Opting Out: How to Increase Worker Satisfaction


Many managers are clueless.  Some bosses think because employees have a job despite the  financial crisis, employees should be happy.  When the pressures of globalizations are upon American businesses, companies need workers to achieve high performance.

In my book, Breaking Organizational Ties: How to Have a More Fulfilled Life in Your Current Job, I researched and tracked the growing discontentment of some employees about their job situation. In fact, U.S. employee satisfaction is at a 20 year low.

Most employees do not trust their senior leadership to guide the  organization with their employees in mind.  Furthermore, cost cutting of  professional training and education and the lack of vertical advancement in organizations are creating a growing number of unhappy workers. Given these organizational constraints, employees seek to opt out by giving the organization the least amount of performance in order to keep their jobs.

Since the economic downturn, some employees are dissatisfied  with professional growth and career advancements in their jobs.  Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, note that managers need to be mindful how they make decisions that affect employees.

Downsizing and outsourcing are a way of life for most organizations.  However, many times low morale in these organizations is  attributed to how employees are treated in this process.  Jones and George further suggest that managers should show compassion and empathy for layoff victims, by providing  employees with as much advance notice as possible about the layoff, and giving  clear information about severance benefits.

After the layoff, they can  also assist layoff victims in their job search efforts. These are a few of the ways in which managers can humanely manage a layoff. Richard Daft, author of Management, explains the importance of motivating employees:  “One secret for success in organizations is motivated and engaging employees. Most people begin a new job with energy and enthusiasm, but employees can lose their drive if managers fail their role as motivators.”

Therefore, managers need to inspire followers to minimize the number of individuals who ‘opt out’ in organizations.  Employees play a critical role in determining if they will ‘opt out.’ Marsha Sinetar, author of Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow, notes that the lingering consequences of employees who only work to obtain a paycheck: “Most of us think about our jobs or our careers as a means to fulfill responsibilities to families and creditors, to gain more material comforts, and to achieve status and recognition. But we pay a high price for this kind of thinking.”

Yet, if organizations are to be successful, they can’t afford their workers to be ‘opting out’ and providing less than superior performance against the backdrop of global forces. 

Discuss how managers can inspire employees toward greater job satisfaction.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green