Three Reasons Your Employees Are Miserable At Work

I recently read an article by Marcel Schwantes titled “3 Reasons Your Employees Are Miserable at Work (and What to Do About It)” and he identified the three root causes of job misery being:

  • Anonymity
    The feeling employees get when they realise their manager has little interest in them
  • Irrelevance
    When employees cannot see how their job makes a difference
  • Immeasurement
    The inability for employees to assess for themselves their contribution or success


While I do not disagree with the above causes of job misery, I do think that it can be addressed far easier than what Marcel has proposed. To address this issue we need to understand why employees get to the stage that they are so miserable at work that the only reason they turn up is to earn the money for them to do the things they like doing. Not only are they feeling miserable, their productivity is generally so poor that they are actually costing the employer money. No one is a winner.


Employees are miserable at work for only one reason – THEY ARE NOT ENGAGED

The two main reasons why employees are not engaged are simply:

  1. They do not have “fit” to their role
  2. Their managers are not competent people managers, coaches and leaders


Any organisation that addresses these two underlying challenges will enjoy increased revenue, profitability and customer service levels; which should be enough incentive for any management team to seriously address this issue. The great news is that it is actually not that hard, but is does mean that business owners and executives will have to change the way they attract, select and develop their employees and managers. Because, clearly, the traditional recruitment process is not working and with only 5% of organisations providing leadership development below the executive team, there is much work to be done.


Improving Employee “FIT”

There is only one way to consistently attract and select candidates that will have fit to your roles and that is by using a high quality, highly reliable psychometric assessment solution. The assessments that will consistently deliver outstanding results must be Normed for your population, possess a Predictive Reliability/Co-efficient Alpha score of at least “.70” and have the capability of developing role benchmarks (also called job patterns and success patterns) for your roles and if possible the ability to develop these benchmarks by assessing proven high performing employees. By combining a highly reliable psychometric assessment with the ability to measure candidates against 100% relevant role benchmarks, the result is usually about 300% improvement in the success rate of selecting future highly engaged and high performing employees. The Interview Guides that accompany the JobFit assessments we use measure the candidate’s “fit” to the role, identifies any potential barriers to success and then provides tailored behavioural interview questions to assist the hiring managers to satisfy themselves that any potential barriers to success are manageable (either by the individual themselves or through effective coaching, mentoring and/or training).


Developing Confident People Managers

In addition to improving candidate selection, the next goldmine to be attended to is increasing the engagement, and productivity, of existing employees by improving the people management and coaching skills of all managers and supervisors. We achieve this through the Coaching and Management Reports that are provided with the JobFit assessments using during the selection phase. These coaching reports use the role benchmark information to identify the potential barriers to success and then provide the management team with effective coaching, mentoring and training suggestions to maximise employee engagement and productivity. For the first time ever, in most cases, the people managers are provided with the information they need to manage their direct reports on an individual basis. The process also gives them increased confidence to confront and deal with people issues as they arise instead of allowing them to fester and negatively affect other parts of the organisation.


Developing Courageous Leaders

In a recent study it was discovered that 95% of organisations do not invest in leadership development below the executive level. This means the mid-level managers and supervisors, that have more than 80% of the employees reporting to them, do not receive the development they need and want. In most cases this occurs because of one reason; cost. The cost of leadership surveys has traditionally been too high to justify upskilling leadership potential throughout organisations. There are now disrupters to the leadership development space that provide the capability to dramatically reduce the cost of implementing leadership development and to be able to customise the solution to fully meet any organisation’s particular requirements; one such platform is called Multirater Surveys. By developing courageous leaders at all levels and maximising overall leadership potential, there will be a substantial uplift in employee engagement levels and therefore a reduction in job misery.