The average American spends one-third of his or her life at work, so there’s bound to be conflict, tension, and complaints.
Some complaints may be minor and require easy fixes, such as gripes about break policies and lunch breaks. More serious issues like harassment and bullying require the intervention of the HR department.
Unhappy employees don’t just lead to negative vibes in the office – they also drain a company’s bottom line. Chronic complaints kill productivity and hurt companies in real dollars and cents.
Here are the most common gripes employees have in the workplace, as well as ways managers and companies can address them.
- “My commute is atrocious!”
Consider this: A 45-minute one-way commute adds up to one and a half hours in traffic per day and nearly two weeks spent sitting in your car per year.
That’s probably why 17% of workers said they’ve quit a job before because of a bad commute, according to a survey by WorkplaceTrends.com. Commuting is a common complaint among workers for a reason: it’s an inefficient use of time and it adds stress to an employee’s life.
The simplest way employers can ease commuting ways is to offer more schedule flexibility and the option of remote work. Already, 50% of U.S. workers have a job with at least partial telecommuting, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
Many companies have had success in allowing employees to work remotely one to three days a week, and it’s a perk employee will appreciate.
- “My salary is way too low!”
Salary complaints are common at just about every company. Only 19% of American workers feel satisfied with their current pay, according to Indeed.com.
Unlike gripes about commuting, though, salary complaints are a trickier area and one that should be dealt with by HR. Allegations of unfair pay can lead to legal problems because of pay discrimination laws.
Addressing pay complaints is tough, especially because of the legal ramifications. Employers are tackling this issue by increasingly adopting more transparency in their pay practices.
Many employers publish their methods used to determine pay, bonuses, and incentives on their company intranets, as well as the pay range for various positions. Some companies even publish actual salaries, though you may not want to go that far.
Either way, HR managers can handle pay complaints by explaining the company’s pay policy and how pay levels are determined.
- “Our health insurance plan stinks!”
Health insurance costs continue to rise in the U.S., and they’re cutting into employees’ paychecks. Benefits, especially health insurance, are a prime factor in many workers’ decisions to stay or leave a company.
As healthcare costs climb, many workers wonder why their company isn’t paying more. However, most companies are paying a higher percentage of healthcare costs – but not all workers may understand or see that.
Addressing complaints about health insurance is another complicated issue best suited for HR. Many HR departments today are doing more to educate and communicate to employees about health benefits, especially during open enrollment season.
Some companies are also offering more low-cost perks to offset the gripes about health benefits, such as flexible scheduling, expanded vacation and sick time, and fitness reimbursements.
- “My manager/co-worker is the worst!”
Conflict in the workplace is inevitable given the different backgrounds, personalities, and work styles employees have in the average office.
Complaints about co-workers and bosses can run the gamut from annoying behaviors, personality differences, to poor communication.
Managers and HR can properly address conflict with several tried-and-true methods. Many HR experts recommend dealing with conflicts promptly and encouraging workers to hash it out by themselves.
The company’s managers and supervisors should also lead by example and build an office culture where workers respect and listen to each other. This is the best way to ensure disruptive conflicts don’t happen in the first place.
- “This job feels so monotonous!”
The 9-to-5 grind of daily, routine work can make some employees feel like they’re living in the movie Groundhog Day. It can also cause them to quit. Bored workers are more than twice as likely to leave their job in the next six months than workers who are actively engaged, according to a 2016 Udemy study.
Workers can feel bored for several reasons, including not learning enough, not being challenged, and not having enough work.
Companies can combat this by offering more training and education opportunities, which can make workers feel more valued and as if they have a path and future with the employer. Another way to address boredom is to mix up routine tasks with opportunities for more challenging work where employees can learn new skills.