Think about what your employees look like as they walk into the office every day. Are they chipper and whistling a happy tune as they go to their desk? Or are they dragging their feet like entranced zombies?

If your experience is more like the latter, there's a good chance you have some unhappy employees on your hands. Unfortunately, hating your job is not an uncommon thing. A 2016 Society for Human Resource Management survey found that just 37 percent of employees are very satisfied with their job.

And before you think, "Well, employees don't have to love their job, they just have to do their job," remember that unhappy employees are less engaged, less productive, and more likely to leave the company -- all of which can negatively affect your bottom line. As soon as you see signs of a dissatisfied workforce, address the issues quickly.

Learn to recognize why employees are unhappy so you find ways to make them smile again. Here are the top reasons people hate their job:

10. Job insecurity

If your employees are worried about losing their job all the time, it will be difficult to form attachments to the position or company. Instead of focusing on their work, their minds are worry about when the ax will drop. If your company is a little unstable at the the moment, be sure to reassure employees. Be positive and honest in your communications with them so their doubts will be answered.

9. They're over-managed

Your employees are adults. They shouldn't have to jump through hoops like checking in with a manager once an hour or running every decision past their superior. Trust that employees know what they are doing and give them the freedom to do their job without having someone looking over their shoulder all the time.

8. They think the grass is greener someplace else

It's a part of human nature to wonder if there is something better out there. This is especially true if an employee is already less than thrilled with their job. They talk to their friends and hear about how great their boss is or all the wonderful perks they get and wonder if it's time to look for a new opportunity.

If you stay aware of what others in your industry are doing to attract and retain employees, it'll help you stay competitive. Also, be sure to check in with your workforce to find out if there are any benefits they'd like to have. There might be a few small changes that would do wonders for their level of happiness.

7. Their values don't align with the company

Meaningful work can be a powerful motivator. It allows employees to feel connected to what they do every day and that they're contributing to something they can stand behind. However, if they don't value or believe in the same thing as the company, it won't be long until there's trouble.

Address this possibility in your hiring process by being clear about the company mission statement. Ask candidates what part of the company values they relate to and why so you can see how well they align with the organization.

6. There's no room for advancement or development

Nobody takes a job hoping they'll be doing the same exact thing for the next five years. They want to move forward and advance their career so they can continue to feel challenged. If your company doesn't have a clear hire-from-within policy, many employees will begin to feel stagnant or like they're being held back from succeeding professionally.  

5. They're unhappy with their pay

Of course everyone would like to be paid more, but it's even more defeating to think you're being paid less than what's fair. You begin to feel resentful because you're receiving less than you're giving. The answer to this is pay transparency. Be open and honest about why and how salary decisions are made so everyone can see if they're being reasonable in expecting to be paid more.

4. They don't feel appreciated

Why should an employee care about their job or performance if you don't appreciate it? Thank you. Good job. Great idea. These are all phrases employees need -- and deserve -- to hear. It shows them you recognize their hard work and know the value it adds to the company. Even small, but meaningful gestures can go a long way in making employees feel appreciated.

3. They're not being challenged

How would you like it if every day you had to sit at your desk and repeat the same tedious tasks over and over. It wouldn't be long before you were bored. The same goes for your employees. If they don't feel like they're being pushed to do and be better, their job begins to feel like unfulfilling busywork.

2. The passion is gone

After the recession, many people took any job they could get, even if it meant doing something they weren't truly interested in. And now, they've gone from tolerating the work to hating it. Consider giving employees chances to move laterally within the company so they can find a position or department that would make them happy.

1. Their boss sucks

It doesn't matter how much you love what you do, if you're working for a jerk you eventually get worn down. Take a long look at the management and leadership styles in your company, including your own. Consider how they are possibly negatively impacting the work environment and employees' moods. And if you're not sure if employees are satisfied with their managers, ask them. That will help you figure out where the problem lies.

Unhappy employees make for a business in trouble. But if you know the most common reasons people end up hating their jobs, it's a lot easier to identify issues in your own company.

What are some other reasons people hate their jobs?


Ilya Pozin is a serial entrepreneur, writer and investor. He is the founder of Pluto TV, Coplex, and Open Me (acquired by Rowl). Named one of Inc.'s '30 Under 30' entrepreneurs, Ilya also has columns appearing on Forbes and LinkedIn. You can keep up with Ilya on Twitter.

Published on: Jul 28, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.