Recognise This! – Dissatisfied workers, regardless of intent to stay, are not engaged with your organisation, your culture or your priorities.

Are employees jumping ship or staying put? The research and reports swing both ways. Just a couple weeks ago, I wrote about the war for talent still being on. I stand by that point of view, as highly skilled employees in tough-to-fill positions will always be sought after.

Yet last week, John Hollon, editor of TLNT, pointed to a recent Accenture survey that reported:

I highly recommend John’s excellent summary of the research on TLNT. My initial reaction to the research was to question just how much good work are you getting out of your dissatisfied workers?

I can see some employers reading this research, giving a huge sigh of relief, and thinking, “Great. I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Back to work!” (whip cracking in background)

And that would be a tragedy, indeed. Unhappy and dissatisfied employees are simply not giving of their best in the workplace. More time is spent fantasising about leaving, hoping annoying co-workers leave, or other distractions.

The research itself points to the truth in this with 64% citing flexible work arrangements as a reason for staying. In most cases, I’m a strong advocate for flexible work arrangements. However, think for a moment about the employees in your office who you know are disengaged and dissatisfied with their work. How confident would you be in their deliverables and productivity in a flexible work arrangement?

Employer reaction to this study should be: “I’m glad they’re staying. I should use this opportunity to uncover the major causes of dissatisfaction, disengagement and unhappiness, and then do what I can to ameliorate that.”

Options can include strengths-based assessments to move people into different roles that may excite and energise them more, look for ways to create a career path (including training and development opportunities), identify ways to enable better work/life balance and – of course – increase positive reinforcement of employee behaviours and achievements through strategic employee recognition.

All of the options above (and many more not listed) convey to employees how much the organisation values them and their efforts.  I’m more engaged when I know what I do matters. I’m sure that’s true for many others as well.

Are you dissatisfied but staying in your current position? Why?

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