Post written by
Communications Specialist for Insperity Recruiting Services, specializing in employment branding and recruitment marketing.
In the workplace, as much as we’d like to promote a culture of equality, not all jobs are created equal. Among employees, ability levels differ, as does knowledge, experience and resulting salaries. While this diversity of knowledge and experience is what fuels a successful workplace, it can also have an unfortunate byproduct: job envy. In small amounts, job envy can be a positive thing, driving productivity through healthy competition among employees. When one employee wants what another has accomplished, he or she will work that much harder to achieve it. However, when gone unchecked, job envy can destroy productivity, as well as friendships, working relationships and team morale.
Eliminating job envy from the workplace altogether is nearly impossible as so much of it is the result of individual personality. While 49 out of 50 employees may have no problem working together, one may let the envy of a co-worker consume him or her to the point of affecting performance and the relationship. Though envy isn’t a reason for dismissal, declining work output or consistent negativity may eventually be grounds for termination. It’s therefore in an employer’s best interest to create and maintain a company culture free from job envy. Let’s look at some ways employers can discourage envy among workers before it becomes problematic.
Provide Clear Paths
Often, job envy will stem from jealousy over salary, increased responsibility or promotion. In many cases, this can be avoided by delineating clear paths for employees to reach professional goals. Managers should make it a point to outline goals for employees, then help them understand what is expected of them to achieve these goals. They may also discuss employees’ expectations regarding salary increases, and what is and isn’t realistic should employee goals be met within the designated time period. Providing a clear path toward reaching goals and salary expectations will help employees realize if their coworkers’ achievements are within their reach, and if not, what goals and accomplishments are more realistic.
Recognize Individual Wins
It’s important for managers to give credit where credit is due. Those who are too busy to recognize individual successes, or who simply feel employees shouldn’t need recognition for doing their job, will eventually see frustration turn into job envy, especially if certain individuals are receiving recognition while others aren’t. Regardless of how big or small the achievements are, highlighting individual and team wins makes employees feel appreciated and lets them know their efforts are positively impacting the company. While there’s no way to completely eliminate job envy, a culture that celebrates employee accomplishments will see far less of it than one that treats individual and team successes as a mere expectation.