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Cath Everett

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Workplace morale at all time low


Workplace morale has hit an all-time low, with record falls in job satisfaction and two out of five personnel saying they would leave their current employer if they could find a better job.

According to a survey among 2,000 staff undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), job satisfaction has dropped to its lowest ever level of +35 compared with +36 last quarter and a high of +46 in the summer of 2009.
The findings were backed up by a study of 4,000 people undertaken by career counselling organisation, which revealed that three out of five workers were unhappy in their current post, with 63% saying that they would like to get out as soon as possible.
Unhappy or unhelpful colleagues, having to work long hours and poor pay were the main causes of dissatisfaction, but 35% also said that they felt their hard work was ‘completely unappreciated’.
A further three out of 10 also said that they felt ‘completely unchallenged’ by their jobs, while one in 10 said that they could not stand their colleagues. Unsurprisingly, a fifth indicated that they felt no loyalty to their organisation as a result.
The CIPD’s report entitled ‘The Employee Outlook’ indicated, meanwhile, that two out of five staff had seen their pay frozen, with 7% indicating that it had been cut. Just over three out of 10 respondents said that their organisation had already made redundancies, while 16% acknowledged that such action was planned.
Nearly a fifth thought it likely that they would lose their job, while two thirds believed it would be difficult to find a new post if they experienced redundancy.
But the situation was even worse in the public sector. Job satisfaction here fell by 3% during the last quarter to +31 compared to +33 in the private sector and +53 in the third sector. Just over a quarter of those questioned expected to lose their jobs compared with 17% in the private sector, with two out of five expecting their employer to make redundancies compared with 10% in the private sector.
Just over half indicated that their pay had been frozen compared to 38% in the private sector, although 7% in both sectors had suffered cuts.
To make matters worse, only 16% of public servants said that they now trusted their senior leaders compared to 39% in the private sector, while just under one in five felt that they had not been properly consulted on important decisions. The figure contrasted with just under a quarter in the private sector.
Ben Wilmott, senior public policy advisor at the CIPD, said: “One of the difficulties facing senior public sector managers in the current environment, in which major spending cuts have been announced but few details have been released, is that they too many also be in the dark and may not yet know how many jobs will have to go.”
Nonetheless, he advised that, even if this were the case, it was important to communicate openly about the situation with staff and keep them informed as more information became available.
“People are more likely to accept tough decisions if they are kept informed and given the right information at the right time,” Wilmott said.
But he added that the government also had a “key” role to play in rebuilding trust in public sector leadership by allowing adequate consultation with staff over proposed changes to public service delivery so that they felt their views were taken into account before any decisions were made.


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