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Growing Discontent: Employees Wouldn’t Wish Their Jobs on Their Worst Enemy

The start of a new year, and most people are already busy setting personal and professional goals. What’s on the top of the list for a growing number of working people is making an exit from the job they currently have. Why?

Well… because they hate it. 

In an eye-opening report published by UKG, a human resources and payroll firm, almost half (46%) of the global workers polled indicated they would not recommend their profession or their employer to others. Further, 4 out of 10 said, “I wouldn’t wish my job on my worst enemy.” This should be very concerning to employers who are trying their best to attract and retain great talent. 

At this point during the “Great Resignation,” employees are showing a growing discontent with their working arrangements. So, the question becomes:

How can employers restore a sense of loyalty and provide meaningful work to employees who detest their jobs?

What’s causing all this discontent? 

We’ve been reporting on the effects of the pandemic on workplaces for a while, but Covid is only one part of the problem. Research has shown that many employees are simply burnt out. 

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report revealed 60% of people are disengaged at work and 19% report feeling miserable. This is even as workplaces adjust to more flexible working conditions, generous time off, and higher salaries. No matter how many hours or where people are assigned to work, they report being stressed (50%), worried (41%), sad (22%), and angry (18%). 

These are all symptoms of burnout, and it’s a huge reason why there are a growing number of Millenials and Gen Z workers finding it challenging to find the right fit for their career needs. Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as “a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Some of the contributing factors Mayo mentions are: 

Feeling a lack of control

When employees are left out of decision-making opportunities, they begin to feel resentment. Also, working long hours, difficult schedules, and increasing workloads should be discussed and not imposed on workers. 

Poor work-life balance

Poor work-life balance eventually results in frustration. As a result, they’ll begin to hate their jobs. So, keep things flexible and understand that employees have lives outside their nine-to-five.  

Unclear job expectations

Confusion about expectations leads to poor performance and grievances. It’s important to communicate clearly how workers can be successful and give them an opportunity for a clear career path.  


Zero social support

We all crave community, especially at work. An environment that does not promote community promotes isolation. Your workplace should foster mentorship and group problem-solving. That way, your employees feel comfortable confiding in each other.

Toxic culture

Toxic workplaces are one of the biggest reasons employees experience burnout. Additionally, poor company culture results in high turnover rates. So, if your culture has little to be desired, you should expect employees to find their way to the exit door. 

Mundane tasks

Tight deadlines coupled with mundane, repetitive tasks are the foundation for burnout. People start to think they are nothing more than “robots.” As a result, they feel physical and mental distress. So help employees find creative tasks they enjoy.

What do employees want? 

Reading the above should give you some ideas of what to correct in your organization. It’s also critical to discover what employees want and find ways to include them at work. 

The UKG survey revealed some things about what workers prefer. More than three-quarters (76%) of the employees surveyed said they have increased expectations of how their company supports them daily. Nearly as many (74%) said they would advise their children to choose a profession that adds meaning to their lives. 

How well is your organization addressing these aspects? Are you communicating how the organization supports their success? Are you providing a work experience that is both purposeful and meaningful? 

How to help employees love their jobs again

It’s not too late to turn things around for employees who are hateful towards their job or the company. Here are some steps to take that will help them to fall in love with their job again. 

Foster employee friendships at work.

When employees develop close friendships at work, their job satisfaction increases by as much as 50%. According to Dr. Jan West, Ph.D. Organizational Psychologist who contributes to the National Business Research Institute, “Employee engagement is positively altered when friendships are factored in.” According to West, more than half (56%) of employees with a best friend at work are more engaged. In sharp contrast, employees who do not identify as having a friend at work are engaged by less than 10%. So, it makes sense to hire people who are a good fit for the team and the work they will be performing. Then, you can encourage them to connect with their peers to find those they can befriend and learn from. 

Provide purposeful and meaningful work to employees.

Since the pandemic, there has been a large shift in the workforce, with Millenials and Gen Z’ers leaving jobs for what they believe are better terms. Lever’s 2022 Great Resignation: The State of Internal Mobility and Employee Retention Report indicated Gen Z workers, in particular, desire a workplace that provides meaning – both professionally and personally. The report found 42% would rather work for an organization that gives them a sense of purpose and speaks up for social causes that are important to them than one that pays more. 

Find ways to improve work-life balance. 

The pandemic years were a time of shifting priorities, requiring employers to make certain adjustments. No longer was it safe to work in traditional settings. Remote work became employees’ preferred way to manage work and personal life. Organizations that recognize the value of work-life balance seem to be doing better in terms of maintaining a happy and productive workforce. Those demanding employees to return to the office are not faring so well. Making work-life balance a priority doesn’t necessarily mean you MUST implement remote work. It just means that you need to provide an incentive that lessens the work-related and personal stress that employees feel on a daily basis (mental health resources, hybrid work schedule, more paid time off, etc.)

We still have work to do to convince employees to love their work and their employers again. But it is possible by discovering what employees want and need to reconnect.

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