Five Ways to Really Tick Off Your Employees

The first step in solving any problem is admitting you have a problem.

A recent survey from Adecco Group North America highlights the increased dissatisfaction workers in America have with their employers. According to the survey:

  • 54% of employees plan to look for a new job as soon as the economy turns around.
  • Sentiment is even stronger among younger workers. Of those ages 18-29, 71% say they are likely to look for new jobs once the economy turns around.

These numbers should not be shocking, as most of us know at least one person who will be jumping ship as soon as they can. Employees appear to be getting angrier everyday and their employers keep throwing more wood into the fire. If you really want to heat things up, then be sure to do the following:

1. Daily reminders – Remind employees how lucky they are to have a job. Do this on a daily basis. Tell them how fortunate they are to be receiving a paycheck. Never mind their check is 10% less than what they originally signed up for. Remember to include this reminder at your weekly meetings, when you take them out to lunch to thank them for their efforts, and at this year’s office party.

2. Freeze raises and bonuses – Jump on the bandwagon. Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t you? Doesn’t matter if your profits are soaring or if your employees know you’ve had your best year ever. This is a great time to reign in costs, even if your costs are already in line.

3. Renege on your promises – You told people their reduction in pay would be temporary. However, you now view these changes as permanent. Of course you’ve decided not to tell anyone, until they ask.

4. Put a moratorium on promotions – Ask people to do the work of those who have been let go, and insist on holding back a title change and pay increase. Call this “self-development,” since you are giving people a wonderful opportunity to increase their skills. Something few employers seem to be doing.

5. Send out mixed messages – Tell your employees they are your most valuable asset. Then remind them that everyone is replaceable. Just to prove your point, be sure to replace a highly respected member of your team, with someone who is less experienced and less expensive.


It’s time to get back to basics. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Then you can begin the lengthy process of rebuilding trust in your organization. Or, you can continue as if business is as usual and watch your employees flee the minute the economy shows signs of recovery.


Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions

Visit our newly updated web site
to learn how your organization can leverage generational workforce challenges into opportunities.

Subscribe to our free monthly electronic newsletter, jammed with resources, articles, and tips by clicking:

Visit Generation Integration blog:


About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders