‘Beleaguered’ UK workforce is poorly motivated and unproductive

UK workers are lacking motivation and job satisfaction, with over half either feeling neutral or unhappy about going to work most days, only one in four very satisfied with their jobs and 20 per cent who dread going to work. According to a new report, ‘The Forgotten Workforce’ a series of blows to UK workers, including cuts to their working hours, increasingly inconsistent working patterns, pay freezes, and introduction of zero hours – coupled with little or no investment in technology to support employees – has led to a UK workforce lacking morale and disengaged from the business. An efficient business needs an efficient workforce. If this cycle continues, businesses will face increasingly poor productivity and the UK economic recovery will suffer warns the report.

The study by workforce management solutions provider Kronos Incorporated highlights some of the most common issues affecting workplace motivation performance and outlines positive actions which UK management can take to address employee’ concerns as well as increase productivity and profit.

Neil Pickering, director, Kronos comments: “The effects of a long recession have resulted in the creation of a trudging, uninspired workforce, with a lack of desire to contribute to the success of the business. Is it any wonder that businesses feel sluggish and unable to respond to the changing dynamics of their respective markets? The drive to keep costs as low as possible is creating a race to the bottom which undermines job satisfaction and squeezes employees’ abilities to respond to demand.”

The greatest causes of workplace unhappiness are low pay (36%), little or no variety to the job role they perform (25%), and unpaid overtime (22%). The report alleges that employers are getting simple business processes wrong, such as underestimating the number of people needed for a specific shift (48%) or failing to accurately pay staff for the hours they work (19%). It says that getting these processes right is essential to motivating the workforce. Employees are desperate for more engagement with management and more control over their working life.

The report also finds that 79 per cent of workers think their experience at work could be improved, 59 per cent would like more flexibility in the hours that they work, and 53 per cent would like equal control with their manager when it comes to planning their working hours.

‘The Forgotten Workforce’ survey of  2,500 employees in medium to large organisations can be downloaded here.