Americans really hate work; bad managers to blame

On the work satisfaction scale, Americans overwhelmingly relate more with Dilbert than Donald Trump. According to a new survey, only 30 percent of America's work force feels engaged or inspired by work.

The other 70 percent of the nation's full-time employees are either just putting in their time or are very discontent with their jobs.

Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace gives an in-depth look at what's ailing the nation's workforce, as well as what the most successful companies are doing right. Some of the more compelling findings include;

  • Only 22 percent of U.S. employees are engaged and thriving.
  • Only 41 percent of employees felt they knew what their company stands for and what makes it different from competitors.
  • Millennials are most willing to leave for a better opportunity in the next 12 months. Workers at the beginning and end of their career are more likely to 'buy in' to their jobs.
  • Remote workers actually work longer hours than their in-office counterparts.

Perhaps most insightful for America's managers is the impact this dissatisfaction has on the bottom line. Gallup claims "active disengagement" costs the country "$450 billion to $550 billion per year." Gallup defines “engaged” employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and contribute to their organization in a positive manner.

The study shows "52 percent of workers are not engaged ... another 18 percent are actively disengaged in their work."

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton says the blame for such poor results can be laid squarely at the feet of bad managers, "Gallup research has found that the top 25 percent of teams — the best managed — versus the bottom 25 percent in any workplace — the worst managed — have nearly 50 percent fewer accidents and have 41 percent fewer quality defects."

Clifton says the study also shows the more disengaged workers wind up costing companies more in healthcare costs due to workplace accidents. Clifton's advice for upper management?

"Let’s get rid of managers from hell, double the number of great managers and engaged employees, and have those managers lead based on what actually matters ... employees will be twice as effective, they’ll create far more customers, companies will grow, spiraling healthcare costs will decrease, and desperately needed GDP will boom like never before."

The State of the American Workplace surveyed workers from 2010-2012. More than 350 thousand workers were surveyed each year.

You can view and download the full study on Gallup's website.