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Bored employees are jumping ship

January 26, 2018

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE
According to a new survey by Korn Ferry of nearly 5,000 professionals, being bored and lacking challenge is the number one reason employees will seek a new job in 2018.

For those participants in the survey who stated they plan to seek new employment in 2018, the survey asked why.  The reasons stated were:

  • I’m bored, need new challenge – 33%
  • Culture doesn’t fit with me/my values – 24%
  • I have either lost my job or expect that I will – 21%
  • Higher salary – 19%
  • Company politics – 3%

Luckily the number one reason, boredom, is something can be remedied easily.  The first step is recognizing it so that it can be addressed.  If you are checking in regularly with the employees you manage, you will hopefully recognize if they are bored.  But if not, here are some indicators that an employee is no longer feeling challenged in their position and might be bored:

  • Change to routine:  You might notice that they are coming in later than usual or leaving early.  Often times, a lack of urgency to complete projects on time is an indicator as well.  Other signs include a sudden increase in sick days and not putting as much detail as normal into their work.
  • Negativity:  If a normally positive person becomes increasingly negative, they could be bored.
  • Lack of Productivity:  Bored employees quickly become time watchers and utilize social media more often during work hours.
  • Socializing: Too much socializing at work can indicate boredom.
  • Social Withdrawal:  On the other hand, often times bored employees stop participating in events outside the office or even with the team during business hours.

When you think you have a bored employee, address it with them.  If you address it in a timely manner, it can most often be resolved.  Some ideas to help them get out of their rut include:

  • Address the boredom.  Ask the employee if he/she is bored.  Ask them about their interests and find ways to utilize those interests and skills to benefit the company.
  • Give them tasks outside of their normal duties.  Think of ways to utilize the bored employee in new projects that allow them to stretch their skills.
  • Revisit the employee’s goals.  Create a three- to five-year plan to help them attain their career goals, ideally within the organization.
  • Don’t partake in negativity.  Address negativity immediately in order to nip it in the bud.  Negativity can spread quickly among employees.

A report by Udemy for Business found that 43% of employees are bored.  This problem not only affects the employee experience due to the unhappiness, but also an organization’s bottom line. The loss in productivity can be costly, and if the employee eventually quits, now you have to add in the cost of turnover.
Preventing boredom at work helps to improve employee retention, productivity, and ultimately revenue.  Today’s new generation of workers seek professional growth.  The days of spending 30 years with one company are over, and when they are seeking new challenges they no longer hesitate to find them at new company if not available at their current employer.

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