Why Half of America Hates Their Jobs

GUEST AUTHOR BLOG by Susan Steinbrecher author of "Kensho: A Modern Awakening Instigating Change in an Era of Global Renewal."

Kensho by Susan Steinbrecher
Source: Amazon.com
Kensho by Susan Steinbrecher

Americans are quitting their jobs on their own volition because they are seeking more personal fulfillment in their workplace lives.

Several recent studies confirm that employee turnover rates are on the rise.

A Kelly Services surveyreports that less than half (44 percent) of the global workforce feels valued by their employer and two-thirds (66 percent) intend to look for a new job with another organization in the next year.

The survey also concludes that those who are content with their current position are seeking greater engagement and meaning from their positions and cite the ability to ‘excel or develop’ (74 percent of respondents) as the key to providing a sense of meaning in their work.

In the last several years, employee dissatisfaction has become a hot-button issue.

Jobs are still scarce, (a recent release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 12.7 million people remain unemployed in the U.S. while only 3.5 million job openings exist.) Yet the trend persists as employees jump ship, seeing it as their only alternative to feeling burnt out, emotionally fractured and disengaged.

Why is this happening?

In my latest book, "KENSHO: A Modern Awakening,"I examine the fact that today, many of us are prompted to question the framework within which we have built our lives. What’s important to us now? As we struggle to create more balance in our over-amped schedules, we are also yearning for more meaningful connections in every aspect of life.

In business, more and more people have become disenchanted with corporate life as it is. Many feel trapped and unappreciated and they long to do something that has significance and value, something by which they can make a difference in the world.

In this era of transition, company leadership must cultivate workplace happiness and provide a sense of meaning and engagement for employees that nourishes the human spirit.

I encourage managers to connect with the emotional needs of employees and find ways to promote productivity while fostering creativity, meaning and fulfillment. Equally important is the self-awareness of company leadership. Over 70% of leaders fail or derail in their careers because they lack interpersonal skills. Being a good leader means pushing and expanding your own personal limits, and having the integrity and motivation to take the time to focus internally.

Strategies to retain and engage employees:

  • Understand basic human needs. Leadership research shows that “leading from the heart” may contribute to greater productivity. People want to be valued, cared about, listened to, appreciated, respected, involved and connected – these are universal needs that show up in the workplace – and in every facet of life.
  • Show Appreciation. “Face to face” words of appreciation for a job well done and encouragement carry a lot of clout and strengthen workplace relationships. People need to feel their work matters.
  • Understand the different generational needs. Each generation has a distinguishable set of values. Understanding the needs of each generational cohort and how to balance their strengths will create a connected, thriving work environment – with a unique blend of knowledge and skills.
  • Set reasonable deadlines with room for work-life flexibility. Challenging employees and providing opportunities are crucial elements to retain talent. However, over-working them beyond reason is cause for many to fly the coop. Flexible work-life options may also be a major concern. If telecommuting is an alternative for certain employees it may be wise to investigate this option further. As digital technologies continue to evolve and transform global cultures and economies, telecommuting can often offer employees a better balance of their time, energy and focus.
  • Communicate often. An effective leader can determine what employees value by asking better questions. Host open sessions/rounds tables and ask for feedback and concerns in small groups.
  • Encourage Creativity. Build a supportive environment that promotes creativity. Keep it positive and let your employees know that you are receptive to new ideas.

If you strive to take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your business, which in turn, will take care of your bottom line.

Susan Steinbrecher, business consultant, leadership expert and speaker, is CEO of Steinbrecher And Associates, Inc., a management-consulting firm. She is the author of the Amazon best-seller, KENSHO: A Modern Awakening, Instigating Change in an Era of Global Renewal, as well as the co-author of several leadership and business books including Heart Centered Leadership: An Invitation to Lead From the Inside Out and Roadmap to Success. Visit www.steinbrecher.com for more information.

Email me at bullishonbooks@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks