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The COVID-19 pandemic caused a level of upheaval that the job market hadn’t seen in decades. According to Pew Research, the nation’s “quit rate” reached a 20-year high in November of 2021.
The mass exodus left employers scrambling to fill positions. Many are still dealing with the fallout almost a year later.
Every workplace has unique factors that can contribute to poor employee retention. But per that Pew Research report, most causes boil down to not keeping employees happy.
A content workforce is essential to maintaining a productive workplace. So to better explore the issue, let’s take a look at the risks associated with an unhappy workforce, and what you can do to reduce employee dissatisfaction.
Impacts of Employee Unhappiness
The biggest impact of workplace stress is a drop in worker efficiency. The effects of long-term stress on a person’s ability to complete complex tasks are well-documented. And over time, chronic stress tends to translate into low employee retention.
Workplace stress can go beyond making employees less efficient or more likely to seek other work. In some localities, employers could be found legally liable for a worker’s reduced quality of life.
The United Kingdom is one example. Under the Equality Act 2010, UK employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees suffering from disabilities. Many other nations have comparable protections in place.
But per established case law, workplace stress that’s excessive to the point of impacting a worker’s mental health can meet those legal requirements. Hence the employer has some responsibility for preventing employee stress.
Keeping Employees Happy
Fortunately, that Pew Research survey allowed workers to explain what factors were driving their dissatisfaction with their work. And contrary to what you may guess, it wasn’t always poor pay or benefits.
While compensation is always an elephant in the room, only about a third of respondents cited it as a primary issue. The full slate of reasons is more diverse and deals more with quality-of-life issues.
Based on those responses, here are some changes most businesses could stand to make.
Promoting Work-Life Balance
Two issues that employees cited were working too many hours, and having insufficient flexibility to choose those hours.
These complaints speak to a greater desire for free time away from work. Employees don’t want to feel like they live only to work. They want time to spend with friends and family or to pursue personal interests.
Allowing workers more time off and flexibility to use that time is one of the simplest ways to cultivate a happier workforce.
Allow for Career Mobility
Employees that prioritize their careers may be frustrated by a lack of opportunity for advancement. Whether real or perceived, this impression can cause some of your most driven employees to seek greener pastures.
Having a goal to work toward will help keep invaluable employees motivated and engaged.
Cultivate a Positive Environment
Few things will sap your employee’s enthusiasm faster than a toxic workplace. Keeping employees contented means promoting a positive culture.
Recognition for a job well done goes a long way. And delivering criticism in a positive light is crucial to making it constructive.
Reducing Employee Stress for a Productive Workplace
Keeping employees happy helps boost worker efficiency from several standpoints. Happy workers are effective workers. And keeping employee turnover to a minimum helps reduce the time and resources needed to train a neverending flow of replacements.
And these are only a few key points to maintaining a happy, efficient team. For more tips and ideas, be sure to follow our latest business news.