How many people do you know that enjoy their job? From recent conversations, interviews and articles, it seems that this scenario of employees embracing and enjoying their work is less frequent these days, especially, in corporate America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.618 million Americans quit their jobs in November. This has been steadily increasing from a low in late 2009 at 1.7 million.
According to a recent The Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, and for the eighth straight year, less than half (47.7 percent) of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, well below the historical level of 61.1 percent in 1987.
Disengagement a concern
For many business owners and leaders, it is disappointing knowing that at some level, you are getting less production from these disengaged employees. This is especially concerning based on how much time companies spend on hiring, onboarding and training employees. When I think back to why I enjoyed the teams and companies when I worked in Silicon Valley, it was because of specific actions the leader exuded. The talented leader:
- Prioritizes with confidence — It is so easy to say “Yes, we can” to every customer but much more difficult to be selective in where your team spends its time. Talented leaders that can create boundaries and prioritize assignments often avoid overworked and dissatisfied employees.
- Recognizes the human element — Talented leaders realize we are making personal sacrifices to meet demanding deadlines. These gifted leaders inquire about their team and the various aspects of the current objectives with genuine interest and ability to add value and remove obstacles. Even under extreme pressure, they are able to create collaboration and momentum across the team to meet the expected deliverables.
- Invests in the team and individuals within the team — Talented leaders encourage professional growth and create alignment that fosters future opportunities and assignments.
- Expresses the significance of the work — A talented leader can elegantly correlate efforts and related work and time directly to the overall value created within the business and often extend it into the community.
I have followed many of these talented leaders to multiple companies and, if they called today, I would likely consider working with them again. Unfortunately, I also have a list of dreadful leaders that made their ego or meeting a quota/deadline and their related accolades the priority with little genuine interest in the individuals on their team.
Dissatisfied employees are an expense problem for any size business. If you think you too may be struggling with dissatisfied employees or ineffective leaders, waiting for them to quit will not solve your problem. People quit managers first and the company second.
Get proactive to be sure you do not lose great employees due to dreadful leaders.
JJ DiGeronimo is president of Purposeful Woman, AWNSTEM and Tech Savvy Women. She also is the author of “The Working Woman’s GPS,” and a Women in STEM Advocate. For more leadership strategies, visit www.purposefulwoman.com