What an interesting report this week from The Conference Board! The report says that Americans of all ages are increasingly discontent at work. Only 45 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61 percent in 1987, the first year in which the survey was conducted. The report said that the youngest employees (those currently under age 25) express the highest levels of dissatisfaction ever recorded by the survey.
A high level of job dissatisfaction obviously bodes poorly for organizational performance. It inhibits innovation, which stymies long-term growth. It affects the attracting and retaining of top talent (talented people will always go where job satisfaction is higher, even if it means going abroad) and on inter-generational knowledge transfer (people who are unhappy are less likely to provide useful coaching and mentoring to younger workers). Over the long term, high levels of job dissatisfaction will stunt the growth of our economy.
My new book, “The Leadership Equation,” lays out a model for increasing job satisfaction by building trust and sparking innovation. The book describes 10 practices that help create high performing organizations. One key is increased levels of communication and engagement by senior leaders and managers. While it’s too much to expect that every organization will embrace these 10 best practices, if even 10% of the organizations in the U.S. adopted these techniques, we’d see a reversal of the trends in this report.