings of our first report are concerning, as U.S. workers’ motivational detachment and overall malaise are bringing to light a critical disconnect between rewards and performance.”

Working with the APA, Globoforce’s Workforce Mood Tracker discovered that almost half of the employees, 43 percent, are unhappy with their workplace employee recognition programs. The workers cited they weren’t recognized for their efforts.

In addition, the Mood Tracker findings show that a mere 33 percent of the respondents give their employers a satisfactory mark in regard to acknowledging the staffs’ efforts. Fifty-five percent believe the quality of rewards for job performance is lacking.

Mosley advised, “To solidify the link between performance and rewards, business leaders must take an active role in understanding the how, who, and when behind recognition in their organizations. He added, “By fostering a renewed recognition approach that aligns with a company’s goals and values, today’s business and HR leaders can positively impact employee engagement, company culture, and bottom-line profits.”

Studies demonstrate that there are a number of cost-effective and non-monetary strategies that employers can take advantage of to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction. For a simple start, often a pat-on-the-back or a thank you can go a long way in making employees feel appreciated.