Nowadays, it seems that stress at work is the new normal for a startling number of people. Every week, a new study is released that shows employees of all ages, from baby boomers to millennials, are unhappy on the job. One recent study put the number of workers who reported symptoms of stress at 83%.
Sadly, the stat doesn’t rock our world at the The Bagg Group. Given that we interview multiple candidates for every opportunity to identify the person who would be the best fit, we hear repeatedly, in real time, people’s workplace stresses. To avoid just that, we probe to find the right match between the candidate and the culture of the company under consideration.
We know that having the skills to do the job is only one part of the equation. It’s equally important that employees find satisfaction in their work. That makes all the difference in terms of productivity and retention rates.
With this in mind, we advise both our candidates and our clients to rethink their definition of success.
Certainly, money is a major consideration. But it takes more than a dollar figure to revv up and be a high-performing, enthusiastic contributor.
Having placed almost 60,000 happy people in full-time, contract and temporary placements over our 40 years, we’ve developed a sixth sense for what success looks like. We confirm the recent findings of Douglas LaBier, a researcher on workplace trends, that the following factors are essential to decrease stress and increase enjoyment on the job:
- People thrive when they know that their work provides real benefit for others. We all need to feel that our efforts are helping individuals, not just the bottom line.
- People are happy when they’re in learning mode. Companies want to grow, and so too do individuals. An organization that is dedicated to developing its people is one that is well worth considering.
- We live in a FTY era—feedback matters: With Facebook, Twitter and YouTube now part of our lives, we’ve become used to hearing what others think — quickly. This is especially true of younger workers, but all employees appreciate transparent, honest, timely feedback.
Managers who know how to give constructive feedback about people’s ideas and their work are those employees want to work for. Yet a recent study of 2,000 workers by the US management consultancy Orion showed 47% report that their managers make them feel threatened rather than rewarded.
As we say repeatedly in this blog, an employee-employer relationship is like any other relationship –it thrives on open, positive communication. That’s the first and most important step to making work satisfaction, not stress, the new normal.