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A New Study Reveals 70 Percent of Workers Say They Are Actively Looking for a New Job. Here’s the Reason in 5 Words

It’s the season of giving and your employees deserve this.

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BY Marcel Schwantes - 04 Dec 2018

workers actively looking for a new job

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

What contributes to higher levels of workplace stress and isolation, and is strongly correlated with job dissatisfaction and people quitting?

According to research by Mental Health America (MHA), which published its Workplace Health Survey last year, one overarching issue organizations need to address comes down to one simple sentence:

Lack of support and recognition.

Over 17,000 employees across 19 industries in the U.S. were surveyed about workplace culture, workplace stress, and the overall state of workers' mental health.

Not surprising, this is yet another study that confirms the significance of appealing to human emotions in the workplace -- a call to make work more human in order for employees to thrive.

As we enter the season of giving, companies need to consider gifting their employees with workplace practices that will boost more moments of support and recognition. Hopefully, this is a strategy that will carry forward well into 2019 and beyond.

The research on why people quit

I'll preface by saying that 70 percent of respondents that participated in the Workplace Health Survey were either "actively looking for new job opportunities" or were thinking about it "always, often or sometimes."

While this study was conducted between June 1, 2015 to March 1, 2017, this tune hasn't changed. A more recent survey conducted by Randstad US during July found that 60 percent of workers have quit in 2018 (and about the same number are still thinking about doing it).

Here are some of the more glaring findings that caught my attention from the Workplace Health Study, as it relates to the question of support and recognition:

  • Only 21 percent of respondents felt that they were paid what they deserved.
  • 45 percent of respondents said that they were "Rarely or Never" paid what they deserved.
  • 77 percent of respondents believed that skilled employees were not given proper recognition.
  • 44 percent of respondents believed that skilled employees were "Always or Often" overlooked and not given recognition.
  • 36 percent and 34 percent of respondents felt that they could rely on supervisor and colleague support, respectively.
  • 74 percent of respondents felt hindered by trivial activities, including feeling micromanaged.
  • 65 percent of respondents reported feeling isolated in their workplace due to an
    unhelpful and hostile environment.

Who's to blame?

In one word: Leadership. To improve these statistics, leaders at the highest level must commit resources (interviewing tools, assessments, leadership training, coaching/mentoring) to hire and make better leaders within the organization.

To drive the point further, the report cites what Gallup has been preaching about for decades; leaders and managers that adopt an engaging, "servant leadership" style, and build relationships to recognize and truly understand their employees' human needs will dramatically increase engagement and productivity.

Bringing it home, it's interesting to note that seventy-five percent of respondents in workplaces that scored as "healthy" noted that they experienced open door and relaxed work environments led by such leaders.

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