Comment: Can't get no satisfaction?

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Workforce dissatisfaction News of workforce dissatisfaction highlights an urgent need for investment in staff training and development, says Gemma Middleton. This is vital, she argues, if you want to motivate your workforce to weather the credit crunch.

In recent years, the main buzzwords within the training & HR community have tended to be around continual professional development, talent management and reward schemes. Organisations of all shapes and sizes have publicly agreed that investing in employees is critical for organisational success, with many including their employee commitments in their philosophy and vision.

Photo of Gemma Middleton"The report has highlighted the strong and urgent need for organisations to invest in their people, particularly in management development. This needs to be done as soon as possible.

With UK employment levels at an all time low it also makes perfect business sense to give employees good packages, as the competition for 'sound' employees is incredibly fierce. Typical employment packages, which are proven motivators for employees, can include: investment in business learning or traditional qualifications, bonus schemes, company cars, plush working environments and flexible working hours.

However, at the end of April a report commissioned by Investors in People found that four in 10 UK respondents (43%) are considering leaving their job in the next 12 months. This shows that although organisations claim to fully understand the benefits and believe in the importance of motivating and investing in staff, for some reason they are failing to capitalise on them.

The survey also highlighted that 44% of respondents felt that they were not supported by their managers past their initial induction stage, which explains why a further finding stated that it was mainly new employees, who had been working with the organisation for between one to two years, who were the ones most likely to leave.

Unsurprisingly, the survey found that organisations with 5,000 plus employees had the highest demotivated workforce (39%) compared with 30% of employees feeling the same way in organisations employing between 50 and 250 people. It has long been accepted that in larger organisations if employees are not managed effectively and fully supported it can lead to staff feeling disengaged, isolated and demotivated.

Overlooked for too long

If the situation is unaddressed for too long it can cause major issues; real-life examples include the current petrol strikes in Scotland or the teacher’s union strike. Although these problems primarily revolve around pay disputes, if the employees were supported and managed effectively in the early problem stages it is highly likely that the strike action could have been avoided.

"It has long been accepted that in larger organisations if employees are not managed effectively and fully supported it can lead to staff feeling disengaged, isolated and demotivated."

The report's findings are a real blow to the UK’s business sector and as Simon Jones, chief executive at Investors in People UK said: "This research reveals a worrying picture, not only because such a significant proportion of UK employees are demotivated, but because it suggests that valuable employees may be heading for the door."

The key findings that the report has highlighted are the strong and urgent need for organisations to invest in their people, particularly in management development. This needs to be done as soon as possible as it is imperative that everyone pulls together and has a supportive and trusting environment to operate in, which is a necessity when creating buy-in to learning and development.

The situation of motivating and teaching employees the importance of management can be easily addressed, whether it be through in-house training departments, external training providers, colleges or universities: the provision is available, it is just down to whether organisations choose to invest.

Simon Jones supports this view and believes that, "Support from managers and 'effective' feedback is vital when it comes to mapping out career paths and identifying relevant training and development."

In uncertain economic times, retaining staff must be a priority for any organisation as low staff turnover ensures high levels of productivity, efficiency and cost effectiveness - all of which are vital for success. So it is paramount that organisations ensure they invest in employees to increase motivation levels if they are to weather out the potential worsening storm ahead.

To read more about the Investors in People research go to
A third of the workforce is demotivated

Gemma Middleton is a communications specialist
at Righttrack Consultancy. For more information about Righttrack go to: www.righttrackconsultancy.co.uk

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