Survey Says: Nearly Half of Employees Think About Quitting

Citing concerns over their salaries, workloads and bosses, 21 percent of employees have applied for a new job in the past six months, according to new research.

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Enough! Nearly half of employees have considered quitting, according to a new survey.Keeping employees happy, staying informed about key business issues and not screwing up may sound like fairly simple tasks, but apparently more small-business owners than you'd think are struggling with these issues. Here's a closer look at some of the latest small-business surveys.

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

On the heels of Employee Appreciation Day on March 4, new research shows that many employees have more than a few complaints about their jobs. According to a survey from MarketTools, a leading feedback-management and market-research firm, most employees don't feel very appreciated. In fact, nearly 50 percent have thought about quitting and 21 percent have applied for another job in the past six months.

To no one's surprise, the top reason employees are unhappy is that they're not making enough money -- 47 percent are unhappy with their salaries, according to the survey. Other leading causes of dissatisfaction:
  • Workload (24 percent)
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement (21 percent)
  • Employee's manager or supervisor (21 percent)

Business owners may not even know their staffs are unhappy -- 72 percent of the businesses surveyed don't formally seek employee feedback (or the staff is unaware that a formal program exists).

If you're a boss who doesn't care if your employees leave, since you think everyone is replaceable -- think again. According to MarketTools vice president Justin Schuster, there's a strong correlation between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. "Ultimately," he says, "satisfied, engaged employees provide a better customer experience that leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty."

Oops, I Did It Again

Everyone makes mistakes. But startup entrepreneurs seem to make more than their fair share. According to a new survey by insurance company Hiscox, the most common gaffes committed by people starting businesses are:
  • Underestimating monthly expenses (32 percent)
  • Hiring the wrong people (20 percent)
  • Not knowing how to market and sell their product (18 percent)
  • Under financing (18 percent)

The Hiscox USA Small Business Survey also asked small-business owners what their "knowledge gaps" were during the startup phase. The top topics entrepreneurs admitted they didn't fully understand were the impact of taxes (33 percent), financing and credit (26 percent), and hiring and firing (24 percent).

This just underscores the fact that as much as you think you know, there's always something new to learn.

Help, I Need Somebody

So, if you start out that clueless, as the survey above indicates, where then do you turn for advice? According to the Sage Business Index survey, 56 percent of entrepreneurs seek help from their accountants, 48 percent to business associations and 40 percent to colleagues. Where aren't they seeking help? Banks (used by only 16 percent) and government sources (used by a mere 7 percent). In fact, the Internet ranked higher than both of those, with 30 percent saying they search the Web to learn what they want to know.

That doesn't mean entrepreneurs have no interest in government help. The majority (53 percent) say the government could do more to provide support and advice to startup business owners. I'm always surprised by how many people don't know about two great (and free!) sources of help from the government: SCORE and Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.

Tags: business advice, Business Trends, employee satisfaction, HR, human resources, managing employees, Rieva Lesonsky, SBDC, SCORE, starting a business, startup, startup mistakes, Survey Says

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