Unhappy Employees Cost America Over $500 Billion Each Year

Unhappy Employees Cost America Over $500 Billion Each Year

Are you happy at your job? Do you feel engaged and involved in the fabric of your company? Does it inspire you to reach your full career potential?

If you answered yes, consider yourself in the minority of American workers. That’s what recent findings from San Francisco-based workplace personality assessment company Good.co reveals. The study, which conducted fun assessments backed by years of psychometric research, aimed to create greater transparency for both job seekers and employers. At an astounding 70 percent, U.S. workers aren’t working to their full potential, which affects bottom lines in immense ways.

The study reveals that disengagement leads to productivity drops, costing businesses between $450 and $550 billion each year. Furthermore, an eye-opening 46 percent of new hires will fail to assimilate into company culture within 18 months — with 89 percent attributing the failure to poor culture fits. That turnover can be significantly reduced, as happy employees are 87 percent less likely to leave their job than a disengaged person.


Certainly, there could be various reasons for these workplace failures that aren’t covered in the study. However, the idea of improving company culture has grown into a significant movement in organizations across the country. Do these findings make you want to improve culture in your workplace?

Investing in Company Culture

Investing in organization culture should come as a no-brainer to some. However, Depending on the industry, it could already be a common theme amongst leaders in your sector. Then again, those not looking at company happiness may be shocked to find that companies with an engaged workforce perform up to 202 percent better than their counterparts. Individually so, happy employees tend to perform with much higher productivity, sell more and create much more efficiently.

When looking at companies with lower happiness, the study found that disengaged offices saw operating income worsen by nearly 33 percent compared to the prior year. If that figure doesn’t open the eyes of even the staunchest detractor of the movement, I don’t know what will.

As the Harvard Business School points out, there are three overarching reasons for improving company culture. They believe that clearly codified cultures, an effective operating strategy and a company willing to revisit these practices will lead to happy employees and a better perception to prospective customers.

Making the Office Happier

“Companies and leaders need to go out of their way to make employees happy,” Richard Branson told Entrepreneur last year. “It won’t just happen.”

It’s true. However, it doesn’t always take monumental shifts in company ethos to bring happiness to the office. As Good.co’s study shows, companies can do just as much for their employees as it can for itself when improving office sentiments. Companies and jobseekers alike cite a culture fit as the most important aspect of their search. For the company, if they add a screening for new hires it could drastically reduce the current turnover rate. Some of these actions could include having a potential new hire shadow a potential colleague on the job, interviewing with their direct branch or other initiatives that extend beyond a question and answer session in a meeting room.

When dealing with current employees, emphasizing a work/life balance will resonate with about 88 percent of the workforce. Fostering workplace friendships, as well as focusing on core strengths, can double an employee’s engagement.

If you are feeling as if it’s time to improve your office culture, I’ll leave you with some more of Richard Branson’s thoughts from his Entrepreneur feature,

But beyond creating good policies, you need to think about what makes your company different, and help your employees to celebrate that. If it’s the sense of mission, then give them the tools they need to keep in touch with how your business is progressing toward its goals. If it’s engagement with customers, then empower your people to take the lead as they help your clients. If you need clues about where to begin, pay attention to where the happiest employees are in your business, since this can indicate that something is working very well — something that can be replicated elsewhere.”


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