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Half of Singapore’s Workforce is Unhappy. What Should Bosses Do?

These action points could help turn your employees’ frowns upside down

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BY Cristina Morales - 11 Sep 2017

unhappy employees

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

A recent survey of Singaporean workers conducted by JobsCentral found that around half of the workforce is unhappy at work. This is definitely a point of concern; not only does dissatisfaction affect productivity, it could very easily affect employee retention.

Based on the same survey’s findings, here are a few things bosses can do to improve their employees’ satisfaction at work.

1. Pay competitive salaries

“The survey results suggest that the majority of the respondents may perceive that they are being underpaid,” says Sam Ng, Managing Director of CareerBuilder Singapore, in a media release. One in three respondents (34.6%) cited their desire for a pay raise, making it the top action desired from employers.

unhappy employees

PHOTO CREDIT: CareerBuilder Singapore

In this Inc. article, Erik Sherman says that most employees don’t have a sense of whether or not they’re well paid. Even though you’re paying your employees according to market rates, they could still think that they’re being underpaid. This can be traced back to a lack of transparency. Communicate the decision-making behind your compensation packages. The more informed your employees are, the more respected they will feel, which can only be good for your business.

2. Acknowledge good performance

The next top action desired from employers was an improved work performance reward scheme (14.9%). Everyone wants to feel valued. When you reward your top performers, they’ll be motivated to keep doing good work. But be warned: playing favorites will get you nowhere. The survey also found that 12% of employees desired to get unbiased performance reviews and evaluation from their bosses. Be objective and keep your staff’s growth in mind when giving feedback.

This Inc. article on rewarding employees on a budget recommends identifying what you want to reinforce first: job performance (e.g. hitting sales targets) or behavior (e.g. good teamwork, leadership). If you don’t have the budget for monetary rewards, talk to your employees to find out what motivates them and learn how else you can reward them.

3. Adjust for more work-life balance

More Singaporeans are learning about the importance of work-life balance, evidenced by their desire for more leaves and reduced working hours and overtime. But even though they understand the benefits of work-life balance, many employees end up working longer hours in hopes of more compensation and career progression. When rating their satisfaction with different aspects of work, respondents ranked work-life balance at a dismal 5.56.

unhappy employees

PHOTO CREDIT: CareerBuilder Singapore

This Inc. article suggests offering flexible hours that would help your employees meet their personal needs:

“If you have employees who are also parents, you could allow them to start their workday earlier in the morning, like around 7am. This way they can leave in the early afternoon, around 3pm to pick up their children from school. If you have team members who are night owls, then maybe you would allow them to come into the office at noon and leave at 8pm.”

You could also allow your employees to work from home, offer more personal days, and commit to setting boundaries when it comes to work — don’t email or text them about work outside office hours.

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