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Employee squeeze has led to disengaged workforce, says study

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Cuts to hours, inconsistent working patterns, pay freezes and the increased use of zero-hours contracts has led to a "forgotten workforce", according to a report published by workforce management solutions firm Kronos.

The study, The forgotten workforce, found many employees are now lacking morale and disengaged from their organisations.

About 2,500 employees were polled on reasons why the UK workforce has become disengaged and what managers can do to resolve the issue.

It found that in the wake of the recession, British businesses have been forced to make tough business decisions such as cuts to staff numbers and pay, which has led to only one in four workers satisfied about their current job.

Kronos director Neil Pickering said the effects of a long recession have resulted in an "uninspired workforce".

"Is it any wonder that businesses feel sluggish and unable to respond to the changing dynamics of their respective markets," said Pickering.

"The drive to keep costs as low as possible is creating a race to the bottom which undermines job satisfaction and squeezes employees' abilities to respond to demand."

Low pay blues

The study showed the biggest causes of workplace unhappiness are low pay (36%), little or no variety to the job role they perform (25%) and unpaid overtime (22%).

It also found employers are getting simple business processes wrong, such as underestimating the number of people needed for a specific shift (48%) or failing to accurately pay staff for the hours they work (19%).

The study said employees are desperate for more engagement with management and more control over their working life. Six in ten (59%) would like more flexibility in the hours that they work and 53% would like equal control with their manager when it comes to planning working hours.

"The starting point is to begin treating front line staff as people, not simply as numbers on a balance sheet," Pickering said.