Employee Dissatisfaction:

The High Cost of Turnover

We all know people who are dissatisfied with management or their job. According to the State of the American Workplace Report by Gallup (February 2017), 67% of employees are either actively or passively disengaged. This employee dissatisfaction and disengagement is costing organizations billions of dollars annually.

When asked about the impact of employee dissatisfaction, leaders share the following:

  • Lost customers
  • Decreased productivity
  • Decreased safety
  • Decreased quality
  • Increased turnover

Experts agree that the costs of employee dissatisfaction are real based on evidence-based research. These challenges result in real and potential financial losses. Have you figured out how much employee dissatisfaction is costing your organization?

One place to start looking is by measuring turnover and its costs. “According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, employers will need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary in order to find and train their replacement.” That’s just one cost. Imagine if you added up all the other impacts of employee dissatisfaction as well.

These employee dissatisfaction statistics show the importance of decreasing disengagement today. Fortunately, there are strategies that are within each employee and leader’s control that can stem the tide of employee dissatisfaction.

What are the causes of employee dissatisfaction in the workplace?

Generally, the cause of workplace dissatisfaction is the disconnect between the employee’s desired actions and outcomes and the reality of the work. This disconnect can be driven by external circumstances or internal feelings. In SHIFT to Professional Paradise, I share a paradigm that says that your beliefs and mindsets drive actions and outcomes. This process works regardless of whether the desired outcomes are positive (employee satisfaction) or negative (employee dissatisfaction).

Here is an employee dissatisfaction example: A director told me an employee that reported to her wasn’t happy in his job and seemed to have a high level of dissatisfaction with management. Part of what made this story particularly interesting was that the unhappy employee was a manager in the department. When asked “Are you trying to get me to fire you?” the manager shrugged and responded, “Of course not.” Yet, when the day came to do just that, he said “I can’t argue with your decision.” Unfortunately, the department director never put her finger on the cause of his dissatisfaction, because she never directly asked. She kept focusing on actions and outcomes and missed asking questions about beliefs and mindsets.

There are as many causes of employee dissatisfaction as there are dissatisfied employees. Generational trends show that Millennial employees are dissatisfied when they don’t get enough feedback or opportunities to grow and develop. Generation X team members want autonomy so a micro-managing boss leads to employee disengagement. For Baby Boomers, being left out of decision making or working with a weak team causes dissatisfaction.

Here’s a helpful article that offers additional insight into this topic: “9 Reasons Your Employees Are Unhappy.” This article tackles the subject of the secret of happiness in the workplace. The answer is not surprising: Employees want to be listened to and feel that their concerns are taken seriously.

Challenged with employee dissatisfaction?

The Engagement Excelerator™ Virtual Coaching Program is the solution.

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Leaders in healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes are interested in fresh, proactive ideas to address employee dissatisfaction. If you are like them, you are interested in strategies that are realistic, manageable and proven.

In my workshops, keynote programs and virtual coaching, I share shortcuts to employee engagement that make sense. A shortcut is a quicker, more efficient way to get somewhere or to get something done. Don’t worry; the shortcuts I share aren’t shortcuts that diminish quality or service. In fact, just the opposite is true. These employee engagement strategies lead to improved outcomes (as well as a positive increase in metrics across the board) because they treat the cause of employee disengagement not just the symptoms. They aren’t Band-Aids. They provide the long-term cure for employee dissatisfaction. And isn’t that what you’re really looking for – positive, sustainable, long-term change?

It’s time to turn around employee dissatisfaction in your workplace

Employee dissatisfaction impacts many aspects of the work environment. From negatively influencing other team members to pushing patients and families away, the impact is felt day in and day out. Employee dissatisfaction often leads to negative reviews of services provided, poor quality work and higher turnover. There is good news. The effects of employee dissatisfaction can be measured and monitored, so leaders can move from a subjective “feeling” about someone to more objective, data-driven reviews that nip employee dissatisfaction in the bud.

Engagement Insights & Ideas


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