We Can All Agree These 16 Things Make Us Miserable at Work

From unfair pay to working on vacation, here are some of the most common complaints of workers.

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By Rose Leadem


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to leading a successful business, understanding the wants and needs of your employees is vital. Not only that, but actually paying attention and building relationships with these people is crucial.

Related: 3 Signs That Managers, Not Employees, Are the Problem With Performance Management

On top of issues concerning fair pay, vacation time and growth, did you know that some managers don’t even take the time to remember employees’ names? It’s true: A recent study found that 36 percent of employees complained that their boss didn’t know their names. Even more felt undervalued at work, that they weren't paid fairly and like their boss played favorites.

To understand some of the most common, major issues that employees deal with today, here are 16 top complaints of employees and issues in the workplace today.

Disputes handled poorly

When it comes to resolving disputes, many employees are disappointed in how their HR department handles these matters. According to a recent survey by Paychex, nearly a quarter of employees said they were disappointed in how their HR departments handled disputes.

Credit taken for work

It’s extremely frustrating after putting in hours and hours of hard work, only to find out that your boss ends up taking the credit. That happens more often than you’d think. According to a survey by Randstad USA, 17 percent of employees said their boss took credit for their ideas.

Lack of growth

Another major issue that many employees face is a lack of a solid support system and not feeling like they can grow in a company. In fact, according to Randstad USA’s survey, only 41 percent of surveyed employees felt confident that their boss was helping them to achieve career growth.

Related: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Create a Company Culture Like Google's

No inspiration

Randstad USA’s survey also discovered that most people don’t feel very inspired at work. It found that only 35 percent of employees felt inspired by their bosses.

Poor recognition

Communication is key to a thriving businesses. And when there’s a disconnect between managers and employees, a company can expect a number of problems. One major communication-related issue that upset employees is not getting recognized. A survey by Harvard Business Review found that 63 percent of employees felt like they did not get recognized sufficiently for their achievements.

Vacation time handled poorly

An earlier survey found that 80 percent of managers said they believed vacation is important for employees and 69 percent said they actually encouraged employees to take time off. However, according to employees, that may be an exaggeration. Turns out, 67 percent of employees said that they’ve either never heard anything from their employers about taking time off or if they had they were mixed or negative messages.

Even when on a vacation, many people felt like they couldn't fully unplug and unwind. According to a study, two-thirds of employees admitted to working while they were on vacation.

Unclear directions

When employees don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, how could they effectively do their jobs? According to Harvard Business Review, 57 percent of employees complained that their managers didn’t give them clear directions.

Not making time

Another major communication issue that employees complained about is that their bosses don’t make time to meet with them one on one. In fact, over half of surveyed employees by Harvard Business Review said that their managers didn’t have time to meet with them.

Related: 6 Steps for Creating a Strong Company Culture

Lack of care

It might come as a shock, but a number of managers don’t even know their employees’ names. According to Harvard Business Review, 36 percent of employees complained that their managers didn’t take the time to know their names.

Bad leadership

Overall, bad leadership is really what will drives employees out of an organization. A survey by Tolero Solutions discovered that 65 percent of job seekers noted poor leadership as the driving factor of them searching for a new job.

Unfair pay

According to a 2017 report by PayScale, 44 percent of managers and executives believed that their employees are paid "fairly." However, that's not how employees felt. Only 20 percent of employees at these same companies agreed that they were paid fairly.


The Payscale report also revealed that not only did employees feel like they were not paid fairly but they also felt undervalued. Less than half of U.S. workers (45 percent) said they felt valued at work, while 64 percent of employers thought they showed appreciation to their workers.

Lack of transparency

Transparency is also a major issue when it comes to running a successful company with happy employees. And most organizations don't foster this sense of transparency -- especially when it comes to pay. According to Payscale, 23 percent of employees said their companies were transparent about pay.

Related: How to Make Your Employees Masters, Not Just Workers

No feedback

As a manager, giving feedback can be difficult, but it's necessary to help both employees and an organization grow. In a study by Harvard Business Review, researchers found that not only did managers avoid giving negative feedback but also positive reinforcement too. Overall, 21 percent of managers admitted to avoiding giving negative feedback and 37 percent of these people also said they don't give positive reinforcement either. And employees noticed this too -- in another study by Office Vibe, 65 percent of employees said they'd like more feedback from their bosses.


Trust and being able to delegate tasks to employees is vital in order to be an effective leader. And a major issues many employers face is when their bosses turn into micromanagers, hovering over their shoulders, watching their every move. An earlier study found that nearly 59 percent of employees said they had worked for a micromanager at one point in their lives. And of these people, 68 percent said it decreased their morale and 55 percent said it hurt their productivity.


When it comes to the workplace, bosses play favorites. An earlier study revealed that 56 percent of bosses already had a "favorite" in mind for a promotion before a review process for that position even began. And once that review process was over, that favorite got the promotion 96 percent of the time. On the employee side, 75 percent said they've witnessed favoritism in their office.
Rose Leadem
Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

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