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  • Writer's pictureAlfio Bonanno

What is Resenteeism? The Persistent Trend in Employee Dissatisfaction and Disengagement

As the business landscape evolves, new workplace phenomena emerge, reflecting the shifting dynamics in the post-pandemic era. Terms like 'The Great Resignation,' 'quiet quitting,' and 'quiet firing' have become synonymous with employees leaving their jobs or growing dissatisfied with their current roles and both trends have presented challenges in 2021 and 2022. These trends underscore the desire for work-life balance, purpose, and a reevaluation of professional motivations. However, an unsettling trend has arisen amidst economic instability, soaring living costs, and fears of redundancy and recession in 2023! Enter 'resenteeism,' a concept capturing employees who reluctantly remain in unsatisfying positions due to limited opportunities and job insecurity.

The Essence of Resenteeism

Resenteeism stands as the successor to 'quiet quitting,' wherein employees merely meet the minimum requirements of their roles. Resenteeism takes a more overt form, characterized by a pervasive feeling of undervaluation, underappreciation, and active resentment towards the workplace, management, and even organizational leadership. These employees express their discontent openly, exhibiting negative attitudes, disengagement, and even challenging behaviors towards colleagues, processes, and leadership. Resenteeism, along with quiet quitting, serves as a reflection of workplace culture and acts as a barometer for overall employee well-being and morale.

The State of Employee Engagement

A recent international survey conducted by Gallup on the 'State of the Global Workforce' shed light on the concerning state of workplace engagement in the UK. Out of 38 European countries, the UK ranked a mere 33rd in terms of employee engagement. Astonishingly, only 10% of workers in the UK were identified as being 'actively engaged' in their jobs. These numbers suggest that a significant portion of your current workforce, regardless of the industry and sector in which you operate, may be experiencing resenteeism and this can pose significant challenges in terms of productivity and general culture within your organisation.

What are some of the steps to undertake to prevent your employees from resenting you?

Assessing Employee Engagement: Understanding the level of employee engagement within an organization is crucial to identify areas in need of improvement. Conducting comprehensive employee engagement surveys offers invaluable insights into various aspects of workplace satisfaction, including communication, rewards and benefits, management and leadership, and work-life balance. Leveraging the survey results, organizations can develop targeted engagement strategies and effectively communicate the planned improvements to their workforce. Whilst surveys will not, by themselves, resolve the issue of ‘resenteeism’, they can surely provide invaluable insights on the area(s) that cause unhappiness.

Empowering Communication about Opportunities: Transparent and frequent communication plays a pivotal role in making employees feel valued, trusted, and included. Regularly disseminating internal communication bulletins that outline job prospects, promotional opportunities, available training and development programs or even something as simple as a monthly newsletter, to update employees on organisational updates, fosters a sense of empowerment. Reinforcing the organization's benefits and initiatives, particularly during times of financial strain, ensures employees are aware of and can leverage these resources.

Finally, management at all levels should not only be always available to listen to their reports, but also able to spot signs of a disengaged workforce and address the matter proactively. For this reason, having an open-door policy can really make a huge difference. By cultivating a culture of open communication, organizations can counter apathy and diminish resentment.

Cultivating Appreciation: Simple gestures can have a profound impact on an employee's sense of value, recognition, and appreciation. Encouraging the leadership team to acknowledge and celebrate exceptional performance, facilitating regular interactions between the CEO and staff, and organizing well-being days or team lunches all contribute to fostering appreciation. Recognizing departmental or individual successes through small rewards, such as vouchers, further motivates employees and strengthens their satisfaction. In essence, make sure that accomplishments do not go unnoticed!

Also, consider undertaking small steps to support employees during the cost-of-living crisis! It is easier said than done for organisations with a limited budget, but there are options – such as Employee Assistance Plans – that can really provide a great line of support for employees without necessarily breaking the bank!

In a nutshell

Resenteeism poses a formidable challenge in today's workplaces, with employees feeling trapped in unsatisfactory positions due to economic uncertainty and limited alternatives, but being unable to quit because of the instability of the broader economical landscape. Prioritizing employee engagement and implementing effective strategies to address resenteeism are essential for maintaining stability among your workforce. By conducting comprehensive employee engagement assessments, nurturing transparent communication channels, and fostering a culture of appreciation, organizations can proactively mitigate the impact of resenteeism, cultivating a more engaged and satisfied workforce.

As a trusted HR consulting firm, EthosHR is well-equipped to assist your organization in navigating the complexities of resenteeism. We will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive engagement strategy, focusing on enhancing communication, fostering appreciation, and implementing initiatives to address employee dissatisfaction. Our expertise in organizational development and employee engagement will enable us to partner with you in revitalizing your workforce and creating a culture of high engagement and productivity. With EthosHR, you can confidently tackle resenteeism and minimise the impact that it has on your organiastion. Get in touch today to find out more about us, the work we do and how we can support you!

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