Report challenges managers as employees’ satisfaction at work plummets
A new report put together by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPD) has challenged managers to be more active on employees’ upward movement.However, the report scored managers “highly on well-being and support for the workers”.
According to the report, job satisfaction in the United Kingdom (UK) has dropped to its lowest level for over two years, adding that job-seeking intentions have risen to almost a quarter (24%) of employees – a two and a half year high.
It explained that although wider global economic uncertainty has likely shaken the labour market, “the world of work is changing too, and organisations therefore need to rethink their approach to employee career management, in order to engage and retain staff.
This is according to the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report, which surveyed over 2,000 UK employees in February and March 2016.
The report found that job satisfaction has fallen across all sectors (net score = +40, compared to +48 in Feb-March 2015), but particularly in the private sector (+41, compared +50 in Feb-March2015).
Employees in micro businesses have the highest levels of job satisfaction by size of organisation at +49, but even this figure represents a substantial reduction from Autumn 2015 where job satisfaction was almost 30 points higher at +76.
Exploring a range of employee issues that could affect job satisfaction, the CIPD/Halogen survey finds that almost a fifth (23%) of employees believe their organisation’s performance management processes are unfair (an increase from 20% in Feb-March 2015).
Over a quarter (27%) are dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job and this is reflected in the number of employees who say they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation, which has also increased to 36% (32% in Feb-March 2015).
Research adviser for resourcing and talent planning at the CIPD, Claire McCartney, said: “Today’s research shows that our approaches to job design and career management have not kept pace with the rapidly changing world of work or with employee expectations. Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear. Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed”.
McCartney added:“Organisations therefore need to redefine their approach to careers in the light of this new context in order to future-proof their workforce. They need to think about career growth in a more holistic way, rather than traditional, hierarchical progression, and instead give employees opportunities for a breadth of diverse experiences and opportunities that maximise their skills and their employability going forward.”
The survey also reveals that net satisfaction with line managers has risen to +47 (+44 in Autumn 2015). Employees in the voluntary sector (+53) are most satisfied with their managers, followed by those in the public (+48) and then the private sector (+46). Employees say that their line managers are most likely to be committed to their organisation (69%), treat employees fairly (67%), make clear what is expected of them (59%), are supportive if they have a problem (57%) and listen to their suggestions (55%).
However, line managers were reported as less likely to coach employees on the job (24%), act as a role model (34%), discuss training and development needs (38%), provide feedback on performance (42%) and keep them in touch with what is going on (46%).
McCartney added: “It’s really positive to see overall satisfaction with line managers increasing in this survey, and the findings point to the importance of quality communication and consultation between employees and line managers.
However, although line managers are committing themselves to their duty of care and employee welfare, it seems they aren’t hitting the mark in terms of helping that individual develop and progress. With subsequent gaps in active management, learning and development, it’s not surprising that people are dissatisfied with their jobs and looking for new opportunities elsewhere.”
Chief People Officer at Halogen Software, Dominique Jones, said: “These figures demonstrate a clear need for employers to shift their approach to performance management — to make it an on-going part of the rhythm of work — not a separate, once-a year-burden.
Regular one-on-one conversations between line managers and employees can help improve employee engagement and satisfaction when used to identify new opportunities for employees to develop, ensure clarity on goals and expectations, and to provide employees coaching and feedback related to performance outcomes. HR plays a critical role here in supporting line managers, guiding them and providing them with the right tools to enable them to listen, measure and act on employee needs.”
Further highlights of the survey include:
• More employees are satisfied (41%) than dissatisfied (36%) with their current level of pay
• Almost a third of employees (31%) say they come home from work exhausted either often (24%) or always (7%)
• Employee knowledge of organisational core purpose is very high (+70), but the number of employees that are highly motivated by their organisation’s core purpose is much lower (+28)
• Employees are most likely to say that work makes them feel ‘cheerful’ (24%), most or all of the time as opposed to any other feeling.
This is followed jointly by ‘optimistic’ and ‘stressed’, with 18% respectively saying work makes them feel this way most or all of the time
CIPD had explained recently that flexible work environment is critical to the growth of any organisation.
For instance, according to CIPD in its new report, flexible workers in London are more satisfied with their jobs, feel under less pressure and have better work-life balance than those who don’t work flexibly.
The research also highlights the amount of time Londoners spend commuting; an average of 47 minutes travelling to work each way compared to the national average of 31 minutes.
The United Kingdom based group explained that average travel to work time increases to 56 minutes each way if ‘you consider a combination of both employees who live in London and those that commute into the capital from outside the M25’.
The report explained that many Londoners are travelling for the equivalent of at least one full working day in a ‘typical’ week.
According to the CIPD, the survey comes four years after the London 2012 Olympics, which was hoped to be a catalyst for change in terms of how businesses and individuals in London approach flexible working while taking pressure off road and rail infrastructure in and around the capital.
The research found that despite having much longer commuting times than the national average; fewer employees living in London work flexibly in some way (52%) compared to the national average (54%).
In its policy programme,’Opportunity through work: A manifesto for London’, the CIPD is calling for the next Mayor of London to lead a campaign, working with employers and professional bodies, to achieve a step-change in the uptake of flexible working among Londoners, adding that “This is in order to improve working lives, support efforts to increase diversity and inclusion and help individuals balance work with other commitments, such as child or elder care, or to support their lifestyle.
The CIPD’s research highlights the positive impact that flexible working has on the working lives of those people living in London:
Almost seven in ten (69%) employees living in London who work flexibly report they are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 52% of employees that don’t work flexibly.
Just 24% of flexible workers living in London report being under excessive pressure every day or once or twice a week, compared to 42% of non-flexible workers.
Almost a quarter (23%) of flexibly working Londoners are very satisfied with their work-life balance compared to just one in ten (10%) who don’t work flexibly.
The top benefits of flexible working cited by employees living in London who already work flexibly are: better work-life balance (53%), less time spent commuting (32%), reduced stress (30%), improved productivity (30%).
Head of CIPD London, said David D’Souza,: “There’s a clear divide in the quality of working lives between London workers who work flexibly and those that don’t. The London 2012 Olympics was supposed to have heralded a new dawn for flexible working in the capital but progress appears to have stalled, significantly impacting the quality of people’s working lives and their productivity”.
He added: “Flexible workers are happier workers but there is still far too much focus on traditional 9-5 work cultures and an ongoing challenge of businesses placing too much value on time spent at the desk and not enough on people’s actual outputs.
“Where Londoners are working flexibly, this is mostly restricted to part-time working or flexi-time unless they are a middle or senior manager. Rather than being the preserve of more senior managers, the opportunity to work flexibly in different ways needs to become the norm for many more employees.”
The CIPD’s survey shows that there is significant support among workers for a government-led campaign to boost the uptake of flexible working to reduce the time and cost of commuting.
Working Londoners identify their top three government priorities for reducing the time and cost of commuting as reducing the cost of public transport fares (44%), investing in the rail and tube network (37%) and leading a campaign to increase the uptake in flexible working (20%).
D’Souza added: “The nature of work is changing. We need real action on flexible working from Government, the new Mayor of London and from businesses.
“As new generations enter the labour market with different expectations about how they want to work and older generations stay in work longer, the rigid working habits too many employers still abide by will have to change. Of course some people are restricted in their ability to work flexibly because of the nature of their jobs but far too often it’s the attitudes of managers and business leaders that are the major obstacles to increasing the use of different types of flexible working.
“The next Mayor of London should work with employers and bodies like the CIPD to lead a campaign to change attitudes, learn from best practice and expand the types of flexible working available. This should help to positively reshape work in London and open up employment opportunities for key groups who can struggle with the typical 9-5, office based working arrangement, such those who need to balance working life with caring duties and studying.”
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