Something changed in the workplace during the recession, and it is not good news for employers. Three different sources provide support for the conclusion that employees are more unhappy and frustrated than ever.
A survey by Mercer in June revealed that nearly one in three workers is considering leaving their employer, and another 21% are staying but are view their employers unfavorably especially in the area of engagement. 53% are satisfied with their base pay. The most disgruntled group is the age group 16-24 where 44% say they are considering leaving. Just below that group is the group of 24-34 year old where 40% say they might leave their jobs.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Conference Board Survey of departing employees found that 77% of the employees would not recommend their employer to others, up from 42% in 2008. A spokesperson for the Conference Board stated that companies were blunt and rough and tumble with their workers during the recession which led to a sense that the company did not care about their employees.
A final sign of discontent is the increase in charges with the EEOC in 2011. Business Week reported that the preliminary EEOC data for fiscal 2011 indicates charges are slightly ahead of last year's record pace.
There is no one thing employers can do to remedy the decline in employee morale or loyalty. The trend downward did not happen over night, but it was accelerated by the recession. Employers need to take a realistic look at how their employees were treated during the recession. Surveys have consistently shown that employees want to be in the information loop; they want management to communicate with them and to tell them what is and will happen. Focusing on communication is a good first step in the long road back.