As organisations have developed to suit and cater for an increasingly competitive marketplace, so too have the ideas and notions of job satisfaction. In fact, these ideas and notions have developed to such an extent through both theoretical and empirical means that it has now become the most important application of human resource management within the workplace. In its simplest form, job satisfaction is an attitudinal variable with which to judge an employee’s inclination towards their work. However, these attitudinal variables are so diverse and wide-ranging that it is fundamentally difficult to understand the most common causes undermining or underpinning job satisfaction. As such, wide ranging studies on the matter bear distinct disagreement with each other’s assertions and findings, instead only finding common ground on some issues.
In this essay, I will seek to make sense of these wide ranging issues and correlate the most likely causes behind human resource problems. In particular, I intend to focus of three main subjects; low employee morale, absenteeism and high turnover rates and examine the ideas behind each issue. In addition, using this information, I will seek to explain the consequences faced by organisations and by employees themselves who are faced with low employee morale and continued job dissatisfaction. Furthermore, I intend to examine the fundamental thinking behind the organisational response to these matters, as well as examining the solutions implemented by human resource managers to combat the problem.
Causes of low employee morale
There have been increasingly frequent studies pertaining to the causes of low employee morale in workplaces throughout Australia, with the findings generally indicating a vast array of differing causes and circumstances. However, a key factor behind the current low morale of workers seems to be intertwined with the aftermath of the Global Economic Crisis upon the Australian economy.
Career One's National Sales Manager, Dawn Tingwell, believes that, “Australian workers are less satisfied with their jobs...not only compared to last year but even since 2008.” Recent surveys seem to back up these statements with CareerOne claiming that 82 per cent of Australian employees are currently considering applying for new jobs due to dissatisfaction in the workplace, with 37 per cent already actively pursuing new roles. A similar study conducted in September of last year provides comparable figures, noting that “four out of every ten employees who were surveyed were seriously considering leaving their current position.”
Notably, current job dissatisfaction cannot solely be applied to workers in singular industries but rather towards a wide range of job types. Most prominently to suffer from job dissatisfaction are those in administration and sales, but also in education, logistics and property. This further implicates the GFC as the major culprit with these studies suggesting a macroeconomic problem rather than simply singular industrial difficulties.
In a 2011 study conducted by The Australian Workers Union, 28 per cent of employees believe that their workload has increased as a result of reduced employees in the workplace. Additionally, 29 per cent of workers feel that the GFC will continue to hinder the Australian economy in the future with many believing that the increased sphere of influence that the GFC poses will result in negative effects upon their personal lives. Tingwell believes this claim is relevant, stating that, “The intense focus being placed on profit by organisations in the post GFC environment is taking its toll on worker satisfaction and loyalty... with interest rates and the cost of living on the increase, we are seeing a strong correlation between financial stress and...