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The Alternative Board Blog

7 Things Even Your Best Employees Hate

May. 24, 2023 | Posted by The Alternative Board

The employment market has been brutal for most companies and industry at large. While job seekers are certainly also experiencing employment volatility, it still appears that in many ways the workforce is still holding the best hand in the high-stakes game of acquisition and retention. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, every month between July and November of 2022, more than 4 million American workers quit their jobs. Do the math; that’s over 24 million resignations in just six months. While those numbers have improved somewhat in 2023, they are still hovering near historic highs. So now more than ever, it is essential that business owners leverage all they can to attract and retain the talent they need to run and grow their companies. And for many, that requires a little self-reflection. Just how in tune are you with the drivers and detractors of employee satisfaction?

Read “Everything You Need To Know About Quiet Quitting.”

Here are the top seven things even your best employees hate and how you can fix them.

1. Employees Hate Being Micromanaged.

Excessive direction and control over employees dramatically impact productivity, innovation and job satisfaction. Allowing your workers a level of autonomy reinforces respect and professionalism, while underscoring a culture of accountability. If you or your management staff tend to micromanage your employees, consider implementing a leadership program that underscores the importance of employee development over heavy-handed compliance.

2. Employees Hate Being Overworked.

Lack of work-life balance often leads to employee burnout, a top cause of job resignations. Millennials and Gen Zees in particular value leisure and personal time above just about anything else. They are less interested in climbing the corporate ladder than they are carving out happiness in the present moment. Foster a culture of work-life balance in your business by allowing work flexibility and remote options. Consider implementing wellness programs and stress management workshops.

3. Employees Hate Being Undercompensated.

You know what they say, you get what you pay for. Basing your HR model on low-ball wages to save on payroll is a recipe for disaster – and will likely cost your business more in the long run. Employee acquisition and onboarding is costly, even compared against the cost of retaining higher-salaried workers. When filling your positions, be sure to research industry and local salary ranges. Then pad it a little to attract and retain the people who will help move your company forward.

4. Employees Hate a Toxic Work Environment.

Toxicity in the workplace negatively impacts a huge swath of modern businesses. For individual companies, this can be due to many factors including a lack of accountability, a culture that overlooks bullying and harassment, or a culture of over-competitiveness, to name a few. Recognizing that yours is a toxic workplace is the first step to remedying it. Gather feedback from employees to gain clarity on specific toxic dynamics and behaviors. Then create a plan to address and mitigate these negative factors in your business.

5. Employees Hate Not Having Opportunities for Growth.

While the term “upwardly mobile” is not part of the public lexicon to the degree it once was, the fact remains that employees crave opportunities for growth. If your business offers limited advancement or development opportunities, eventually your employees will seek that promotion with your competitor. Consider collaborating with employees on a personalized growth plan as part of your onboarding process.

6. Employees Hate Not Being Recognized for Their Accomplishments.

Recognition and rewards don’t always need to be monetary, although performance-based bonuses are always nice. Don’t undervalue the power of your enthusiastic acknowledgement for a job well done. Make it sincere, be sure to shout it from the rooftops when appropriate (as in a newsletter or an all-hands meeting) and don’t forget to personally acknowledge the contribution one-on-one.

7. Employees Hate Lack of Meaning in Their Work.

Nobody wants to be a cog in a meaningless machine. Today’s employees crave connection with the businesses for whom they work, the communities in which they live, and the causes that they care about. Some organizations are more innately designed for more meaningful engagement based on the type of products or services they provide, while others simply don’t have that large, built-in purpose. If your business falls into the latter category, consider identifying causes and engagements that align with your culture and vision. Then foster opportunities for employees to contribute to those causes – both on the clock and off – at their own discretion.

By opening yourself up as a business owner to the mindset, preferences and needs of your employees, you position your organization as in touch, responsive and enriching. And nobody hates working for a company like that.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by The Alternative Board

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