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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Job Dissatisfaction

What Is Job Dissatisfaction? 

Job dissatisfaction is when an employee does not feel content in their job. This can be due to various professional and personal reasons such as lack of advancement, poor management, limited work-life balance, and more. 

What Causes Job Dissatisfaction?

Work takes up a significant percentage of one’s life, and people have expectations of what their job should be like. When these expectations are not met, it brings feelings of disappointment, bitterness, and lack of interest, leading to job dissatisfaction. 

Job dissatisfaction can grow from a variety of reasons, like: 

  • Being underpaid

  • Having an unsupportive or untrustworthy boss

  • Limited career growth at an organization

  • Lack of meaning behind a role

  • Lack of work-life balance

  • Poor management

What Happens When Workers Are Not Satisfied?

When workers are not satisfied, this can compel them to find job opportunities elsewhere. 

Others may choose to stay and remain unhappy. This might be due to fear of change, lack of updated skills, or an unwillingness to let go of certain benefits (their current pay, healthcare, retirement plan, etc.). 

Employee Response to Job Dissatisfaction

Employee response to job dissatisfaction can be broken down into four categories: 

  1. Exit: The exit response is when employees leave an organization or transfer to a different department to get away from their unhappy situation.

  1. Voice: Employees who fall in the voice category would speak up about their negative experience to management and provide recommendations on improving. This is considered the most constructive approach to job dissatisfaction.

  1. Loyalty: Those who respond with loyalty will not take any action. They will simply stay at their job with the hope that changes will one day be made.

  1. Neglect: Workers who respond with neglect perform their job duties poorly rather than actively seeking to improve their situation. They might call in sick frequently, submit lackluster work, and be unresponsive in messages/emails.

Job Dissatisfaction Effects

Not only does job dissatisfaction decrease work performance and morale, it can also negatively impact your bottom line. When employees are not engaged in their work, they are less likely to have the motivation to be productive and carry out quality services. 

Studies have shown a connection between a positive employee experience and a higher return on assets and sales. Companies that were ranked in the top 25 percent on employee experience reported nearly three times the return on assets and double the return on sales compared to businesses in the bottom quartile. 

5 Signs of Job Dissatisfaction

There are five key signs of job dissatisfaction. Employers can use these to help them better gauge the level of dissatisfaction in their workplace and make necessary changes.  

  1. Lack of Interest

Texting friends, browsing through social media, or simply staring at the ceiling can illustrate a lack of interest in one’s work. One of the early signs of job dissatisfaction, disinterest progressively grows worse over time and can impact work performance.

  1. Procrastination

A lack of interest can drive employees to procrastinate. People who procrastinate generally: 

  • Wait until the last minute to complete a task

  • Make excuses for not working on projects earlier

  • Fail to put sufficient organization and thought into their work due to their limited time working on it 

  1. Irritability

Though every job carries its own set of stressful moments, if employees are constantly stressed out and in an irritable mood, this only makes job dissatisfaction worse. Irritability not only adversely affects one’s mental health, but it also affects their colleagues around them. 

  1. Frequent Absences

When people aren’t happy with their jobs, they don’t want to carry out their responsibilities. Thus, they have a tendency to call in sick frequently. Frequent absences show an employee is unengaged and uncommitted to their work. 

  1. Lack of Effort

When an employee isn’t fully investing their expertise and talents into their position, this is a sign they are not content. People who are satisfied with their jobs generally have more zeal to succeed in their roles. 

How Do You Overcome Job Dissatisfaction?

Overcoming job dissatisfaction requires tapping into employee issues and enhancing their experience. There are a number of ways your team can boost employee experience: 

  • Provide recognition: Celebrate milestones and praise employees for their hard work during company meetings. Consider incorporating a reward system where workers receive some sort of compensation (money, more paid time off, team outings, etc.). 

  • Create a payroll strategy that's tied with performance: Are you paying your employees well? Great. But do you have a payroll and compensation strategy that keeps your employees productive and satisfied? Consider an employee’s career trajectory and tie that into compensation to boost motivation, morale, and productivity.

  • Provide training and mentoring: Nine in ten workers who have mentors say they are happy with their jobs. Mentoring can provide an opportunity for employees to train well in their roles, be given candid yet caring feedback, and be offered tips on climbing the ladder. 

  • Engage your hourly employees: Hourly workers have an annual turnover rate of 49 percent. By providing accurate compensation and efficient communication, you can effectively meet the unique needs hourly employees require. 

  • Listening and responding: We mentioned earlier that the most constructive response an employee can take to job dissatisfaction is to be vocal and bring up their concerns to management. Accordingly, managers can respond positively to that feedback. It will help if the employee feels heard and if management takes steps to address the needs that aren’t being met.