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Last updated: 01.06.17

Disengaged workforce? Why 48% of employees are not happy at work

According to the latest survey from Personal Group, nearly half of all employees are not happy at work and disengaged with their current roles. Here we take a look at why this may be.

Ensuring the staff you work with remain positive and engaged is no easy task. Day-to-day goings on can often become monotonous and often factors from outside of the workplace have an effect on how employees perform. But for a business to be successful it must have a workforce of passionate, engaged and positive employees behind it and often, this requires strong leaders and dedicated HR professionals.

While a person may appear happy on the outside, this doesn’t always mean they aren’t struggling, which is why it is crucial for managers and HR teams to sit down and talk to their staff. Today, the UK is in the midst of a mental health crisis, with many people not receiving the support they need in the workplace, simply because other members of staff don’t know how to spot signs of, or deal with, mental ill-health.

Employee wellbeing and job satisfaction is core to boosting productivity. However, according to the latest survey by Personal Group, 48 per cent are not happy at work and don’t want to get up for it in the morning. In addition to this, the report that surveyed 800 workers, revealed that younger employees are less keen to get up and are unhappier compared to more senior-level workers and those who are self-employed.

The importance of workplace recognition

The study also found that front-line workers are less passionate about their work day and 30 per cent claim that they never feel enthusiastic at all during work. It also revealed that the millennial group, aged 18-29, showed more consistent negativity compared with counterparts over 30 years of age. This means that, according to the statistics, older employees generally feel more positive at work, across all fronts.

Could increased employee reward and recognition be the answer to this? Some 35 per cent of those surveyed said that they would be happier if they had more recognition in the workplace. Happiness could also be achieved with the reduction of long working hours, respondents claimed.

With the emergence of millennials and Generation Z in the workplace, a common trait among younger workers is that they crave recognition from both their peers and senior management. This is unlike older generations who seek rewards financially. By having regular one-to-one meetings with your staff, you can highlight the areas in which they are performing well, and suggest goals to work towards.

How can increased engagement help?

Mark Scanlon, chief executive of Personal Group commented: “It’s no surprise that there are variations in engagement and happiness between those in different roles: directors and senior managers tend to be much more positive than more junior team members.

“Efforts to increase engagement should therefore focus on the latter groups. Many of these people tend to be frontline workers; these workers are the engine room of the UK economy. Our experience has found when we’ve gone out and spoken to these workers they tend to feel disenfranchised, demotivated and neglected.”

In order to engage younger workers, we need to ensure our leaders are passionate, engaged and motivate, for they are the ones that will encourage others. Managers and other leaders can improve engagement by showing a genuine interest in their employees. They can do this by investing time in understanding their needs and aspirations, which will help send employees a message that their contribution is valued, creating goodwill and desire to succeed.

Managers, and HR professionals should also find out what motivates their employees by distributing surveys and other feedback methods. Doing this helps with finding out how staff measure success and then create a rewarding environment where they can thrive.

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