Only four out of 10 employees in today’s workforce are satisfied with their job. That’s according to a recent survey by the Conference Board.
A major reason for this dreadful situation is that employers are demanding a lot more from their employees, most often without any increase in recognition and pay. (Just seven percent got a raise or bonus for extra work.)
Job descriptions are frequently ignored. Over half of workers surveyed by Spherion Staffing declared they have taken on expanded assignments without any change in their job description. Some are forced to perform tasks for which they have not been trained.
Many senior managers are assuming extra chores formerly handled by their staffs.
This environment has been spawned by the dismal economic climate. Often employers simply cannot afford to maintain a full staff, much less hire more employees. Others are reluctant to hire more people because they are anxious about what the future holds for their businesses. Higher taxes, more government regulation, a double-dip recession? At the same time, some have found that they can increase their profitability by holding down headcount.
These conditions are likely to hammer productivity as over-worked employees suffer from fatigue. Many times employees are called on to handle duties for which they have no training. When productivity slumps all sides are the losers.
Employers should be acutely aware of the workloads their employees carry–surprisingly, they are often not–and they should reward those who take on extra duties.
Employees should make sure their bosses are aware of the load they are bearing and speak up when they are stretched too far. When they are forced to deal with an overload they should ask the boss to establish priorities. It is far better to speak up than to keep accepting more and more tasks to the point that one begins missing deadlines and turning in below standards work.
There is another side to this situation that ambitious careerists should keep in mind.
When an employer is truly struggling to survive in these tough times, everyone should pitch in to shoulder more duties–at least in the short term–to help the organization keep its head above water.
Consider also that that there are opportunities for advancing one’s career, over the long haul, by proving one’s capacity for handling greater an upgraded workload.
I wish you career success!
Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach