“It’s just a job”: addressing employee apathy

If most Canadians feel their work is “just a job”, your organization is missing out on discretionary effort and engagement. What can HR do?

Do your employees feel they have a job or a career? Most Canadians say they just have a job – it pays the bills, but they’re not seeing a path of growth and development.
More than half (58%) of Canadian workers said they had “just a job” compared with 42% who said they had a career in the recent national survey from Careerbuilder.ca.
What’s more, nearly a quarter say they plan to change jobs this year, up from just 17% last year. What is driving workers to explore other possibilities?
The survey points to employee satisfaction as one possible issue. Job satisfaction matters to most (88%) Canadian workers, but only 57% say they’re satisfied in their current jobs. The most common complaint was feeling undervalued – two-thirds said they “feel like just a number” in their workplace.
The other major reasons for dissatisfaction were being underpaid, disliking the boss, and a lack of training or development opportunities.
"Offering frequent recognition, merit bonuses, training programs and clearly defined career paths are important ways to show workers what they mean to the company," said Mark Bania, Senior Career Advisor of CareerBuilder Canada. "With new positions constantly being added across Canada each month that are enticing workers to change jobs, now is the time for employers to look at their recruitment strategies and make adjustments so their top talent doesn't jump ship."
So what makes for satisfied workers? The top reason for being happy in a job was liking their coworkers with 80% of happy employees citing the people they work with as the reason they were satisfied at work. While group dynamics are not always under HR’s control, benefits were the second most important contributor to satisfaction with 62% of respondents saying they contributed to their work satisfaction. Also on the list were work/life balance (58%) , liking the boss (54%), feeling valued (48%) and salary (42%).
Improving salaries was the number one way to increase retention, according to 74% of respondents, but better recognition and benefits were other top factors.
One big consideration for HR is to look at the processes for feedback from employees and ensuring it’s a two-way street. More than half the respondents said they would stay with a company that listened to their concerns, and took action to improve the work environment based on employee feedback.

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