The New Employee Persona: Lowered Workplace Morale and Increased Self-Confidence

I know, it sounds like an anomaly. Lowered morale but increased confidence?  Aren’t morale and confidence one in the same?  To clarify, studies are showing that with the slow-but-sure regeneration of the economy, the emerging employee persona is more confident in their professional abilities, but simultaneously experiencing low morale in their current work situations.  This can mean a recipe for disaster (disaster meaning “I quit”) if employers don’t take this shift into account.
            Most employers are oblivious, or at the very least not as concerned as they should be, with this, according to a USA Today article. “Employee loyalty is at a three-year low, but many employers are precariously unaware of the morale meltdown,” said reporter Laura Petrecca.
            According to the article, as the economic recession wreaked havoc on our nation’s businesses, certain adjustments were made within the workplace that affected even the highest performing employers. Wages were cut, bonuses were ceased, salaried employees found themselves burning the midnight oil, and workloads from laid-off employees overflowed onto the desks of those still fortunate to still own a cubicle.  But now, as the health of the economy rebounds, some employees are thinking those working conditions just don’t cut it anymore.
            “Fed-up workers are seeking greener professional pastures. Slightly more than one in three hope to find a new job in the next 12 months,” reported the article. “Employees are starting to sniff out the possibility of an economic recovery, and they’re getting antsy. In the past, they were happy to keep their head down in the ‘We are just lucky to have a job’ economy.”
            A recent Inc.com article highlighted the recent influx of employees that are leaving search engine giant Google, a company notorious for a vibrant and enviable work environment in the past, for presumably better opportunities at Facebook.  As the morale in employees’ current jobs plummets, their curiosity and confidence to pursue other venues of employment is growing.
            So what does this mean for employers? According to the USA Today article, “That impending exodus could wallop employers who have to pay for recruiting and training replacements, as well as deal with lost productivity as they seek personnel.” So what is a manager to do?  The best advice I have come across is to simply listen to your people. Be cognizant of the needs and goals of your employees.  This by no means implies the only solution is to run to the company coin purse and start loosening the strings; this extends beyond money, to making employees feel like you actually care about their well-being and growth.  (Refer to yesterday’s post on “Inspiring Passionate Employees”… this post coincides perfectly with it). Distribute employee satisfaction surveys.  Accept comments and suggestions with open minds.  Consider investing in career development resources. Most people consider their careers an investment; they are drastically more likely to stay loyal to companies that are willing to invest resources and loyalty back into the employees themselves.

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