Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Employee Dissatisfaction

The U.S. has been battling an economic downturn for well over two years.  During this time corporations have laid off workers and have forced remaining employees to do more with less.  Those left in the work force have been meeting production, but at what cost?

A current study by MetLife Insurance indicated that even though 43% of larger employers and 38% of smaller employers have met productivity gains in 2010 (Business Wire, 2011), employees are not satisfied.  This should not be received as unexpected since workers have been doing more with less, seeing their co-workers get laid off, and (in some cases) working for less.  It should be no surprise that a large portion of the work force is not satisfied.  Results from this current study indicated that "more than one-third (36%) of employees hope to work for a different employer in the next 12 months" (Business Wire, 2011, para. 2).

As economies turn downward it is a normal trend for corporations, large and small, to focus more heavily on short-term gains as an effort to survive the current business cycle downturn.  Once the economic indicators show signs of recovery corporations need to shift their concentration from short-term gains to long-term gains AND employee satisfaction.  During survival mode employee satisfaction is often put on the back-burner.  Corporations should incorporate, as part of the recovery plan, employee-satisfaction efforts.  Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, U.S. Business, Metlife, replicated these thoughts by stating that: "worker loyalty has been slowly ebbing over the last several years, and it is important that employers take action to turn the tide around" (Business Wire, 2011, para. 3).

As the economy slowly recovers there will be two forces competing against one another; unemployed workers looking for a new job, and employed unsatisfied workers looking to change jobs.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out, who will have the advantage?  The former will have to highlight their accomplishments on their resume, along with having strong references who are known in the industry that they are looking for employment, in order to get the advantage.  The later will have to rely on contacts they have formed in the corporations they are looking to transfer over to in order to get the advantage.  Ultimately, though, currently employed high performers will have the ultimate upper hand as Nugent identified: "there is no doubt that the rebounding economy will bring more opportunities for employees, especially the high performers" (Business Wire, 2011, para. 3).

Corporations have the upper-hand once the economy begins to recover.  Corporations will have plenty of applications to choose from when they are ready to rebuild.  The first companies will have the greatest advantage since the number of unemployed will be at its highest.  Late comers will have to begin to add incentives to gain employees as the unemployment numbers begin to decrease - of course we still have a while before this occurs.

The Met-Life study offers some recommendations for improving the diminished employee dis-satisfaction ratings.  These range from:
  • Balancing Benefits Objectives
  • Communications with the Generations
  • Holistic Health
  • Retirement Consultation
More detailed information on these recommendations can be found in the actual report available at www.metlife.com/benefitstrends

References:

Employee Loyalty Not Recession-Proof, According to MetLife Study. (2011, March 28).  Business Wire, Inc..  Retrieved from http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=253550.

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