A new report suggesting that only one in four of us feel that we are in 'good' jobs has underlined that employers need to do more to boost performance through people management and good communication.
An investigation into employee attitudes by Britain's Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that only 39 per cent of jobs are classified as being "good" - in other words ones that were interesting and exiting but not unduly stressful.
The report, Reflections on employee well-being and the psychological contract, is based on a survey that explores trends in employee attitudes to work and relationships with managers and colleagues and provides a consistent baseline against which organisations can benchmark their own employment relationships.
"Interest and excitement are key elements in the psychological contract between employers and employees," said Nic Marks, Head of well-being research at NEF (the new economics foundation) and co-author of the report.
"If employees don't feel their role is exciting this will be reflected in their lack of commitment, underperformance and satisfaction.
"Employers should look to create a balance between the challenges of the job and the individual's abilities if employees are to flourish in their roles. This will ultimately help to create good jobs, and good jobs not only benefit employees and the organisation but ultimately society as a whole. "
The report suggests the key factors that influence people's well being at work, as identified in the CIPD's psychological contract survey, can be split into two factors –creating interesting and exciting jobs, and stress and frustration with work.
Stress at work depends on support from supervisors, relationship with colleagues, status of their role, and sense of identity with the organisation.
Interesting and exciting jobs can be explained by job variety, role clarity and physical security
If employees have a positive psychological contract, this means they will show higher levels of satisfaction, motivation and commitment to the organisation. Research shows these factors are important in helping employers increase performance, reduce absence, retain staff and solve recruitment difficulties.
But the report found that more than four out of 10 people felt they have little control at work and one in five felt they had limited control.
Two out of 10 said their jobs were either very or extremely stressful, a quarter said they received little or no support from their supervisor, more than a third (37 per cent) said their workload was too heavy and one in five did not believe the demands of their job were realistic.
Moreover, graduates reported lower levels of satisfaction and commitment, despite often occupying senior positions.
Mike Emmott, CIPD Employee Relations Adviser, says, "The evidence suggests that most employers need to work a lot harder in order to get the best from their staff.
"They need to see that line managers understand and buy into the people management policies they are expected to deliver."
This means convincing managers of the value of these policies and helping them to understand the consequences of not handling them well. Most jobs can be made interesting or even exciting, if they are well managed."