Common Complaints Employees Make

Feb 14, 2017

Some things don’t change much, and employee complaints seem to be among them. If you look back at employee complaint lists of the past or present, you’ll find they really haven’t changed much over the years. It’s important to look at complaints as an opportunity to make a positive change. As author Guy Winch shares in his book The Squeaky Wheel: “Complaints should be more than the mere airing of grievances; they can be tools we use to bring about significant improvements in many aspects of our lives.” Here are 5 common employee complaints, compiled from a review of recent articles on the topic. See any that apply to your business?

1. Not surprisingly, pay is the number one employee complaint, according to an analysis of employee engagement surveys by InteHR Solutions, a Chicago-based management consulting firm. Employees are also concerned about internal pay equity between new and longer term employees.

2. In a survey commissioned by electronics giant Samsung, an overwhelming majority (92%) of employees said crashing computers and slow internet annoyed them and resulted in a loss of almost half an hour of working time a day on average.

3. One common complaint from unhappy employees is a bad boss. A 2015 Gallup survey of 7,200 working adults found that 50% of people who left their jobs did so to rid themselves of a subpar supervisor. The Harvard Business Review actually did a survey on this topic, and created a list of the most common complaints about bad bosses. Topping the list was not recognizing employee achievements, not giving clear directions, and not having/making time to meet with employees.

4. A common complaint from millennial workers — a group that many companies are scrambling to attract and retain – is lack of work/life balance. Survey after survey shows that what millennials want most is flexibility in where, when, and how they work. In fact, many say they would take a pay cut, forgo a promotion or be willing to move to manage work-life demands better.

5. Even the best employees with a strong work ethic don’t want to be overworked over an extended period of time. A recent study from Staples Business Advantage found that 40 percent of employees feel burnt out, overworked and stressed out. According to the study, 63% of respondents said they feel they could avoid burnout with more flexible schedules, decreased workloads (59 percent), encouragement to take breaks (52 percent) and improved technology (35 percent).